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Looks like Christmas came early for Canadian taxpayers: the news leaked that the much-criticized F-35 military jet purchase has been cancelled. The first order should be for Canada to use the money to buy back its once-pristine international reputation. Should $40B not suffice, Canadians might contemplate how the PM could spend the cash!
Rumours are swirling around Ottawa that the F-35 aircraft purchase is dead. Is it? No one knows just yet, but it would be a shock to see the Conservative government move away from its defense of this much maligned purchase.Either way, this fighter is proving very costly both in a dollar value and in lost political capital for the Conservatives.Certainly if the Conservatives cancel the F-35 program there will be considerable political blow back with the opposition parties shouting "I told you so."
It is worth noting that last week the government updated a policy initiative which is neither conservative nor partisan. Canada's Open Government Action Plan is a mildly impressive document which could be the foundation for dramatically improved information sharing and citizen engagement.
The F-35s are single engine planes. Asked what will happen if the engine fails, Peter MacKay replied, "It won't." We need planes for search and rescue. The F-35 is not appropriate for search and rescue.
The DND released information on the total cost of the program but failed to include billions of dollars in long term costs, a significant item. Who made the decision to release inadequate information? Did no one object internally? When the minister used these released figures, did no one in the department red flag it for the minister to say the number was not completely accurate?