Militant Action Against Promotion of War at Toronto Air Show

Anti-war activists organized a lively picket at the Dufferin Gate entrance to the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Toronto on September 4. The Canadian International Air Show, promoted as part of the "family fare" at the CNE, is held every year. It is a display of mainly military aircraft of the U.S. and Canadian armed forces. Members of several different organizations, including a contingent from the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada (MLPC), took part in the action. Banners, placards and shouted slogans denounced the glorification of war, the promotion of war industries, Canada's multi-billion-dollar purchase of F-35 fighter jets and other military hardware, and called for an end to the Air Show and for Canada to Get Out of NATO.

The Air Show itself was condemned for what it is -- war propaganda, a justification for the militarization of Canadian life and Canada's further integration into the U.S. war machine and a recruitment tool to entice youth into the military. It is an attempt to sell the Canadian public on the "excitement" of warplane technology. Meanwhile the death and destruction inflicted upon human beings, nations and peoples in the wars and acts of aggression these weapons are used for by the U.S. and its aggressive NATO alliance, and Canada's own role as an aggressor around the world, are to be politely overlooked.

Thousands of people going to the CNE passed by. Many stopped to read the placards, to take photographs of the action, and to discuss and express their support.

One of the themes of the action highlighted the $77 billion Canada is spending on new F-35 fighter jets. NATO imposes such obligations on all its members, Canada included. Weapons producers, such as Lockheed Martin based in the U.S., make hundreds of billions of dollars building these instruments of mass destruction while at the same time the economies of Canada and other NATO member countries get integrated into the U.S. war machine.

Another theme highlighted the destructive role that the war planes celebrated by the Air Show have on the environment and climate change. Last year, for example, the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference identified and condemned the U.S. armed forces as one of the top sources of greenhouse gas emissions and destructive climate change. And that does not take into account the rest of the aggressive NATO alliance.

An MLPC speaker condemned the recent visit of NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg to the Arctic and the plans to militarize the Arctic under the guise of containing threats from China and Russia. Highlighting the concerns people had raised -- be it opposition to war and aggression, the state paying billions to multinational armaments producers such as Lockheed Martin or environmental degradation -- he said they all underscore the necessity to Get Canada Out of NATO and NORAD and Make Canada a Zone for Peace.

This article was published in
Volume 52 Number 9 - September, 2022

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