The F-35 file has been causing problems for the Conservative government for months now and things aren’t going to be any easier when the House of Commons returns in the fall.
The Ottawa Citizen has found documents that show not only will the fighter jets cost more than the Conservatives were telling Canadians during the 2011 election campaign, they also won’t be ready for delivery before the current jets have to be retired. The documents seem to indicate that the F-35s won’t be ready until at least two years after the CF-18s pass their expiration date.
This means that the government has failed to meet another one of the requirements for the replacement jets as laid out by National Defence for Parliament. It also means that every time the government and DND pushed back against the opposition and assured Canadians that there would be overlap between the two jets, they were lying.
The Prime Minister himself has said that they will ensure that “…our troops have the tools they need to do their work…” Two years without any jets seems like a failure on that level.
The government tried and failed to shut down the committee looking into the F-35 purchase, but whether the promised cost estimates will actually be made available to that committee remains to be seen. The government refused to give any estimate to the House before it rose for the summer saying that all numbers have to be verified and validated.
Government ministers say they are trying to ensure “due diligence” in replacing the CF-18s – that’s due diligence after they got caught playing by their own rules.
We will certainly see ministers traveling around the country this summer, reminding Canadians that we have to support our troops, that the F-35 project will bring money and jobs to Canada (through the aerospace industry) and when there’s real trouble, that this acquisition process was started under the Liberals.
Photo Credit: Leon E Panetta