Project PloughsharesPublisher: University of Waterloo, Canada
Year Published: 1977
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX291
A project aimed at educating the Canadian public about Canadian defense policy.
Abstract: a) PROJECT PLOUGHSHARES PROGRAM DESCRIPTION (7 pp)
Project Ploughshares is a joint venture of the Canadian Council of Churches,
Canadian Friends' Service Committee, Mennonite Central Committee, CUSO and Conrad Grebel College. It has two sections: Section I is located at the College and assumes responsibility for a resource centre of materials on Canadian defence policy and alternatives, Canadian arms manufacturing industry, defence and weapons research in Canada, and the relation between arms spending and human
development. Section II will be responsible for public education and mobilizing
support for change. All this is outlined in the Program Description.
b) PLOUGHSHARES WORKING PAPER #l: NOTES ON THE DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
PROPOSAL TO PURCHASE FIGHTER AIRCRAFT (7pp)
Working Paper #1 outlines the implications of the Defence Structure Review initiated by the Government in 1974. From that Review has come a decision to acquire a variety of new equipment including long range aircraft and tanks (for both of which contracts are now signed) and fighter aircraft. Much of this call
for new equipment comes from Canada's commitment to NATO and its policy of "flexible response" deterrence. The purpose of "flexible response" is to raise the "threshold" of nuclear war so that conflicts remain confined to "conventional" weaponry.
At this point there is a lot of support for acquiring military equipment. There is a general embarrassment in Parliament that the military have been denied what is necessary to "do the job". As a result the Defence Dept. budget will be allowed to grow with the rate of inflation and the capital fund will increase at the rate of 23% until it reaches 20% of the total defence budget. This means that by the early 1980's the Government will set aside one billion dollars annually for military capital. Several pages are devoted to describing aircraft to be replaced as well as proposals for their replacement: about 120 billion dollars for 120 aircraft.
c) PLOUGHSHARES WORKING PAPER #2: NOTES OI1 TIME ECONOIIIC IMPACT OF MILITARY
ACTIVITY (10 pp)
Working Paper #2 points out that the strategic security argument says that no nation can afford to depend upon external sources for commodities essential to its military security. Then it goes on to show how our arrangement with the U.S. does precisely that. We rely on allies for major weapons systems and
contribute component parts. A major shift in the defence industry has been a consolidation of management of the industry under a unified management after the model of multinationals. Originally this was done to allow more non-military, civilian ownership. However such management soon takes it as its task to assure
further industrial contracts with the Dept. Thus industry takes the lead (after the model of Detroit) in producing new models of weapons that keep the industrial assembly lines rolling. However, this form of management of defence industry is a form of imperialism that exploits its own people. military goods are unique in an economy in that, while they consume labour and materials, they have no return impact as product on the economy. In thus diverting resources from social services they indirectly pressure for inflation. Wages are given but no product to consume. Military investment and borrowing also cause inflation and diminish the capital available Or productivity, Studies have also shown that military contracts actually are of a sort that they create unemployment by diverting job-creation into capital intensive, rather than labour intensive areas. Military investment, particularly in Canada is often touted as having important civilian by-products. Studies show this amount to be about 5% as far as technologically innovative spillover.
d)PLOUGHSHARES WORKING PAPER #3: NOTES ON A DEFINITION OF 'MILITARISM' (12pp)
Working Paper #3 is a more theoretical discussion of a distinction between the
military way and militarism. It argues that in conflicts which are to be solved in part by force one can argue that killing may be "necessary", but when this function is covered and diverted by appeal to other purposes or influences, then we have entered a distinct field of militarism. The paper argues that it is counter-productive for pacifists to confuse these two questions. It then goes on to show how aspects of Canadian defence policy and practice are clearly signed with militarism. We sustain a myth that we manufacture arms which are never shipped to war areas and so are not intended for killing. The truth
is that all arms are intended for killing. There is a myth, which runs right through our military establishment and the general population, that military spending is good for the economy. But the good of the economy is not the purpose of the military. Its purpose is to kill people in conflicts. We continue to participate in NORAD whose purpose is to off-set the Soviet bomber threat even though we know there is little such threat. The real reasons for continuing are political. This is true also of NATO. Finally, the goals of militarism often undermine the very objectives of the military way whose objective is always to overcome the conflict with as little loss of life as possible. The goals of militarism are transcendent. Thus, nuclear accidents, accidental nuclear war, inability to control nuclear inventories, and widening gap between military offensive and defensive capability become more and more immediate. "Militarism is an attempt to pursue; by military means, objectives that transcend on those transcendent objectives," including the attempt to expand our commercial interests globally.
e)PLOUGHSHARES MONITOR, VOL. 1, N0. 1, APRIL `77
Ploughshares Monitor is the newsletter of the project. This first issue deals with the plane procurement being pursued by the Canadian Armed Forces. It includes, as well, a description of the project and other current news.