The fighter jet follies, again / another tangled web

A report by Lee Berthiaume on CTV News says that “Canada is being forced to shoulder a bigger share of the costs of developing F-35 fighter jets even though it 1024px-lockheed_martin_f-35_lightning_ii_mock-up_04has not decided whether it will actually buy any … [because] … Canada is one of nine partner countries in the F-35 project … [Canada joined the F-35 project, back in the late 1990s, when Jean Chrétien was prime minister, and] … each of which is required to cover a portion of the stealth fighter’s multibillion-dollar development costs to stay at the table.

In 2010 Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government announced plans to buy 65 F-35 fighters and, since then, Canada’s share of the project was based on that number. Mr Berthiaume repots that “Each country pays based on the number of F-35s it’s expecting to buy. Canada has pitched in more than half-a-billion dollars over the last 20 years, including $54 million last year … [but, he explains, as I said] … that amount was based on the Stephen Harper government’s plan to buy 65 new fighter jets to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s, which the Trudeau government has since officially increased to 88 … [when it fabricated a phoney ‘capability gap‘ in a now aborted scheme to buy 4th generation Super Hornets from Boeing instead of the 5th generation Lightening II fighters from Lockheed, and] … Even though Canada has not committed that those 88 jets will be F-35s, the Department of National Defence says that change means it will have to pay more to remain a partner — including about $72 million this year.

The reports goes on to say that “The Trudeau government says it plans to keep Canada in the F-35 development effort until a replacement for the CF-18s is chosen — partners in the development work can buy the planes at a lower price and compete for work associated with their production and long-term maintenance … [that makes good sense, and] … Canadian companies have so far won more than $1.2 billion in contracts related to the F-35, according to the government … [which is also a good thing, but] … The F-35 is one of four planes slated to participate in the $19-billion competition that the government plans to launch this spring … [and] … The competition isn’t scheduled to select a winner until 2021 or 2022, meaning Canada will be on the hook for several more payments. The first new aircraft is expected in 2025 and the last in 2031, when the CF-18s will be phased out.

So, we Canadians, are going to end up paying hundreds of millions more for a fighter than we may not even buy just to cover-up the glaring incompetence of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ~ who promised, in 2015, that Canada would NOT buy the F-35 ~ and his political advisors.

The whole Liberal CF-18 replacement project is one long, sad litany of lies and now the bills must be paid by already overburdened taxpayers … “Oh, what a tangled when we weave, when first we practice to deceive,” as my late Grandmother used to remind me.


Published by Ted Campbell

Old, retired Canadian soldier, Conservative ~ socially moderate, but a fiscal hawk. A husband, father and grandfather. Published material is posted under the "Fair Dealing" provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act for the purposes of research, private study and education.

2 thoughts on “The fighter jet follies, again / another tangled web

  1. Agree with his policies, or not, Chrétien was a very astute politician. He had a very thorough understanding of how to play this ‘game’ we call politics. The F-35 project was conceived to be a modern way of developing / acquiring sophisticated military aircraft. Although led by the United States it was to be a collaborative effort involving nine partner countries. As the majority of our close military allies were signing on to the program Canada would been very obvious as the sole holdout. The Chrétien Goverment paid the entry fee and signed on. Canada has been paying the membership fee every year since. Membership has its privileges and in return Canadian industry has received more than double the yearly fee in associated contracts. Chrétien knew that signing on with the original partners would let Canada participate in all the benefits of the program, but any decision involving actually purchasing the aircraft would be long past his tenure as Prime Minister.

    Prime Minister Harper came close to following through with a Canadian purchase of the aircraft, but unfortunately with a Federal election on the horizon his Goverment lost their nerve. Trudeau seized upon the narrow focussed media stories of the day and made ” we will never buy the F-35″ a major part of his election platform. Now that Trudeau is prime minister Canada is backed in to a very tight corner.

    As original partner countries, plus additional countries, are now in the process of acquiring the aircraft are they having back room discussions as to whether Canada remains a trusted or beneficial partner to the program? Lockheed continues to encourage Canada to remain as a partner in the program, are they assuming that Canada will eventually purchase at least a token number of F-35 aircraft? At some time, in the near future, will the original partners begin to openly question Canada’s share of the project contracts? The value of current contracts, awarded to Canadian companies, is more than double the fees that Canada has paid. When the Canadian Prime Minister proclaims that Canada will never purchase the F-35 why is Canada still eligible to receive contracts on the manufacture of aircraft for other partners? Honestly if the situation was reversed would Canada not have the same questions?

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