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e-3821 (National defence and military operations)

Initiated by Tamara Lorincz from Waterloo, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons

  • The government of Canada plans to purchase 88 new fighter jets for $19 billion;
  • The No New Fighter Jets Coalition has estimated the life-cycle costs to be $76.8 billion;
  • Spending on new fighter jets would divert resources away from crucial social and environmental needs and Indigenous communities;
  • Former Deputy Minister of National Defense, Charles Nixon, asserted that new fighter jets were not necessary to protect security or sovereignty;
  • Fighter jets use a specialized fuel JP8, emit excessive emissions and exacerbate the climate crisis;
  • There is no plan to offset these emissions preventing the government from decarbonizing and meeting its Paris Agreement target;
  • National Defense is the largest emitter among all federal departments, yet most of its emissions are exempt from the federal emission reduction plan;
  • Low-level fighter jet training causes noise pollution and disrupt nearby communities;
  • Air weapons ranges harm the forest, soil, water and wildlife;
  • Fighter jets are for bombing that destroys infrastructure and kills people; and
  • International conflicts can be resolved with peaceful diplomacy and without fighter jets.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to:
1. Cancel the competition to purchase new combat aircraft;
2. Include all of the emissions from the military vehicles and operations in the government’s emission reduction plan and net-zero plan; and
3. Invest in a conversion plan to create thousands of jobs in the green, care economy to transition Canada away from fossil fuel and armed forces.

Response by the Minister of Natural Resources

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, P.C., M.P.

In March 2022, the Prime Minister announced Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan – a requirement under the Net Zero Emissions Accountability Act. The Emissions Reduction Plan is an ambitious and achievable roadmap that outlines a sector-by-sector path for Canada to reach its emissions reduction target of 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050. Progress under this Plan will be reviewed in reports produced in 2023, 2025, and 2027. Additional targets and plans will be developed for 2035 through to 2050. The 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan includes $9.1 billion of new federal investments in climate action, building on over $100 billion invested in climate and clean growth from 2015 to 2021. The plan will support Canada in building a low-carbon economy. It is also central to the federal government’s goal of creating one million jobs, restoring employment to pre-pandemic levels. Beyond job creation, the plan includes actions to ensure that building Canada’s low-carbon economy is inclusive, equitable and benefits all Canadians.

The Government of Canada is engaged in parallel efforts to ensure Canada’s workforce and communities thrive in a net-zero future. In July 2021, the Minister of Natural Resources and Minister of Labour launched a consultation process to inform the development of legislation and comprehensive action to achieve a just transition and ensure that workers and industry have the information, tools and supports they need to prepare for and adapt to labour market changes brought on by the global energy transformation. The Minister of Natural Resources, in partnership with provinces and territories, is also launching a regional process to develop place-based economic strategies to define and accelerate key regional opportunities and priorities in the shift to a net-zero economy. This process will seek to align resources, timelines, and regulatory approaches on a regional basis – working with provinces and territories, industry, labour, and Indigenous peoples – to accelerate economic activity, energy system transformation and ensure that Canada fosters the skills and develops the workforce required in line with these opportunities.

Response by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable STEVEN GUILBEAULT

Over the past six years, the Government of Canada has demonstrated its leadership on climate change and clean growth, at home and abroad. We understand that accelerated efforts are crucial to reduce emissions rapidly by 2030, and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Canada has invested more than $100 billion to address climate change since 2015 and has recently announced $9.1 billion in new investments that builds on the foundation set by Canada’s existing climate actions.

In 2021, Canada adopted an enhanced 2030 emissions reduction target of 40-45% below 2005 levels, and passed legislation to enshrine its commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 in law. The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act provides a durable framework of accountability and transparency to deliver on this commitment. On March 29, 2022, Canada tabled the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan: Canada’s Next Steps for Clean Air and a Strong Economy (ERP)in Parliament and released the plan. The 2030 Plan is the Government’s next major step in taking action to achieve Canada’s climate objectives and create good, sustainable jobs in Canada.

Achieving Canada's climate goals requires all sectors of the economy to pursue decarbonization in ways that make cleaner initiatives more affordable and create new, sustainable job opportunities for workers. In addition, the 2030 ERP reflects input received from thousands of Canadians, businesses and communities, as well as submissions from Indigenous partners, provinces and territories and the Carbon Neutrality Advisory Group.

The 2030 ERP builds on significant progress Canada has already made to address climate change, including the actions outlined in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, and Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan, A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy, released in 2020. With the 2030 ERP, the Government of Canada is taking action by:

  • working with industry, stakeholders, provinces and territories, Indigenous peoples and others to develop the cap on emissions from the oil and gas sector. Following consultations, the cap will be designed to lower emissions at a pace and scale needed to achieve net-zero by 2050, reduce oil and gas methane by at least 75% below 2012 levels by 2030, support clean technologies to further decarbonize the sector, and work to create sustainable jobs;
  • developing a national net-zero by 2050 buildings strategy, the Canada Green Buildings Strategy;
  • investing in nature and natural climate solutions through the Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund to deliver additional emission reductions from nature-based climate solutions;
  • working with provinces, territories, industry, and other stakeholders on the design of a Clean Electricity Standard to achieve a net-zero electricity grid by 2035;
  • helping industries decarbonize by adopting clean technology in their journey to net-zero emissions by committing to develop a carbon capture, utilization and storage strategy; and
  • ensuring that workers and communities are able to benefit from the opportunities that the transition to a low-carbon economy presents, including by making significant investments in skills training and continuing consultations on the development of Sustainable Jobs and Skills legislation.

The 2030 ERP is designed to be evergreen—a comprehensive roadmap that reflects levels of ambition to guide emissions reduction efforts in each sector. As governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities across the country work together to reach these targets, Canada will identify and respond to new opportunities.

Canada has also committed to phase out or rationalize inefficient fossil fuel subsidies by 2023. It has already taken actions to phase out or rationalize eight tax preferences supporting the fossil fuel sector. Addressing inefficient fossil fuel subsidies supports Canada’s efforts to take action on climate change and transition to a low-carbon economy.

Response by the Minister of National Defence

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Bryan May

By investing in a new fleet of future fighters, we are ensuring the Canadian Armed Forces have the equipment they need to protect Canadians. A state-of-the-art fleet of fighter jets for the Royal Canadian Air Force will help ensure our pilots have the most advanced equipment available to protect Canada’s territorial integrity, including our Arctic and our communities in the North, to meet our commitments to North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NORAD), and to deal with unforeseen threats.

Indeed, as the primary Canadian aircraft assigned to NORAD, Canada’s fighter aircraft are on continuous alert to respond to potential aerial threats to the safety and security of Canada and Canadians. Additionally, fighter aircraft are employed in support of security for major international events and are a key part of Canada’s response to international threats.

For the past four decades, Canada’s multi-role CF-18 fleet has been the backbone of Canada’s air defence forces, a fundamental part of Canada’s contribution to the defence of North America through NORAD and a valuable component of Canada’s participation in peace support, security and combat operations overseas to protect and promote Canadian interests and values.

Strong, Secure, Engaged states that National Defence will acquire 88 advanced fighter aircraft to replace the fighter fleet, which will allow the Canadian Armed Forces to meet Canada’s commitments to NORAD and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) simultaneously and without compromise.

At the time of this response, the project office is in the finalization phase of the procurement process with the top-ranked bidder, the United States Government and Lockheed Martin, for the F-35A fighter aircraft.

Ensuring our Canadian Armed Forces members have the resources and equipment they need to do the difficult jobs we ask of them remains a top priority for the Canadian Government. Getting the right fighter for Canada is critical to enforce Canada’s sovereignty, enable continental security, and contribute to international peace and security.

Climate change is the greatest challenge of our generation and Canada is taking a whole of government approach to fight it. To that end, National Defence is undertaking a series of net-zero initiatives and supporting climate-resilient operations, while also reduce environmental impacts beyond carbon, including on waste, water and biodiversity.

National Defence continues to work to achieve net-zero emissions for its military vehicles and operations in compliance with whole of government strategies such as the Greening Government Strategy, the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, and the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. This will allow us to build on the significant progress that has been made to date. Indeed, as noted in the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development’s Report on the Greening Government Strategy, National Defence has reduced its emissions by 38% relative to the 2005 baseline, and is on track to reach 40% reduction by 2025, in line with our Defence Energy and Environment Strategy.

The Defence Energy and Environment Strategy outlines the Department’s targets towards reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for its real property, commercial light-duty fleets, and its National Safety and Security operations fleet which include Canadian Armed Forces aircraft, marine vessels, and tactical land vehicles.

Through the strategy, National Defence committed to the following targets:

  • Reducing GHG emissions by 40% below 2005 levels by 2025 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. This includes reaching net-zero emissions from National Safety and Security fleet sources by 2050.
  • Developing a strategy for aviation fuels that supports the Government of Canada’s goal of achieving net-zero GHG emissions by 2050;
  • Completing baseline energy and fuel usage evaluations for select marine vessels by 2023; and
  • Achieving an energy efficiency of 85% for fossil-fuel electrical generation and distribution utilities in major deployed camps by 2023.

National Defence also committed to make every effort to consider environmental and energy implications of its purchase decisions, operations, and asset management.

More work needs to be done to attain a net zero portfolio by 2050. That is why National Defence is committed to demonstrating leadership in environmental and energy sustainability. National Defence will continue to further improve our greening efforts in support of federal targets and will continue to make strong progress and contribute to bold climate action.

Open for signature
February 7, 2022, at 4:24 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
March 9, 2022, at 4:24 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Bardish Chagger (Waterloo)
May 9, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00416)
Government response tabled
June 20, 2022
Photo - Bardish Chagger
Liberal Caucus