A lot of people, including Conservative shadow defence minister James Bezan and Conservative shadow foreign minister Erin O’Toole are highly critical of the Trudeau regime’s decision to buy a few used, 30 year old Australian F-18s to augment our fighter fleet while they, the Trudeau Liberals conduct a slow, even stately review of our requirements and then conduct an open and transparent competition ~ that’s what they promised, after all ~ that will, I assume, somehow manage to exclude the F-35 ~ because they promised not to buy it ~ and, presumably, one that excludes Boeing products ~ because, according to an article in the Globe and Mail, “Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough said. “Bidders responsible for harming Canada’s economic interests will be at a distinct disadvantage compared to bidders who aren’t engaged in detrimental behaviour.”” That’s a lot of promises to keep for something between 65 and 90 airplanes. Even the media gets in the act …
… but former Chief of the Defence Staff General (retired) Tom Lawson says that it is, in fact, a prudent move, but that’s because he understands that the Liberals
want plan to do nothing at all until well after the 2019 election. The Liberal defence procurement policy is to just wish that it would all go away.
I agree, in some measure, with General Lawson because:
- The Liberals plan to do nothing for as long as they can get away with it. I do not believe Minister Qualtrough when she says that the Liberals plan to start a competition in “early 2019.” See my remarks, below, about the timeline for a Conservative government … add two or three years and you’ll understand the Liberal “plan. The Liberals believe they will be in power until 2023 … that’s when they plan to announce a new fighter jet;”
- They right plan, for Canada, would be to upgrade and life extend the CF-18s, as the Conservatives planned to do while they held a competition for a replacement ~ that would be cheaper and better than buying used jets but the Liberals cannot afford to be seen to resurrect yet another Stephen Harper plan, just because it makes sense; and
- The open and transparent competition will be rigged by the Liberals if they remain in power and we will be getting a European generation 4.5 fighter, not an American 5th generation aircraft.
If we elect a Conservative government in 2019 thenI do expect a full, open and fair competition, but it will take two years for them to make a decision and sign a contract ~ so we will not see a contract until, say late 2021 at the earliest, more likely mid 2022 and first delivery will not be until sometime beyond 2023 ~ our CF-18 fleet must endure until well after 2025 … we took delivery of the CF-18 in the mid 1980s so they will have to have had a service life of about 40 years, that’s a long time for an aircraft to fly with reasonable safety.
Canada has NATO and NORAD commitments that require us to have a workable jet fighter fleet. the Liberals have, totally and completely, screwed up this project: left, right and sideways ~ they, Justin Trudeau, Harjit Sajjan and Carla Qualtrough appear to be either bungling nincompoops or (I almost hate to say this) bald faced liars, possibly both … no other explanations seem to match their performance. But they are the bungling nincompoops we elected and so the “new” used, 30 years old Australian F-18s are the least dumb (and most honest) thing they have done on this file this year.