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Peace group brings protest to steps of MP Dowdall's office today

'For fighting the problems we have now [fighter jets] are absolutely useless,' said protester

A crowd of 22 joined a protest in Collingwood this afternoon calling for the cancellation of a $19 billion competition to purchase 88 new fighter jets for the Canadian Military. 

Led by Helen Peacock and the Collingwood group Pivot2Peace, the group gathered outside Simcoe-Grey MP Terry Dowdall’s office at noon. They sang songs and held up signs calling for the government to axe the planned purchase and redisperse the money to other places in the budget. 

Frank McEnaney said fighter jets are outdated and “very 20th century.” 

“We are fighting not enemies but problems,” he said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. “For fighting the problems we have now [fighter jets] are absolutely useless.” 

Peacock asked the group to imagine they were on a deserted island and the only resource was a basket of 1,000 apples. She compared purchasing fighter jets to tossing 500 of the apples in the ocean to keep the sharks away. 

“Here’s an idea, why don’t we take some apples from the military,” said Peacock. 

She handed Dowdall a copy of a letter from Pivot2Peace members calling for the cancellation of the $19 billion competition to purchase fighter jets. 

Dowdall said he was “glad to be here to see democracy in action.” 

He was grateful to the group for organizing the event in a “peaceful way” that “respected social distancing.” 

Group members wore masks, remained outdoors, and kept about six feet apart most of the time. 

Dowdall said he’s not back in Ottawa until the third week in August. MPs have been taking turns being physically present at the capital buildings due to COVID-19. 

As for the $19 billion contract competition for fighter jets, Dowdall said he didn’t know what would happen to it. 

“We don’t even have a budget for the year yet,” he said. “There’s a lot of uncertainty.” 

However, he noted the government has a responsibility to its military. 

“We have to make sure we have safe equipment for our military moving forward,” he said. “That’s important as well … to keep us safe and continue to have a free country.” 

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Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter and editor. She has 13 years of experience as a local journalist
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