An upcoming Penticton performance of Canada’s Snowbirds aerobatic team this summer could be hazardous to your health, will cost you too much as a Canadian taxpayer and will be bad for the nation as a whole — according to 62 people from across the country.
That’s how many people, at time of publication, have signed a petition from a group calling itself the ‘Ad Hoc Penticton Peace Committee.’ They want this year’s show cancelled.
The GoPetition to cancel aerial performances by Canadian Air Force precision flying team Snowbirds, as well as a planned demonstration of the military’s F-18 Hornet fighter at this year’s Peach Festival, cites numerous concerns, including.
• The disturbing effect military air shows can have on vulnerable viewers
• The significant cost to taxpayers of the RCAF military demonstration teams
• The stated purpose of the Snowbirds aerial demonstration team, and
• The explicit linking of the CF-18 demonstration with a celebration of Canadian Confederation.
Included with the petition is an open letter addressed to Peach Fest President Don Kendall, Snowbird Committee Chair Fred Trainor, and major sponsor Dave Kampe, referring to the Snowbirds Penticton program as a “military demonstration.”
The letter also includes a quote from academic researcher Craig Damian Smith who claims air shows are “insulting, invasive and violent” for those who have experienced the trauma of war.
Rather than seeing the Snowbirds as an aerial spectacle of superior airmanship and teamwork, the group calls the precision flying team a public relations tool of the Canadian Armed Forces designed to recruit “innocent youth,” using tax dollars to help celebrate and commemorate war battles and war-related “awareness programs,” concluding by calling it “unbridled militarism.”
The petitioners even go so far as to say the Snowbirds’ performance has negative historical implications, because it is tied to Canada’s military. They tie this year’s performance to the 72nd anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki because it takes place on the same date, Aug. 9.
There is also an attempt to tie the airshow negatively to a recent, Similkameen-based indigenous movement that is using this year’s Canada Day celebrations to stimulate dialogue between native and non-native peoples.
“In consideration of the need for reconciliation between Canada and indigenous peoples, in consideration of the expense to taxpayers of this military program and its intention to recruit; in consideration of the potential of the air show to upset members of the public… we call on the organizers to cancel the air show component of the 2017 Peach Festival and to ensure that Penticton’s skies will never again be pierced by war planes on a mission to enlist innocent youth,” the letter concludes.
Well, are you convinced?