|F-35: The politics of procurement|
Written by Scott Taylor
The CPAC documentary F-35: The Politics of Procurement, hosted by Scott Taylor and produced by Bill Luxton, will hear from all sides of the debate and get exclusive access to some of the most advanced aerial fighter machines on the planet.
Watch the one-hour investigative television special on CPAC:
Or catch it online with Video on Demand at www.cpac.ca.
SCOTT TAYLOR LOOKS AT THE F-35
To buy or not to buy?
For Canadian defence, this has been key procurement question over the past year. And it’s caused a political firestorm on Parliament Hill and along the campaign trail.
The F-35 Lightning II has been tabbed as the next-generation fighter of choice by
Opposition parties have lambasted the decision to sole-source a multi-billion deal without an open competition. A parade of ministers, bureaucrats, and military experts went before parliamentary committees this winter to justify or condemn the plan.
Scott Taylor, publisher of Esprit de Corps magazine and a noted military journalist, has returned to CPAC with a documentary that explores the procurement process and the arguments for and against moving forward with the F-35 program.
In F-35: The Politics of Procurement, supporters point to the jet’s superior stealth capability. Skeptics wonder why Canadian national security requires such a fighter.
The price tag on the F-35 purchase remains the major point of contention. The Department of National Defence has forecast a total cost of $16 to $18 billion for the 65 jets, which would begin arriving in 2016.
The cost estimate per plane in July 2010 was $75 million. This spring the U.S. Government Accountability Office put the figure at $110 to $115 million. And
Questions also remain about how many F-35s the British will buy, as the Cameron government commits to greater fiscal austerity. Other JSF partners have delayed a final decision.
The fewer jets purchased, the higher cost per plane for other JSF nations, according to
Stephen Harper, Peter MacKay, and other Conservatives have pointed to
The Conservatives remain committed to the program, arguing in their election platform that: “it was and is the best option for
Harper has said increasing production costs in the
Meanwhile, the Liberals have promised to cancel the purchase and hold an open competition. Michael Ignatieff has said the F-35’s rising costs would cut into future government spending on health care.
The NDP would also halt the process and review the F-35 as part of a defence policy review.