For the first seven days of his protest fast, Langley doctor Brendan Martin spent six hours every day in Langley City’s Douglas Park with protest signs. He was part of a cross-Canada campaign against fighter jet funding (Special to Black Press Media)

For the first seven days of his protest fast, Langley doctor Brendan Martin spent six hours every day in Langley City’s Douglas Park with protest signs. He was part of a cross-Canada campaign against fighter jet funding (Special to Black Press Media)

B.C. doctor ends 2-week fast to protest proposed fighter jets purchase

Part of Canadian campaign to have the money used for other purposes

Langley doctor Brendan Martin ended his two-week fast a few minutes after midnight on Saturday, April 24, with a bowl of chick pea and leek soup and some vegetables run through a juicer.

“I just had a very small serving,” Martin told Black Press Media.

“That’s all I could take.”

By then, the Brookswood resident was 21 pounds lighter and very tired.

He was part of a Canada-wide protest against federal government plans to buy 88 new fighter jets for up to $19 billion, organized by the “No Fighter Jets Coalition” of peace, justice, and faith groups across Canada.

They argue buying new fighter jets is fiscally irresponsible when the federal government is running a $268-billion deficit during the pandemic, and the fighter jet money would be better spent on other things.

READ ALSO: Langley physician on two-week hunger strike to protest Canadian fighter jet purchase

Martin spent six hours a day during the first week of his fast under the shelter of the bandstand at Langley City’s Douglas Park, with signs explaining the protest.

He said only a small percentage of people passing through the park opted to investigate and speak with him.

“I think that’s a reflection that people are not aware of the fighter jets issue,” Martin suggested.

Those who spoke to him were supportive, with a single exception.

“One shook his head and said he didn’t support it, and walked away,” Martin related.

He said another man went on a one-day fast to show support.

READ ALSO: Canadian doctor won’t abandon hospital staff imprisoned for him in Zimbabwe

A street ministry that usually conducts services in the same bandstand proved willing to share the space and even included some words of support with their scriptures, Martin said.

It was his first protest fast, and he believes it did have an impact.

“It certainly has created awareness across Canada,” he commented.

“It has kind of turbo-charged our coalition.”

Martin urged supporters to write two-sentence letters to their federal politicians and the prime minister saying “do not purchase fighter jets. Speak up in parliament against this purchase.”

More information can be found at nofighterjets.ca.

The federal government is looking for a new fighter aircraft to replace its aging CF-18 fleet, keeping them in the air by buying second-hand jets and parts from Australia.

Three replacements are currently under consideration: the Boeing Super Hornet, an updated version of the CF-18, the Swedish-engineered Saab Gripen, and the Lockheed Martin F-35, which was developed by a consortium of countries including Canada.


Is there more to the story? Email: dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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