How Much Are Those Jets? Harper Government to Shut Down Committee Hearings

It is widely believed that the Harper Conservatives lied about their knowledge of the cost of purchasing F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin during the 2011 campaign. Once accused of knowing and hiding the actually costing — and the $20 billion difference from what they had been quoting — the Tories have come up with myriad reasons as to why their numbers differed and what they knew when.

Now the government is moving to shut down the committee hearings where witnesses have been called in to discuss Auditor General Michael Ferguson’s report that the government knew about the real, full costs of the F-35 and hid it. During the 2011 campaign, the Tories told Canadians that the jets would cost $16 billion, but the Parliamentary Budget Officer, Kevin Page, put out a report saying it seemed closer to $25 billion to him for “full lifecycle costs.” After Kevin Page challenged their numbers, the Conservatives said the acquisition costs would be $9 billion and the 20 year “sustainment” costs would be $5.7 billion. He was attacked — as is the norm with this government. Page has also said there seem to be two sets of books for the F-35 purchase, a departmental set and a PR set.

When the AG report came out and concurred with the PBO about the costs, the Minister of Defense and Associate Minister of Defense indicated that their number of $16 billion was for the jets themselves and didn’t include these ‘full life cycle costs,’ which includes gas, maintenance, etc. Why they didn’t make that argument when attacking the PBO we’ll never know. Possibly it is because Treasury Board guidelines require the full projection of life-cycle costs.

The motion to put an end to the hearings, like many of the happenings at Parliamentary Committees these days, was introduced while the committee was in camera. The motion called for an end to witness testimony and the start of the report writing stage.

If the committee is successfully shut down, they will have had seven hours of testimony, which is a little more than $3.5 billion an hour. Conservative MP Andrew Saxton said that the government feels they’ve delved deep enough into the issue.

The opposition says this attempted shut down just proves that the government has something to hide:

“To shut this committee down is a scandal,” said Gerry Byrne, a Liberal MP on the public accounts committee. “It means the government is desperate to hide something.”

Since the Tories have told multiple stories about the F-35 costs and whether or not there is a contract, agreement or understanding, it’s hard to figure out who knows the truth.

Related Stories:

Government Watchdog Slams Canadian Fighter Jet Purchase

U.S. Military Spending Almost Equals Rest Of The World Combined

The US Spends Six Times More on Military Than China

Photo Credit: Secretary of Defense


Richard Hyde
Richard Hyde5 years ago

I hope every person who voted Conservative in the 2011 election will look at themselves in the mirror and say " not the next time".

Sharon M.
Sharon M.5 years ago

Ask a fighter pilot. I did. They'll tell you that these planes will not be operational by the end of one year of our taking them. IF we take them. These aircraft are more suited to desert warfare. Is harper thinking of moving our base from Kandahar to control the oil fields of the middle east? just wondering because they sure aren't suited to Canada. Sneaky, sneaky little man, time for you to go.
The lies surrounding this salel are more than enough to shut this deal down. We can look at other aircraft and another pm. Time to mobilize Canadians and go camping on Parliament Hill before the summer break. 'Someone' will hide and prorogue instead of face us. Out, out damn spot.

Gerald Landry
Gerald L5 years ago

We do need a new fleet of fighter jets, BUT if the single engine F-35 is not suited for cold weather operation why are they committed to it ? Or is it an affinity club purchase from Lockheed Martin, much like they were contracted to do our last Census. If an 80 year old woman can land a twin engine plane with one failed engine in WI after her husband died this winter. How can we ignore safety of our Air Force pilots. Must we buy from Harpers buddies, because the Pentagon wanted us to buy into this commitment, a prototype yet unproven.

Good Cost Plus R&D project without our consent, but as harperland has the audacity to squander a 55 billion EI surplus, then double the EI premiums, then now propose to squeeze claimants making it more difficult to collect, when the premium is paid by workers.
Well it seems obvious with all his disguised taxes and reduced services how he plans on paying for his new tonka toys. Why 2 months ago they were proposing to close 100 EI offices, and how many Federal government jobs have been slashed ? Planned poverty will make subservient slaves. Bah Bah !

Can we stop him ?

John R.
John R5 years ago

Everything the State says is a lie and everything it has it has stolen--Friedrich Nietzsch

Leslea Herber
Leslea Herber5 years ago

HINT. It's not that Canadians "believe" that Harper and his cronies lied. WE HAVE PROOF HE DID! That's not belief. That's KNOWLEDGE.

This warmongering sack of crap is the WORST thing to happen to Canada, ever. Bar none. He'll see more of our soldiers killed in pointless wars, than died in WW2 for a just one!

Neil A.
Neil A5 years ago

This F35 is a white elephant trying to do too many different things & probably not good at any of them & the foolish UK is buying this overpriced "boys toys" Stop wasting this taxpayers money to support a relatively few jobs in the OFFENCE industry, so utterly stupid.

Darlene Buckingham

The Canadian government has become a dishonest disgrace. I hope that integrity and truth will return to our planet real soon or we are going to poison ourselves slowly or blow ourselves up. To truth and peace.

Thomas F.
Tom F5 years ago

Canada is really just like Amerika.

darlene r.
darlene r5 years ago

CROOKS, This government is one of the sneakiest and incompetent we have had.

Vicky Pitchford
Vicky P5 years ago

of course he is, just like he shuts down every other debate.