While digging around for something else this week, I happened to come across the following pronouncement from December 2010.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has said if his party forms a government, they would ditch the multibillion-dollar deal and open up a competitive bidding process to find the most cost-effective replacement for the country’s aging CF-18s. Prime Minister Stephen Harper says that would jeopardize the lives of air force personnel and jobs in Canada’s aerospace industry.
Officials with two European companies told the Commons defence committee this week that their respective companies could provide a plane that would be suitable to Canada’s needs. But MacKay said that is simply not an option. He said the previous Liberal government committed Canada to the Joint Strike Fighter project nearly a decade ago, and the current Conservative government isn’t about to turn back the clock. ”If we don’t buy this aircraft now … it’s like hitting restart,” he said. “We would have to go back, lose our preferred place in the production line. ”We have made our decision. We are firm in pursuing this course of action and purchasing this aircraft, which will accrue maximum benefits to the air force, the aerospace industry and to Canada.”
A few days later, Mr. MacKay was in the House and referred to the existence of an “actual contract.”
Of course, Mr. MacKay’s assertion of a decision and reference to a contract predate this spring, since which the government—in hopes of clearing up any “misunderstanding“—has strived to be quite clear that no decision has been made and no contract has been signed.