As Toronto's oldest annual air show, it isn't going to disappear any time soon. The base tickets bring in thousands of people, but they also offer VIP tickets which have staggering prices of upward to $1519 per ticket, and include a lot of interesting perks...
But, here is the thing... We live in Canada.
The Royal Canadian Air Force isn't exactly brimming with brand new technology or lots of planes.
As of 2013 the RCAF only has 258 manned aircraft. Only a fraction of what we would need if we were ever in a major war.
The RCAF also only has 14,500 regular soldiers and 2,600 reserves. Peanuts compared to many other countries.
But the most crippling problem is that Canada doesn't even build its own warplanes any more. They are all built in the USA. We are completely dependent upon United States factories to be building our planes.
Imagine a scenario for example in which an enemy of NATO bombs and destroys all of the American factories... and back in Canada we cannot get parts to repair our planes because the American factories have all been destroyed.
But if we built our own planes here in Canada we would instead have some military and economic benefits...
#1. Building our own planes in Canada means more jobs for Canadians.
#2. Building our own planes and replacement parts in Canada means we are more independent, and are responsible for protecting our own chain of supply.
#3. Having the designs for building our own planes, if anything happens to the factories we can simply have other factories build the parts according to the specifications.
#4. If a major war ever broke out, Canada would have the ability to build its own planes to meet the demand required for new planes so we can keep on fighting on the land, on the sea, and in the air.
#5. Money spent on building those planes would stay in Canada, as opposed to being outsourced to Americans and shipping the money south of the border.
At present much of Canada's warplanes are actually just large transport vehicles and helicopters. They range from tactical transport vehicles like the CC-130H Hercules, to the CH-124 Sea King helicopters (which take a ridiculous number of hours to repair and maintain for every hour they are in the air).
Much of Canada's air force are antiquated planes that have been used since the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
For example the CF-18 Hornet fighter jets that you might see zooming over Toronto during the Toronto Air Show, they have been protecting the skies over Canada since 1982.
That is 34 years of service. Over a third of a century.
Back in 2010 the incompetent Stephen Harper announced that he was going to purchase 65 new Lockheed Martin F-35...
The resulting scandal wasted hundreds of millions of Canadian dollars and all Canada got to show for it was a wooden mockup of what the plane should look like. The Harper government ultimately never bought the planes, instead they promised to buy them, but never signed the paperwork or contracts for $16 billion, and instead wasted hundreds of millions on empty promises.
Below is a photograph of a fake wooden F-35 purchased by the Harper government. It looks nice. But it doesn't fly and is absolutely useless. Just like Stephen Harper.
|Fake Wooden F35|
Anyway, let us get right back on topic...
Canada is basically ripe for invasion. Our air force is a joke. An "air farce" if you will.
Someday, possibly sooner than we hope, enemy jets will be flying over Canada and we will realize that we are so weakly defended it is laughable. (We might have a lot of guns per capita, but military training isn't common place in Canada so many Canadians wouldn't even know how to load a rifle, let alone clean it.)
Investing in Canada's military doesn't have to be a huge expense. But we should be spending perhaps 5% of our total annual budget improving Canada's chances. 5% doesn't seem like much, but it would make a difference. It would allow us to upgrade our out of date hardware and invest in new technology.
It would also allow us to be building new planes, drones, helicopters and transport vehicles here in Canada.
And while we are at it, we could invest in more submarines and aircraft carriers. (For those wondering, "battleships" are obsolete and have been ever since aircraft carriers became available.)
Canada's reserves could also be dramatically improved. The 2,600 air force reserves mentioned above is a pittance. We should have 8 times that, at least.
Investing in Canada's military hardware may seem like a waste of money when we are currently at peace, but if don't invest in it on a regular basis our old obsolete equipment will be useless when the day comes that we are at war and we are wondering how we are still using old tech from 1960s that nobody knows how to repair.
And that investment will create jobs for Canadians, on the provision that we realize the opportunity to build and maintain our own equipment here in Canada, instead of begging for scraps from the Americans.
This way in the future when we hear warplanes passing over breaking the sound barrier, we can be a little more confident those are our planes protecting Canada and not some invasion force which has overwhelmed Canada's defenses.