Budget Boondoggle

By John McMurtry

The most astonishing boondoggle of the national budget has been managed by Canada's military industrial establishment, junior partner to the U.S. military industrial complex and quite as accomplished at the art of illusion.

Canada's defence system is submissive to the U.S.'s at every level of command, weapons production, and deployment. This is increasingly so as our government eliminates its own domestic bases and redirects its expenditures to high-cost, high-tech components integrated into the U.S.'s military system of production, testing, export and invasion. So completely has Canada's "defence" system become a taxpayer-supported arm of the U.S. military empire that its acme of technical achievement is symbolized by the "Canadarm" on ozone-depleting U.S. space launches, which CBC endlessly celebrates as prime-story Canadian news.

Canada's military expenditures have continued to increase in dollar amounts as the "Soviet threat" that justified them disappeared Now as the Soviet threat no longer exists even in the dreams of the Cold War propagandists of the Pentagon, Canada's tax-extracted military dollar expenditures under the current budget will continue to rise-$12.3 billion next year and $12.7 the year after. That's after a $680,000,000 rise in 1991, and not including $220-300 million in arms-production subsidies.

While the government cuts expenditures on the minds and bodies of Canadians, it continues to throw billions ofdeficitraising dollars into a military black-hole which does not even give us military defence. As for the vaunted international peacekeeping, it amounts to only 1% of our defence budget-far less than our government annually spends subsidizing arms-exporting corporations. As Canadians' social security, education, environment and communications are slashed, we continue to be force-taxed for a military system that does less and less for security, and more and more to arm foreign militaries and enrich military-industrial corporations.

John McMurtry is a philosophy professor at Guelph University.

Peace Magazine May-Jun 1992

Peace Magazine May-Jun 1992, page 31. Some rights reserved.

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