On account of this, two previous appeals to clarity as it pertains to the F-35.
October 27, 2010
Jack Layton. Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister cannot accept the Auditor General’s recommendations and then refuse to implement them. That does not make sense. The Auditor General warned that the systemic mismanagement she observed is going to mean cuts in the operational support for our armed forces. This is a serious matter. Will the government abide by the recommendations of the Auditor General, which would mean putting a stop to its plan to implement a sole-source contract for the purchase of the F-35, or is it going to repeat the helicopter boondoggle?
Stephen Harper. Mr. Speaker, these are two different matters. Of course the government will act on the recommendations vis-à-vis the helicopter situation. There has been a process in place for this since the days of the previous Liberal government. The leader of the NDP, however, should not pretend for a moment that he is raising these concerns on behalf of the military. The military has been absolutely clear about the need here. This is simply coalition politics playing games with military contracts, against what the entire aerospace industry and the entire defence establishment realize is necessary. The government is going to proceed.
November 17, 2010
Michael Ignatieff. Mr. Speaker, we are indeed listening to the aerospace industry. They are saying that there would be more economic and industrial spinoffs with a competitive bidding process. I have done a lot of town halls this year. The Prime Minister does not hold open town halls, but if he did, he would listen to Canadians. What Canadians are saying is this does not make sense. We cannot persuade a small business person across the country that it makes sense to buy 16 billion dollars’ worth of equipment without a competitive bid. We would not run a small business like that, so we cannot run the Department of National Defence that way. How can the Prime Minister stand and assure business people across the—
Stephen Harper. Once again, Mr. Speaker, there was a competitive process held under the previous government to choose this plane. In fact, the Government of Canada, under the previous government, has funded the development of this aircraft. What are we to do when the CF-18 reaches the end of its useful life: simply ground the air force or spend more money on a second set of planes? The government’s position is clear. It is straightforward. The opposition is simply playing politics with the lives of air force members and with jobs in the Canadian aerospace industry.