Without its own military manufacturing abilities, Canada will continue to be reliant upon foreign governments for the basics of our sovereign defense. When the argument is raised that Canada does not have the technical capacity to build its own fighter jet, or the argument that we will not be able to do as good a job for the price, the rebuttal should be: When will that change? In 20 years from now, will Canada continue to spend enormous amounts of taxpayer dollars for products that will have a small benefit to the Canadian population as whole?
In 2015, the Canadian government spent an estimated $20 Billion dollars on the military which is far below our commitments of 2% of GDP (currently pegged at 1% of GDP) to military alliances such as NATO. This expenditure did represent a change from previous years as there were significant increases in the National Shipbuilding Program. This program introduced tax dollars to stimulate economic growth in several regions around Canada from Halifax to Vancouver and has the ancillary benefit of producing modern warships and coast guard vessels that will ensure Canada’s serving men and women have the equipment they need to perform their jobs efficiently and safely.
This shipbuilding/military expenditure program could be replicated and expanded in the form of a fighter jet program – one that’s built in Canada and has a direct net benefit of on local economies. Canada has been involved in the development of the F-35 Fighter Jet Program with Lockheed Martin since 1997 and as of 2015 has spent just over $300 million. This is $300 million that could have been used for the development of a Canadian built fighter jet. Many readers here will remember the company A. V. Roe Canada Ltd. and their famous Avro Arrow Fighter Jet. Prior to their “closing” in 1958 they employeed just shy of 15,000 people in their fighter jet program – either in aerospace or engine manufacturing, design and testing. While it will definitley take more than $300 million to recreate one of the most successful companies in Canadian history, it is definitely something that should be considered, and something that we should strive to implement.
While such a large undertaking would be difficult at best, the benefits of having a home grown program was greater than the sum of its parts. That is to say, the investment in military expenditure did not only result in economic benefits for the company, suppliers, local communities and employees, but also intangible benefits such as technologically advanced manufacturing centers, world leading designers and engineers, and an innovatation that was the envy of the world.
So when you ask yourself what Canada will be doing 5, 10 or 20 years from now, do you support the status quo, or will you add your support to ensuring that military expenditure is used to create economic benefits with the money that they have so generously ‘donated’ to the government that’s spending it.
Feel free to google any of the facts above – if you find a spelling mistake or error, please let us know.
Canadian Military Expenditure: http://ottawacitizen.com/news/politics/canada-among-bottom-third-of-allies-in-defence-spending-nato-says
F-35 Expenditure: http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-politics/how-much-has-canada-spent-on-the-f-35-so-far