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Harper's priorities out of whack: Fighter jets vs. green power

Canadian taxpayer dollars slated for fighter jets demonstrates Harper is not here for Canadian interests or the environment, says the Council of Canadians.

"For the cost of 10 fighter jets, the Canadian government could power a million homes on green electricity," says Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy and Climate Justice Campaigner with the Council of Canadians.

This comparison is based on estimates of fighter jet costs from the Pentagon contrasted to the money invested in the federal EcoENERGY Renewable Power program that had the objective of powering one million homes. Factoring in the estimated lifetime costs of maintaining a fighter jet, it only takes three to cover the costs of the program.

The Council of Canadians contends that this comparison is particularly pertinent given the failure of the federal government to extend funding for this critical program in the proposed 2011 budget.

"The Harper government's spending on fighter jets is way out of line with the priorities of Canadians," adds Harden-Donahue. "Invested in areas such as improving energy efficiency, renewable energy and public transit, emissions could be reduced and thousands of greens jobs created."

According to a recent Environics research poll, over 70 per cent of Canadians agreed that money spent on wars and the military would all be better spent on efforts that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of climate change. The poll also found that over 80 percent of Canadians believe the Canadian government should invest in "green jobs" and transition programs for workers and communities negatively affected by a shift off of fossil fuels.

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For more information:

Dylan Penner, media officer, Council of Canadians: 613-795-8685, dpenner@canadians.org

Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy and Climate Justice Campaigner, Council of Canadians 613-218-5800; aharden@canadians.org

Sources:
The Pentagon estimates are that one fighter jet will cost around $151 million. The Ecoenergy program for Renewable Power, "... will invest $1.48 billion to increase Canada's supply of clean electricity from renewable sources such as wind, biomass, low-impact hydro, geothermal, solar photovoltaic and ocean energy. It will encourage the production of 14.3 terrawatt hours of new electricity from renewable energy sources, enough electricity to power about one million homes." Murray Brewster, "Budget officer, military trade shots over new fighter jet costs," The Canadian Press; EcoENERGY, Government of Canada;
Steven Chase, "Fighter jet price tag will approach $30 billion, budget watchdog warns"
The Environics Research poll was commissioned by the Council of Canadians, KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Indigenous Environmental Network, Common Frontiers, Public Service Alliance of Canada and Toronto Bolivia Solidarity. The telephone poll of 1,000 Canadians conducted October 27 to November 1 2010 has a margin of error of +/- 3.10%, 19 times out of 20.

www.canadians.org/energy

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