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Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 11 months ago


Shared in accordance with the "fair dealing" provisions, Section 29, of the Copyright Act.


It's high time the money-guzzling Snowbirds flew off into the sunset

''W.P. Kinsella, The Province (Vancouver), 14 Aug 06


The more things change, the more they stay the same. The Snowbirds Aerobatic Team is a wasteful, ongoing drain of our Canadian tax dollars.


They have a $10-million budget (not including aircraft) that would be better spent on something useful.


The Snowbirds have been around for 35 years. Their predecessors were The Golden Hawks, created in 1959 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of powered flight.


They were discontinued in 1964, revived as the Golden Centennaires in 1967, and later became the Snowbirds, before Anne Murray recorded the song.


In 1966, I wrote an editorial for the Edmonton Journal, titled, "It's a Height of Foolishness to Bring Back the Golden Hawks." So little has changed over the last 40 years that most of the statements in that column are still applicable today.


The Snowbirds and their predecessors have lost at least 13 planes over the years, with numerous others being damaged, resulting in four or more deaths.


This loss of life and equipment only serves to prove that the whole operation has been a gigantic failure. But when has that ever stopped a government boondoggle?


Lawyer and former colonel Michael Drapeau said in 2004 in reference to the Snowbirds: "It's a luxury, and I think the time has come to . . .possibly do without."


Recently, near Mossbank, Saskatchewan, a Snowbirds aerobatics jet crashed into a field on the way to an air show. In December, 2004, a Snowbirds pilot died after a mid-air collision during a training session.


They do approximately 70 air shows a year at 50 locations, and at one time must have endangered the lives of half the population of Canada.


What is the appeal? Why would anyone want to endure the ear-splitting thunder of terminally low-flying aircraft?


I was delighted to read recently that, because of airport expansion, the lifespan of the Abbotsford Air Show may be limited. The show ties up traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway for a whole weekend. The exploits are highly dangerous when performed over populated areas.


If they must perform, it should where no innocent lives are endangered.


Canada has been fortunate not to have suffered a major disaster by having a jet loaded with fuel crash into the crowds of up to 100,000 that gather to watch their performances, as happened in Germany a few years ago.


I suspect a high percentage of spectators are ghouls hoping to witness a devastating accident.


I'd suggest writing your MP, but that's what I did back in 1966. I am still waiting for a reply. In 40 years nothing has changed except the name of this frivolous, mock entertainment group. And the Canadian military is still pouring hundreds of millions of our dollars down the drain.


Contact W.P. Kinsella at

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