A report out of the Parliamentary Budget Office on the Harper government’s purchase of new fighter jets is likely to stir some controversy: it estimates the “total ownership cost” of the stealth jets, including maintenance, could hit $29.3-billion (U.S.). This figure is close to 70 per cent above the price tag estimated by the Tories. The report by Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page was an effort to understand the full price of the 65 F-35 Lightning fighter jets, which the Conservatives have agreed to purchase from Lockheed Martin. The Tories have been saying they have found the right plane for Canada, and are sole-sourcing the deal rather than holding an open competition that considers different bids. Page’s report, by contrast, argues that a competitive process would have reduced the costs of the fighters.
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