Justin Trudeau defends plan to scrap procurement of F-35s

Experts say deal would cost taxpayers about $44 billion over the four-decade lifespan of the Lockheed Martin jets.


TORONTO — Canada has no obligation to purchase F-35 fighter planes, Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau said Monday, but he wouldn’t confirm that Canadians won’t be on the hook for any costs associated with his promise to cancel plans to buy the jets.

Trudeau said there is no contract requiring Canada to purchase any F-35s and that it no longer makes sense — if it ever did — to buy the planes when there are others that can be purchased for less.

“A Liberal government actually engaged in the international development process (on the F-35s) and as such got a certain amount of jobs here in Canada (but) part of that agreement is that there was no obligation for Canada to actually purchase F-35s,” Trudeau said in downtown Toronto during a town-hall style event with supporters.

Trudeau said Conservative Leader Stephen Harper needs to explain fully why the country needs the F-35, which experts say would cost taxpayers about $44 billion over the four-decade lifespan of the Lockheed Martin jets.

“I think everyone was as surprised as I was to hear the prime minister recommit Canada to the F-35,” Trudeau said. “This is a real disappointment and I think the prime minister has some real explaining to do as to why he still thinks the F-35 is the only plane suitable for Canada.”

Harper has said the Liberals are “living in a dream world” if they think they can halt the F-35 procurement and not run the risk of losing jobs, particularly in the aerospace sector.

Trudeau promised on Sunday to cancel the Conservative plan to purchase the planes and instead buy lower-cost aircraft and invest the savings in vessels for the Royal Canadian Navy.

Harper said Sunday that Canada needs the jet — including its first-strike stealth ability — in order to protect Canadians and help international allies in missions such as the current war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State.


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Justin Trudeau defends plan to scrap procurement of F-35s

    • Even the Americans are running from this expensive, delay plagued, potential lemon.

  1. This is twice now Trudeau and the Grits outflanked Mulcair and the dippers, Trudeau forced Thom’s hand on having to eat Harper budget and now he has to eat Harpers F-35 boondoggle. So I ask Thom, who’s the inexperienced one, while your were moving to the right, Trudeau threw a few bones at you and you took the bait, and now JT is controlling your space. Looks like Trudeau caught both Harper and Mulcair flatfooted on this one. This could be a real winner for the liberals, we can’t afford these nightmare F-35’s anyway, these were being priced out when oil prices were higher and the dollar was higher, this could end up doubling or tripling in costs after all is said and done.

    • Looks like the Trudeau strategists have a plan to try and set the agenda daily as the campaign hits the final weeks.

      • That’s why they saved their policy until the writ was dropped, so they could strategize every page of it, to outflank their opponents and Trudeau’s confidence levels have improved enough to sell it. I think the best is yet to come, more social policy, like Healthcare, Pharmacare, Dying with Dignity, and these are the ones I would like to see come to fruition, I’m getting older, and feeling these are some of the most important issues that will be facing me.

    • Where is the military experience on the dippers team anyway, to even have a plan in place for procurement? I don’t see a star, or a stripe on the whole NDP team, what kind of experience does Mulcair have with military procurement, was he ever in the Military? You need good, solid and experienced people around you before can make these kind of decisions, because if you want to be PM, you at least need to show you have a good strong team behind you if you want people to trust your credibility. It’s a true sign that says to me, Thom and Dippers are all just gums and no teeth.

    • Wuh?
      He outflanked everyone by announcing he’d replace the f-18s without an open tender process? Kay.

      • There is no tendering process that could see this off the rails bloated project win. He’s being fair. We don’t need this very expensive one engine aircraft with reliability issues.
        For the safety of our pilots in arctic patrol we must have TWO engines.
        One of the other choices is so equipped.
        I think other countries are dropping this f 35 disaster as well.
        I’m sure our intrepid Ottawa media will be on this! NOT!

        • Could be. But without the process you can’t properly compare the costs and capabilities between the F-35 and any of it’s potential replacements.

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