Thursday, September 2, 2010

Conservatives and Liberals: Back to the F-35 Again

Well I talked about the whole F-35 purchase issue over a month ago. It looks like it's back in the news again. Same old same old. Conservatives for it, leftists against it. Seems that the (dis)loyal opposition are starting to get their talking points in order.

Tories-Liberals strafe each other over jets:

Thu Sep 2, 12:40 AM

By Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - The economic and diplomatic strings attached to Ottawa's multi-billion dollar deal to buy the F-35 stealth fighters would make it extremely painful — if not impossible — for a future government to unravel or cut, senior Conservatives insisted Wednesday.

Unlike the EH-101 helicopter deal axed in the mid-1990s by Jean Chretien's Liberal government, the pending agreement to purchase 65 new interceptors for the air force is a more complex arrangement that carries important risks to Canadian industry and the country's standing among allies.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the Opposition Liberals understand the significance and the nuances of the plans almost as much as the government.

"I don't understand why the Opposition is playing political games with this," Harper said at an aerospace announcement in Montreal.

"It was the Liberal government that in 2002 committed Canada to the development of this aircraft."

The announcement Wednesday saw the federal government pour $467 million into the country's current fleet of CF-18 jets to keep them flying until 2017.

When Chretien cancelled the $4.8-billion replacement for the air force's geriatric Sea Kings in 1994, he ripped up one contract with European Helicopter Industries Ltd, an Anglo-Italian consortium. It cost taxpayers $500 million in cancellation fees.

Tearing up — or putting on hold — the F-35 Lightning II plan would be far more costly.

It could endanger Canadian defence contractors, who've already won $375 million worth of work on the planes, anger allied nations already committed to buying the planes and waste hundreds of millions of dollars under existing agreements signed as far back as 1997.[snip]

The article goes into further details about how it is extremely difficult to cancel this purchase contract. Of course there is still a lot of screaming and yelling about the costs and lack of putting this purchase up for tender.

I also like how the Liberals were responsible for the original set up. Seems they are only against a good idea if they didn't come up with it in the first place.

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