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From Militarism to Equity and Peace

Open Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau:

In this time of economic stress after the major threat of COVOID-19 it is essential that we take time to review our priorities. We know that climate change will pose many more existential threats in years to come. We are learning that the people of the world must learn to work together peacefully towards the resolutions of the serious challenges we face. More importantly we have seen that we can work together towards important common goals.

In times of crisis, we also know that it is possible to use a crisis to push important change that needs to happen and is often difficult to sell. What direction will we go? Will we push Canada’s oil industry and build pipelines? Will we bail out airlines to hold up the air industry? Will we buy fighter jets and sell armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia? Will we push military solutions to global problems? All of these work against our climate objectives. They suggest we have no commitment to our Paris goals. And they do not ultimately promote either health or peace.

Or will we build a Green New Deal? Will we work towards reconciliation with our First Nations, Metis, and Inuit? Will we create a green more localized, less consumer-oriented economy? Will we invest in a circular type of economy where we make less garbage and the garbage we do make is all diverted and repurposed or recycled. There is so much investment needed in peaceful, renewable energy and technologies that will give Canadians a sustainable lifestyle. We don’t need to have everybody flying everywhere in the world all the time. The air industry must never come back to its former levels of activity.

We need a caring society where nobody is living on the street, people don’t have to escape their despair with drug addictions, and everyone is covered by medical care including our elderly in care homes. We must have more government involvement in incentivizing these changes, and in redistributing wealth towards greater equality. We must stop lining the pockets of big military, big banks, big oil, big pharmacy, and big agriculture. We must restore the capacity of our natural environment to sustain all the kinds of indigenous species who have a right to live and thrive in this country. We must build sufficient industry and agriculture to take care of our own needs for things like health supplies and food. We must be resilient when the international community is in disorder.

It is a choice. This is no time for waffling and compromise. A little of this and a little of that. Promise to build green jobs and then build pipelines.

I know that you are right in the middle of all these tensions and that you fully understand the pulls in both directions. I know the pressure you are under by the elites in our society to maintain the status quo. But the status quo will not save our civilization from disaster. If you choose the military options we won’t be able to afford the investments we need to build a green economy. The military is a GHG-producing machine. It lives on oil. Militarism will take the world into a dark age of totalitarianism. Leaders in Russia, China, and the United States are endangering the peace. Canada has the opportunity to be a force for mediating the peace.

What both Canada and the world needs right now is real leadership. People with the courage to tell it like it is and bring the people along with them. You have shown a talent for that with the COVID-19 crisis. Now we need you to apply those talents to helping us to make the transition to a green, sustainable, fair economy. The people will be with you. They will support you. They have proved that the last 3 months. Will you support us to leave a respectable legacy for our children and grandchildren? Will you help us build a sustainable and equitable way of life on a fragile planet?

Don’t build more pipelines. Don’t throw our money away on fighter jets we don’t need.

In great caring for the future of Canada and the World.

Rev. Frances Deverell,

Retired Unitarian Minister

Past President of the Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice

Member of the Council of Canadians

“Post Covid19, let us regenerate the economy with the consciousness all lives are equal, that we are part of the Earth, we are ecological, biological beings, working is our right and is at the heart of being human, and care for the Earth and each other is the most important work. There are no disposable or useless people.

“We are One Humanity on One Planet. Autonomy, meaning, dignity, work, freedom, democracy are

our birth-right.”

Vandana Shiva

cc Jagmeet Singh, Paul Manley, Ron McKinnon, Anita Anand Minister of Public Services and Procurement; Harjit Sajjan, Minister of Defence. CUSJ Board.

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