Saturday, October 11, 2008

Peace, Social Justice, Student and Environmental groups urge Stephen Harper to redirect military spending

Peace, Social Justice, Student and Environmental groups urge Stephen Harper to redirect military spending

Toronto: Oct 8, 2008: The Canadian Peace Alliance, Council of Canadians, Housing Not War Campaign, Canadian Federation of Students and Greenpeace Canada joined forces today to call on the Harper Government to cancel plans for $490 billion in military spending over the next 20 years. In the context of economic uncertainty, rising poverty and the climate change crisis, Canadians worry that spending as much as $30 billion each year for the military is a foolhardy use of Canadian taxpayers money.

“Stephen Harper is portraying himself as the leader with the best economic credentials, yet his plans for military spending could leave the country in trouble,” Said Bob Ages, Secretary Treasurer of the Canadian Peace Alliance. “Harper is following the Bush administration into economic ruin by spending huge sums on war.”

The cost of the war in Afghanistan alone is expected to reach $22 billion. Economists predict that the crisis facing the US economy will spill over into Canada, reducing revenues for the federal government. The money earmarked for the military must be reallocated or we run the risk of cuts to much needed social and environmental programs. That money should be used in a massive national program to address the climate change crisis, aimed at achieving the KYOTOplus targets for greenhouse gas reductions, as well as to provide affordable housing, abolish tuition fees, create a pharmacare program.

"Homeless people are dying across Canada waiting for housing. We are the only industrialized country with no national housing program.” said Andrew Mindszenthy of TDRC and the Housing Not War Campaign. “A small fraction – just 1/9th – of current military spending would be enough to establish a reasonable housing program that would save and improve countless lives. We've been waiting a decade for this modest investment. With the impacts of climate change and the economic crisis, the numbers of people made homeless will increase in Canada and around the world. The Canadian government must spend our tax dollars very wisely now to prevent the situation from worsening. With this war, we’re throwing good money after bad."


For more information please contact: Sid Lacombe, Coordinator of the Canadian Peace Alliance at 416-588-5555 (office), 416-333-7567 (Cell)

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