UPDATED: Langley-Aldergrove MP Tako van Popta responds to ‘Medicine not missiles’ protest

Protests against federal procurement of 88 fighter jets held across Canada, including Langley

Protesters met in front of Langley-Aldergrove MP Tako van Popta’s constituency office at noon on Friday – demanding that the federal government cancel its costly campaign for the procurement of 88 advanced fighter jets.

Last July, Ottawa launched a $19-billion competition for the jets, which will reportedly “contribute to the safety and security of Canadians and to meet Canada’s international obligations,” said the government.

Co-organizer, Marilyn Konstapel of Aldergrove, said demonstrators are hoping raise awareness that health care and education are more essential to Canadian citizens than defense.

“In the time of COVID, where everybody is concerned about money, my sign says ‘medicine not missiles,” Konstapel noted. “We think they [fighter jets] are the wrong priority for the government at this time.”

The July 24 “Strike for Climate Peace: No New Fighter Jets” protest was one of 18 coordinated by Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, World Beyond War, and Peace Brigades International-Canada.

Five demonstrators, all wearing masks and practising social distancing, held signs near van Popta’s constituency office, suggesting other areas where the $19-billion could be spent including education and health care.

“I’m here because I don’t believe that fighter jets belong in our defense department,” Konstapel explained. “They’re not defensive, they’re offensive. They’re basically killing machines that are sent overseas to harm other people.”

READ MORE: ‘Medicine not missiles’: Langley protesters call on federal government to cancel $19B fighter jet procurement

Brendan Martin with World Beyond War said this is a campaign initiated by several peace groups, which will last for 18 months to get attention of Canadian people and the government so the plan to purchase 88 new fighter jets will not go through.

“Fighter jets do not bring democracy or freedom, they destroy countries,” Martin said. “The only way to defeat political monsters is by non-violence. People need good jobs, education, housing, and elder care, so we are making our voices heard and asking people to speak with politicians and friends so plan will not go forward.”

The initiative is supported by Canadian peace groups including Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Labour Against the Arms Trade, Ottawa Raging Grannies, Regina Peace Council, and Canadian Peace Congress.

Other demonstrations will take place outside of Members of Parliament’s offices in Victoria, Vancouver, Regina, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax.

Langley-Aldergrove MP Tako van Popta responded on Monday, July 27, calling Canada a nation of democracy, tolerance, and freedom.

“This is our reality only because of the brave men and women who sacrificed their time and energy. We must not forget that many made the ultimate sacrifice by laying down their lives,” van Popta said.

“Peace comes at a high cost. To keep this peace, against the wishes of those who would disturb it, we foster relationships with countries who share the same desires. This is why we are part of NORAD and NATO: that together, we can take a strong stand for peace. As part of these deals, we must keep our military ready and up-to-date so that no one will threaten our peace.

“We purchase fighter jets to show belligerent nations that we strive to uphold our freedoms, both at home and abroad,” the MP went on to say.

”The brave Canadians in our Armed Forces stand ready to give their lives, if called upon. Unfortunately our current jets are nearly 40 years old. We must equip our military properly, and do our best to show through our strategic partnerships that we are ready to protect Canada from every foe.”

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

LangleyParliament

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Another Langley school hit by graffitti

Much of the exterior of Simonds was covered with spray-painted comments

BREAKING: Heavy police response at Aldergrove army base after single-vehicle incident

Vehicle rolled over into ditch near 40 Avenue on 272 Street Sunday afternoon

VIDEO: Langley’s first Pride Fest considered a sign of progress

Because of COVID-19, the event had to be virtual

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

NHL playoffs: Canucks to meet St. Louis Blues in Round 1

Vancouver takes on defending champs beginning Wednesday

Fraser Valley Bandits fall to Edmonton in CEBL final

Bandits lose 90-73 to Stingers in Sunday’s Summer Series final

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Fraser Valley Bandits advance to CEBL Championship Game

Bandits post comeback 76-75 win over Hamilton Honey Badgers in Saturday’s semifinal

IHIT on scene of suspicious early-morning fire on rural Mission property

Entrance to Gunn Avenue property cordoned off while investigation takes place, updates coming

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Most Read