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Canada as Peacekeeper
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Posted in Publishaletter.com By :
Letter to the Editor Sent to :
KITCHENER-WATERLOO RECORD, THE (ONTARIO)
Canada as Peacekeeper
Dear Editor: As someone engaged in Canadian manufacturing and an avid aerospace watcher and most recently, Canadaís plans to acquire new fighter jets, I would like to share my thoughts about how Canada could really make a difference on the world stage as peacekeeper with some simple math. According to KPMG accounting, as of 2012, Canada was planning on spending 45.8 billion dollars on 95 warplanes; since then, the exchange rate has unfortunately gone in the wrong direction and the cost now would be around 62 billion! Regardless of which fighter jet Canada buys, thatís a lot of spending money, so I thought it would be interesting to consider an alternate program perhaps more in keeping with our national identity. When I think about peacekeeping as part of a national strategy, I understand that to mean travelling to countries abroad, typically war torn or disaster stricken, and assisting with medical, food, engineering and building assistance. Assistance of this type requires a specific type of aircraft designed for logistical support in hard to access regions that often do not have proper airports. Canada actually has a fleet of such transport planes, about 30 planes or so currently active. But 30 planes is not that many aircraft for a country whose stated goal is to restore itís position as world peacekeeper-currently there are over 16 official peace-keeping actions underway across the globe with over 100,000 uniformed personnel from various countries deployed in support of these operations, each of which requires significant transport to and from these countries. What if Canada decided to pursue itís role by enhancing our ability to provide the necessary logistical support to maintain these international endeavours? Canada has made some purchases recently to enhance our fleet of military transports that capably fit the role needed for a peace-keeping mission in the aptly named Boeing C-17 Globemaster 111. This aircraft is a heavy lift cargo plane able to carry huge amounts of supplies in difficult to access regions and has already proven itself capable as an effective humanitarian support aircraft. The GlobeMaster costs around 295 million a unit, so by my calculation, we could potentially buy 210 of these aircraft for the 62 billion we were planning on spending anyhow for stealth jets. Letís just say for arguments sake that Iím being too liberal in my calculation (after all, Iím allocating about 61.5 billion more than Prime Minister Trudeau in my peacekeeping mission program) and say that we could only buy half that many, so 100 GlobeMaster 111ís -or the same number of state of the art transport planes as jet fighters we are considering buying. This would represent a capability to support peace-keeping missions threefold larger than our current ability. Plus, you could still buy some cheaper, capable fighter jets, hopefully with two engines instead of one, but Iím not going to get into that here. And itís not like we canít use more transport aircraft for our peacekeepers. Most Canadians are aware of the support we provided a few years ago to the relief effort in Haiti, but would be surprised to learn that we did so with leased Russian transport aircraft- how will that work in the future when Canada wants to help a country that Russia would prefer we didnít? In August of this year, Mr Trudeau claimed that the UN is Canadaís ďprincipal forum for pursuing Canadaís international objectives,Ē yet in an increasingly dangerous world where the spectre of war seems to loom larger , Canada ranks 65 among 193 UN member states for troop contributions in peacekeeping missions, hardly a statistic worth bragging about. If we really do want to rebuild our reputation as peacekeeper, maybe in 2017 we should reevaluate where and how we spend our money and consider alternative solutions to achieving those goals. best regards, Ed Das Kitchener, ON
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