On May 29, 2017, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said in a statement in the House of Commons regarding the procurement of fighter jets: “Yes, there were options for buying old ones. No, we do not want to buy used equipment; we want to invest in new planes.”
This week, media reported that the Trudeau government will announce that instead of purchasing new F-18 fighter jets, Canada will be acquiring old, used Australian F-18s as they are phased out of service and being replaced by the F-35 – “an aircraft that doesn’t work and is far from working”, as the PM has said.
According to a recent Senate report, “The interim fighter jet replacement plan is a political decision that does not serve the interest of the Royal Canadian Air Force or Canadian taxpayers. This decision may cost from $5-7 billion and will limit our air force’s ability to be fully interoperable within NORAD and NATO. The committee is very concerned that 13 former Royal Canadian Air Force generals have come forward and publicly questioned the government’s decision. The committee views these concerns as very credible.”
The Trudeau government have completely mismanaged this file from the beginning. As a matter of transparency, the Senate Conservative Caucus raised concerns regarding total cost and timeline to replace the current CF-18s, including when the purchase will begin and how long it will last.
We are concerned that the Trudeau government is trying to avoid their obligations. Our men and women in uniform deserve better.