SOARING: The Harms and Risks Of Fighter Jets and Why Canada Must Not Buy a New Fleet

By By Tamara Lorincz, Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF) Canada

[From Safe Skies Clean Water WI: This 48-page report pulls together the variety of problems with fighter jets in great detail. Read the full report here.]

An excerpt from the Executive Summary:

A fighter jet is an instrument of extreme violence. The most obvious violence results from the large-scale destruction and death caused when it launches a missile or drops a bomb. Yet, there are other forms of violence from sonic booms to the carbon pollution that are often overlooked. Worse still, Indigenous peoples in Canada have suffered severe adverse effects from the dispossession of their land for air force bases to the disruption of their traditional livelihoods for fighter jet training. As the Government of Canada plans to buy a new fleet of advanced fighter jets, it is critical to consider the range of negative impacts and risks.

However, there has not been any government report or Parliamentary study on the impacts of fighter jets on people and the natural environment. There has also not been an assessment of the financial risks and opportunity costs of buying  them. The opposition parties in the House of Commons and the Senate have also been reluctant or have failed to ask critical questions about this planned purchase. The federal government and the Department of National Defence (DND) have also failed to conduct and publicize an environmental assessment and a Gender-Based Analysis (GBA) of the fighter jet procurement.

This report fills the gaps and focuses on the past and present harmful impacts, including environmental, climate, nuclear, financial, socio-cultural and gender-based, of fighter jets and the air force bases where they are stationed. It begins with an overview of Canada’s current fleet of combat aircraft and the planned procurement. It then describes the risks and adverse impacts of fighter jets in the Canadian context and uses a critical feminist analysis. The extreme noise,
excessive carbon emissions, the destruction of the land from weapons testing and the death of people from air strikes are some of the harms that fighter jets cause. Special attention is given in this report to the F-35 because this is the fighter jet that the federal government will most likely choose as Canada has been part of the international consortium for its development since 1997 and our closest allies have bought it.

Read on…