Have the Liberals cut a secret deal on the F35-JSF?
The F35-JSF has a long and sordid history in Canada. Back in 2012 Harper’s defense minister Peter MacKay tried to jam it through to approval. Fortunately, the Auditor General caught him with his numbers down. MacKay also tried to bypass the usual open competition for such procurements.
As a result of the ensuing controversy, and strong public opposition, the Conservatives buried the decision until after the 2015 election. The Liberals have now picked up where the Conservatives left-off. Even though PM Justin Trudeau stated unequivocally the F35-JSF would not be purchased by any government he led; it is still in the competition! The Liberals have once again deferred the decision until after the 2019 election.
Governments, most conspicuously ours, willfully ignore the checkered history of the F35. It is the largest and most costly weapons program ever undertaken. Its manufacturer Lockheed-Martin has over a trillion dollars invested in it, a lot of which is public money. It has come close to cancellation more than once courtesy of US Senator John McCain, one of its sharpest critics. There is no shortage of expert opinion willing to denounce the F35-JSF as an over-priced and under-performing, “ flying piano.”
It is very odd the Canadian government insists on buying into its very pricey stealth capability where none- exists. The F35-JSF has been under development for so long (since the 1980’s) it has been rendered obsolete by new types of radar. There are advanced missile systems now whose comparative costs are minuscule that can blow it out of the sky. Its predecessor, the F-22, a very similar aircraft, made by the same manufacturer, was canceled because of huge cost overruns. It is very much a “hangered” aircraft as its replacement cost is so high the USAF hesitates to use them. The same will no doubt apply to the F35-JSF.
NATO vassal states serve to fight American Wars. They also serve as a captive market for oversold and under-performing weaponry. Countries like Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands can hardly afford to take on the cost of running and maintaining such a high-cost aircraft. Even so, they have been coerced into doing so.
Excessive secrecy is an affliction governments suffer today. While there is obviously some need for secrecy, too much occurs to hide, incompetence, corruption, and deceptions. The present Liberal government clearly has information it wants blocked from public scrutiny. It has booted a decision on the F35-JSF past yet another election.
Furthermore, it has required all 200 personnel involved in the procurement to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements(NDAs). These bar them from ever revealing information on the acquisition.
At a time when this government is breaking one election promise after another, their actions regarding the F-35 appear to be yet another. These can only be construed as a tacit admission they are going to buy, or have already secretly agreed to buy, this defunct overpriced lemon.
This procurement is long past buying the right aircraft for our purposes. It has everything to do with coercing as many buyers as possible into saving the manufacturer’s profit margins. It is another bail-out; pure and simple.
It is an uproarious irony that this government is resorting to stealth to buy an aircraft, claiming to be stealth, but is not. It is prepared to squander billions of taxpayer dollars on an aircraft that is defunct before its time and has had searing criticism from politicians, experts, and the public.
Canadians should be demanding an unequivocal rejection of the F-35. Now!
What do you think?