We will likely be buying 65 F-35 Fighter Jets from Lockheed Martin for $9 billion. Yes you read that right. After the immense criticism that Stephen Harper faced two years ago, he announced an 18 month review of the purchase. Those 18 months have passed, and the purchase is poised to take place.
Three sources close to the project report that the final decision of the review board is for the feds to not go through another competition process, and just approve the $9 billion purchase. Who needs competition anyways, conservatives hate economic competition. While the review board can only make a recommendation, Harper and his cabinet are likely to approve the project, given their previously expressed support.
Two years ago the government faced increasing pressure from all sides given the cost of the project (estimated to be as high as $45 billion) and the lack of competition in the process to select the fighter jets. They originally said it was going to be a measly $9 billion, and it turned out to be $45 billion. That’s what happened in 2012. This is eerie.
All this is to replace the aging CF-18 hornets, which are expected to expire by 2017-2020. It is worth noting that in 1997, 2002, and in 2006, Canada signed memorandums of understanding with Lockheed Martin setting the terms of any purchases.
So these old jets need to go, but the process was certainly lacking. Maybe it’s time for something like a renewal of the Avro Arrow, or at least encouraging the development of new Canadian aircraft to protect us for generations. The Arrow’s first flight, 56 years ago, was hailed as a massive success, but when the United States no longer wanted to buy it, Diefenbaker axed the project. Now, just a few short decades later, we are at the mercy of the American aerospace industry for anywhere between 9 and 45 billion dollars, instead of the other way around.
Canada is the country of the Canadarm, Bombardier, and countless other innovations in aerospace and engineering. For us to continue to blindly support American contractors while suppressing Canadian ones at home is not just an insult to Canadians, but to dignity. Also, that we played this exact same game two years ago is just kind of scary
The revival of this F-35 deal is likely to spark a political scandal the likes of which Canada has never seen, except for when the exact same thing happened in 2012. Instead, how about we let Canada fly?
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