Dear Ceasefire.ca supporter,
I’m worried . . . because the real winner just weeks ago during the federal election was Lockheed Martin, the corporate maker of the F-35 stealth fighter.
I’m angry . . . because now Lockheed Martin and other corporations want their pay-back after getting Stephen Harper elected!
And I’m offended . . . as Stephen Harper uses his majority government to build a permanent military economy and undermines Canada’s long tradition as an international mediator, peacekeeper and fair-minded nation.
But most of all, I’m impatient.
We cannot just idly sit by for the next four years as Harper makes arms deals, and plans deep cuts to our vital social programs simply to pay for his wasteful F-35 stealth fighters.
We must build our base of supporters and reach out to the majority of Canadians who believe in the same things that you and I believe in.
We’ve been successful before. And it has always been because we are working together. So, thank you for all you have done.
Right now, you can join the Canada-wide campaign for peace by joining Peacekeepers, Ceasefire’s monthly donor club, and make regular monthly donations to Ceasefire.ca.
I hope you’ll consider a gift of $7 each month to help stop Stephen Harper’s pro-war economy and anti-peace agenda.
To give, visit: Donate to Ceasefire
We need to move quickly, because right now powerful U.S. weapons corporations are making a grab for more of our public tax dollars, endangering our vital social services and our public health care.
Lockheed Martin, for example, has hired Ottawa’s most influential firm, CFN Consultants, to do their bidding. CFN Consultants is made up almost entirely of retired high-ranking military officers.
Their F-35 lobbyist told Embassy magazine that that his clients and the military industry welcome the Harper majority government’s “stabilizing force.”
And immediately following the election another Lockheed Martin lobbyist told a reporter: “Most anybody in the defence and security industry welcomes the [Harper] majority government.”
These kinds of comments get me riled up. With your help we can put Canada back on the peace track.
Once we get more members joining our Peacekeepers monthly donor club we won’t have to worry as much about how we are going to do our peace work. With more monthly donors we don’t need to stop or even pause our work to establish a stable funding base.
Let me tell you one quick story to show you why it’s so important that Ceasefire.ca remains on the front lines challenging these lobbyists in the media and on Parliament Hill.
Recently I debated the merits of the F-35 stealth fighter with retired Canadian Lieutenant-General George Macdonald on CTV’s national TV news program Powerplay.
It’s a highly respected current affairs program and fair-minded.
Yet, over and over, and over again, journalists introduce Lieutenant- General George Macdonald as a highly qualified former member of the Canadian air force who is familiar with the F-35 fighter. A military expert, one could say. That seems fair, doesn’t it?
But, incredibly, they forget to even mention one small fact. Retired Canadian Lieutenant-General George Macdonald is a paid lobbyist for Lockheed Martin! You remember, of course, that Lockheed Martin is the corporation that will profit the most because it’s building the F-35 stealth fighter.
That’s why you and I need to draw attention to the politics and money that support the Harper government. We can’t count on anyone else. We have to do it ourselves.
During the federal election you and I drew enormous media attention to the arms lobby.
With donations from Ceasefire.ca supporters just like you we were able to bring our own military aircraft expert to Ottawa. We brought Winslow Wheeler from Washington, D.C., because he had worked for the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
We were in full speed during the election; we organized a press conference, spoke to decision makers, arranged appearances in newspapers, and booked appearances on both CBC and CTV national television.
Wheeler gave a devastating analysis of the poorly performing F-35. Wheeler made it clear that even the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s recent $30 billion estimated cost of the F-35 was probably a gross underestimate.
I was astounded when he said the government’s claim that each plane would cost $70 to $75 million may not even include the engines!
He couldn’t be right. This was certainly information that Lockheed Martin and the Harper government would not want Canadians to hear—if it was true.
So, Conservative MP Laurie Hawn, who is Harper’s top hawk boosting the F-35, launched what the Ottawa Citizen described as a “smear campaign” against critics of the plane. It was a direct smear campaign against me and Winslow Wheeler.
Another attack came from the former head of Canada’s military, retired Canadian General Paul Manson. General Manson railed against Wheeler and the Rideau Institute in the Ottawa Citizen, saying it was “a low-credibility rant by an American visitor from a left-wing Washington organization renowned for its anti-defence posture.”
General Manson didn’t stop there. He continued by saying that Winslow Wheeler’s “highly questionable arguments for killing the F-35 program echo the thrust of his visit to Ottawa last week, hosted by the farleft [sic] Rideau Institute.”
We soon discovered who was truly ranting. And it raises the question: Who do these so-called leaders like Conservative MP Laurie Hawn and General Paul Manson really support?
The Rideau Institute obtained an internal military document that showed the government was misrepresenting the facts.
This internal military document proved the engines were sold separately from the planes. We gave it to the media for massive media coverage.
Faced with the evidence, MP Laurie Hawn had to admit that it was not true that the engines were included in the price per plane, as he and his government had been telling Canadians!
Finally, we forced the government to tell the truth!!
Maclean’s Magazine called me “the most outspoken critic of the purchase.” I will continue to try to live up to that compliment. I will challenge this government and expose the defence lobby at every turn.
So now, we’re ready again to bring together our 20,000 Ceasefire supporters to work for peace. I hope you’ll join us.
Just in the last few weeks Ceasefire.ca supporters have sent more than 5,000 emails to Stephen Harper against the stealth fighters, and hundreds more have signed our petitions.
And with your support we are producing new research and campaign materials to build the opposition to Harper’s pro-war plans.
This fall we’ll be organizing our own information campaign on Parliament Hill.
We will deliver a pro-peace message as we meet with MPs – we’ll pay particular attention to all of the new NDP MPs from Quebec.
And we are able to do all of this because you support us. We simply could not do the work we do without supporters like you. So I have to thank you over and over for all your generous and impressive support.
You know, you and I have been working together for a long time, and we have already shown we can stand up for peace and make positive changes to government policy.
- Together we forced Paul Martin to say “No” to George Bush’s Star Wars missile defence plan.
- Thousands of petitions from Ceasefire.ca helped move Harper to join an international ban on cluster bombs.
- We had a historic first in thousands of foreign take-overs of Canadian companies when our lobby efforts convinced the Harper government to refuse to allow a U.S. arms manufacturer to buy the company that owns the Canadarm.
- Years of sending petitions, writing reports, and hard campaigning appear to have brought about the end of Canada’s fighting in Afghanistan.
Today, our goal is to raise $15,000 before Parliament returns this fall so we can stop Harper’s pro-war agenda.
I hope I can count on you to give generously. With your gift today or when you join Peacekeepers, our monthly donor club, you’ll be helping us build a strong base. A base that’s strong enough to let us work without pause and let’s us reach out to the majority of Canadians who believe in what you and I believe in . . . Canada.
Steven Staples, Ceasefire.ca
P.S. If you canot afford to give monthly, please consider a contribution of $25 to help us stop Harper’s plans to spend at least $30 billion on the F-35 stealth fighters.
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Ceasefire.ca is a project of The Rideau Institute, a public interest research organization, federally incorporated as a not-for-profit organization with Industry Canada under the Canada Corporations Act. Unfortunately, because of our advocacy work for peace, donations to Ceasefire.ca are not tax deductible.