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e-4217 (National defence and military operations)

Initiated by Sarah Rohleder from Vancouver, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons

  • The federal government plans to purchase 88 new Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighters for $19 billion with a lifecycle cost of $77 billion;
  • The F-35s are a financial risk with unsustainable operation costs and had over 800 open technical and performance deficiencies according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office;
  • The F-35 is a warplane designed for first strike attacks and not defence;
  • The F-35 is also a dual capable plane that can carry the B61-12 nuclear bomb, which would cause Canada to violate its commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty;
  • The procurement of these fighter jets is antithetical to feminist foreign policy and diverts public funds away from necessary social programs like healthcare, education and housing;
  • The F-35s are fossil fuel-powered, will emit greenhouse gases and will exacerbate the climate crisis; and
  • These fighter jets will also have adverse cumulative impacts on Indigenous communities from extreme noise, excessive carbon emissions and damage to their traditional lands from weapons testing and air force bases.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to:
1. Conduct and publicize a comprehensive study on the financial, climate, environmental and social costs and risks of the F-35 fighter jets
2. Make public the findings for the gender-based analysis, environmental assessment, climate impacts, and impacts on Indigenous communities of the new fleet of F-35s and
3. Cancel the planned purchase of F-35 fighter jets and invest in climate action and the well-being of Canadians.

Response by the Minister of National Defence

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Bryan May

Through Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, the Government of Canada is acquiring modern military equipment to keep Canadians safe and protected, and to support the security of our international allies and partners. This includes the purchase of a new fleet of 88 advanced fighter jets for the Royal Canadian Air Force.

National Defence takes seriously its responsibility as a steward of public funds seriously and has carried out various financial, Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+), and environmental assessments, and has also considered the adverse climate and environmental impacts associated with the new fighter jets, as required by the federal regulations, and in line with related departmental policies and procedures.

More details on the analyses competed thus far, or activities undertaken under each element, are provided below.

Financial Analysis

As part of the evaluation of Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP) bidders’ proposals, the Life Cycle Cost (LCC) Evaluation included an assessment of the financial risks associated with each bidder’s LCC Offer. Furthermore, National Defence considered multiple risk elements including foreign exchange, inflation, schedule, development, and Canada-unique requirements, as well as the potential for variation in equipment costs. These risks were analyzed for probability of occurrence and impacts to various cost elements; the result of this assessment established the overall contingency envelope for the project. The overall project cost, including contingency, remains within the estimated $19B for this procurement.

Gender-Based Analysis

There exist potential differential impacts for women and other diverse groups from elements of the project such as equipment design, training, and facility construction, which will be explored during implementation. Consultations have resulted in the following gender-based considerations being incorporated into the design of the infrastructure requirements, noting that the design of these rooms has taken into consideration issues of safety by having well-lit areas and reducing isolated spaces:

  • A lactation room, multi-faith room, and an area for Indigenous Smudging ceremonies have been incorporated into the design of the facilities.
  • The facilities will be accessible for persons with disabilities and to personnel requiring assistance.
  • Respectful gender inclusive washrooms, showers, and change rooms have been incorporated into the design of the infrastructure.

National Defence also continues to work with the United States Government, Lockheed Martin, and Pratt & Whitney to examine the potential differential impacts of aircrew and maintenance personnel training and incorporate GBA+ considerations into training courseware and simulators (such as ensuring that the images depicted in training courseware depict a range of GBA+ community demographics).

Environmental Assessment

National Defence assigns a high priority to its environmental programs, and is committed to meeting the objectives of the Greening Government Strategy, the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, the Treasury Board Policy on Green Procurement, and the Defence Energy and Environmental Strategy (DEES) throughout the lifecycle of the FFCP.

Examples of environmental considerations under the FFCP include:

  • Emissions from the new aircraft flight and maintenance activities are anticipated to be similar to those of the existing aircraft and may, in fact, be reduced as a result of reduced use of hazardous materials and planned capture of emissions from solvent baths and other sources of emissions.
  • Existing noise control measures will be updated in implementation, in consultation with local authorities, to minimize the noise impact of the new fighter on the community.
  • Infrastructure designed in support of the FFCP at CFB Cold Lake and CFB Bagotville has been developed to sustainable design standards to minimize the impact on the environment. The design and construction of infrastructure will be in accordance with relevant policies and directives, aimed at reducing the environmental impacts associated with buildings, including water and energy consumption. These guidelines also favor the use of sustainable and regional materials where practical and support the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the construction, operations, and maintenance processes.

With a focus on improving energy efficiency, integrating climate change adaptation into departmental programs, maintaining sustainable property, as well as strengthening green procurement processes, National Defence continues to seek opportunities to maintain the health of the environment into the future.

Climate Impacts

For both the Cold Lake and Bagotville Fighter Squadron Facilities (FSFs), the Modified-Design-Build contractor conducted Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments to assess the vulnerabilities of public infrastructure to the impacts of climate change. Recommendations will be considered in the development of detailed designs for the new infrastructure, and recommended policy-related adaptation measures, such as routine building inspections, may also be adopted as mitigation measures. The National Defence Green Building Directive requirements, including the goal to divert construction and demolition waste from landfill by 90% in weight, are included in the Sustainable Design Strategy of the Modified-Design-Build Contractors’ Statement of Work.

Indigenous Considerations

In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Federal Approach to Modern Treaty Implementation, an Assessment of Modern Treaty Implications (AMTI) was conducted. Examination of the geographical scope of the project in relation to modern treaties in effect did not identify any potential modern treaty implications for the infrastructure work to be completed under the FFCP. In addition, the Comprehensive Land Claims Agreements do not apply to the procurement at this time, as no work will be performed, and no goods will be delivered within a land claim settlement area.

The FFCP is committed to working to promote opportunities for Indigenous community involvement throughout the implementation of the project. The FFCP will leverage the Procurement Strategy for Indigenous Business, Indigenous Benefit Plans, and other innovative solutions that promote knowledge sharing, learning opportunities, capacity building, and employment which will simultaneously benefit Indigenous communities, National Defence, and Canada at large.

Ultimately, as the rules-based international order is challenged around the world, the F-35 will be essential for protecting Canadians, enhancing Arctic security and national sovereignty, and enabling Canada to meet its NATO, NORAD, and other obligations well into the future.

This procurement will deliver the capability needed for the Royal Canadian Air Force, while providing high-value economic benefits for Canada's aerospace and defence sector for decades to come.

Response by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

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

As announced in March 2022 in the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, the Government of Canada is fully committed to meeting Canada’s emissions reductions targets, achieving net-zero by 2050, and in ensuring a successful transition to a prosperous, healthy and equitable low-carbon future.

As part of Canada’s commitment to net-zero by 2050, the Government of Canada will ensure that Canada is a global leader in government operations that are net-zero, resilient and green. Led by the Centre for Greening Government of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, the Greening Government Strategy: A Government of Canada Directive - is a set of government-approved commitments that apply to all core government departments and agencies, for our National Safety and Security (NSS) fleets it commits that:

  • The Government of Canada’s operations will be net-zero emissions by 2050 including NSS operations
  • By 2023, NSS fleet departments will develop and regularly update Operational Fleet Decarbonization Plans that outline how they will reduce their emissions from operations in line with the overall 2050 target.
  • In addition, NSS departments will adopt best practices to improve efficiency and reduce emissions and environmental impacts in the areas of:
    • fuel procurement, including low-carbon fuels
    • fleet procurement, including purchasing energy-efficient platforms
    • operational efficiency and net-zero research and innovation

A key part of these commitments is the purchase of drop-in low-carbon-intensity liquid fuels for our federal air and marine fleets. The Low-carbon Fuel Procurement Program - will support the purchase of more than 300 million litres of neat drop-in-low-carbon-intensity fuels by the end of fiscal year 2030–31.

The purchase of the F-35s, announced in January 2023, complies with the greening government commitments stated above, was conducted in open, fair and transparent competitive procurement process, and supports Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged.  By acquiring modern military equipment such as the F-35s, the Government of Canada will continue to keep Canadians safe and protected, and to support the security of our international allies and partners.




Open for signature
January 5, 2023, at 1:38 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
March 6, 2023, at 1:38 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Lindsay Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe)
March 20, 2023 (Petition No. 441-01187)
Government response tabled
May 3, 2023
Photo - Lindsay Mathyssen
New Democratic Party Caucus