- The Liberals pledged not to purchase the F-35 fighter jet but, unfortunately, they appear to be doing so now.
- Opposition lawmakers must hold the government accountable for its promise.
The Liberals and PM Justin Trudeau appear to be breaking their promise on the F-35. It is time for opposition parties who lastly opposed the purchase of these fighter jets to press the Liberals on their expensive warplane plans.
According to the Canadian Press, Boeing was recently informed that its Super Hornet had been disqualified from the federal government’s plan to purchase eighty-eight new fighter jets.
However, the Liberal Party’s election platform in 2015 boldly stated, “We will not buy the F-35 stealth fighter-bomber.”
“We will decrease the procurement budget for replacing the CF-18s or instead purchase one of the many, lower-cost options that better meet Canada’s defense needs,” it added.
During the 2015 election, Trudeau stated that the Conservatives were “unhealthily attached to the F-35,” Eight months later, the aircraft was “far from working.”
Since pledging not to buy the F-35, the Liberals have quietly moved to ensure its acquisition is a done deal.
They have paid millions of dollars to remain a part of the F-35 consortium. The federal government quietly paid $90 million in the spring to stay in the F-35 consortium, which provides participating countries with a discount on purchasing the plane and industrial benefits.
In the summer, Neil Young, Sarah Harmer, Tegan, Sara, and authors Yann Martel, Gabor Maté, or Michael Ondaatje employed a public letter opposing the plan to buy “unnecessary, dangerous, climate-destroying fighter jets.” As well, environmentalists David Suzuki and Naomi Klein and two sitting MPs, four former MPs, a senator, and former diplomat Stephen Lewis all signed the No New Fighter Jets for Canada statement.
With the news that Boeing has been ruled out of the fighter jet competition, the Parliamentary Budget Officer must calculate the total lifecycle cost of acquiring 88 F-35s.
The government should also release its estimate from the greenhouse gases that these jets are likely to emit. Finally, it is time for opposition parties to debate in Parliament about the costs, carbon footprint, and anticipated uses of the fighter jets.
Source: Ottawa citizen