Letter: Pandemic should reset Canada’s priorities to benefit from demilitarization

Editor: 

One might think the pandemic — which has so far resulted in the death of more than 20,000 Canadians, along with major health complications for thousands more people — would provoke government leaders to revise the country’s priorities.

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Obviously, the greatest threat to our society is not from foreign countries, but from minuscule viruses. As well, the dangers we face from climate change pose more concern than any potential military action by foreign governments.

While Canadians have to wait longer than other countries for vaccinations because we do not have the capability to manufacture the vaccine, Canada is still planning to spend in excess of a half-trillion dollars over the next 20 years for military hardware. Certainly, foreign governments do pose threats, but most of these are economic, trade or territorial disputes that can be better solved with improved diplomacy and negotiations, rather than by using military action.

It is clearly time for a reset of priorities for Canada so we are better prepared to cope with the challenges we face in the 21st century. Warships, jet fighters and tanks will be useless in fighting forest fires, droughts, floods, pandemics and cyberattacks.

Tax dollars earmarked for military weapons need to be diverted to programs and projects that will truly protect Canada in the coming decades.

Imagine a future where all Canadians have clean drinking water, where arts and culture are fostered, where more natural spaces are protected, where infrastructure has been re-built to minimize carbon emissions, where post-secondary education is free for those who need it, where young people are employed to restore damaged landscapes and where the focus is on peace, health and happiness, with more opportunities for healthy, non-motorized outdoor recreation.

All of these benefits would be possible in a demilitarized Canada.

Jim Cooperman

Lee Creek

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