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Where a job is more than just a job – Raytheon missiles kill Yemeni kids

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Arms dealing is by nature a heartless business and keeping that hollow emptiness at arms length is important for promoting lucrative contracts. Profit often covers up the truth of suffering. The industry of bomb making, defence systems and surveillance demands a new language. 

The industry’s lexicon does not include grief, widowhood, constant insecurity and vulnerability. In fact quoting from Raytheon’s own website, the company presents itself as fulfilling a ‘mission’ for Canadians or at least, for the Canadian government. Apparently we need support in our ‘global missions’. We also require’ strengthening the domestic industrial base…sustaining systems that protect surface ships and fighter jets. That industrial base is not killing our planet softly – it will bring it to a screeching halt. Diplomacy, building human connections and infrastructure are not mentioned. 

Let’s take a closer look at how the jobs in Canada – that domestic industrial base go beyond our borders – and ask ourselves if human life is worthy of protection beyond this geography? Is a life lost here different from a life lost in one of the poorest Arab nations? The Yemen war began in 2015 and $3 billion of the new bomb sales came from Raytheon. 

Our own connection with the company blossomed in 2008 when Raytheon Company was brought on board to modernize the Canadian Navy. The company became part of the team that will divy up the 1.1 billion dollar Halifax Modernization programs, or 4.3 billion dollars if the latest update on the Canadian Defence site is accurate. Raytheon is lauded for expertise in ‘combat systems integration systems’. In translation, their fame rests on finding the best ways to coordinate the technology of killing. In fact, proud to be number one in the industry, Raytheon is a major supplier of weapons to the Saudis

We must chart this uneven territory of morality and economy with the courage to err on the side of giving rather than taking lives. Can we defend the 1400 Canadian jobs Raytheon provides? What if we measure those jobs against another number….the arms sales that have killed more than 100,000 people in Yemen and prolonged the conflict? Should we know who these people are? Should we list their names? We can probably piece some of the information together.

After all, the parents signed permission slips for the children on school buses that blew up. There were wedding invitations that went out or memorial books signed at the funeral services that may have survived the bombs dropped on the gatherings. Bombing buses, weddings, funerals, fishing boats and countless everyday civilians is part of connecting the dots that is not a game anymore. Canadians must firmly confront flaws in their foreign and domestic policies, standing against the continuum of proud boy fascism to Raytheon spin. 

Raytheon claims that it is a ‘global company with a local heart.’ In truth, it is a heartless company that kills globally. 


January 25, the world says no to war on Yemen! Anti-war, Yemeni and humanitarian activists from all over the world are coming together for an international day of action on January 25th 2021. In Halifax, we are targeting arms manufacturer Raytheon. 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, Main Rd and Avenger Place, Shearwater (HRM)

See also: Letter: Sugar coating fighter jets contract for Nova Scotia

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