This was an interesting exchange.
Bob Rae. Mr. Speaker, on the subject of electoral fraud, the Prime Minister, on April 8, 2011, in the middle of the election campaign, talked about the F-35 contract. He said, “the contract we’ve signed shelters us from any increase in those kinds of costs. We’re very confident of our cost estimates”. His ministers are telling us now that there is no contract, that there is no assurance with respect to cost and, in fact, that signing a contract is a matter of if and when. Was the Prime Minister telling the truth when he spoke to the people of Canada on April 8, 2011, about a so-called contract, yes or no?
Stephen Harper. Mr. Speaker, this is a matter of public record. At the time, I was referring to a memorandum of understanding. It has not been a secret that the government has not signed a contract. The fact is our country does not pay any increase on the development cost. That is the arrangement. It is also a fact that we have provisioned in our budget funds for future aircraft and we are prepared to live within that budget.
This has to do with the “realistic” and “forthright” musings of Julian Fantino.
And now, turning back to December 13, 2010, a moment in Commons history.
Mr. Ignatieff shook both his hands in Mr. MacKay’s direction, nearly pleading with the Defence Minister. “I defy the Minister of National Defence to tell the Canadian people what this plane will actually cost,” he begged. “No number the government presents on this issue is credible.” As if to taunt the leader of the opposition, the Defence Minister stood to assert the existence of a “contract” that commits Canada to buy 65 new warplanes at a cost of $9-billion.
“You’re making it up!” mocked Ralph Goodale from his frontbench seat. “You have no contract!” And indeed, by at least one report, it will be perhaps three more years before such a binding commitment exists.