Ten reasons the F-35 stealth fighter is wrong for Canada

| March 3, 2011
Ten reasons the F-35 stealth fighter is wrong for Canada

Today ceasefire.ca launches a petition against the purchast of F-35 stealth fighters for the Canadian military. Check out the petition by clicking here or use the nifty form below, and read 10 plus one great reasons to sign.

1. The F-35 is for "shock and awe" combat missions

Its stealth capability and weapons are intended for U.S.-style first strike attacks, a role Canada does not need to play.

2. The F-35 is way too expensive

According to National Defence's estimates, the cost of purchasing 65 U.S.-built F-35 stealth fighters is between $16 and $21 billion -- the most expensive military project in Canadian history.

3. The government's finances are in bad shape

The annual federal deficit is expected to reach $56 billion this year, and cuts to social programs are expected.

4. The F-35 is ill suited for the arctic

Its stealth characteristic is not needed, and only one engine instead of two puts pilots at risk of being stranded in the far north by an engine failure.

5. Little, if any, of the $16 billion will stay in Canada

Unlike previous military contracts, in this one the Harper government has not required the U.S. manufacturer Lockheed Martin to invest "dollar-for-dollar" in Canada.

6. It is costing Canada job opportunities

Buying any other aircraft would allow the government to require "Industrial and Regional Benefits." Instead, the Harper Conservatives just hope we'll get contracts from Lockheed Martin.

7. The F-35 is still a model airplane

The F-35 is still being tested and production is years behind schedule, leaving operating and maintenance costs completely unknown.

8. There was no competition

In a sweetheart deal, the Harper Conservatives committed to Lockheed Martin rather than inviting other firms to put in proposals, increasing the cost by an estimated 20 per cent.

9. There is no hurry to replace our CF-18s

Canada's current fleet of CF-18s just completed a $2.6 billion upgrade, and could easily remain in service until the mid-2020s.

10. There is no Russian arctic threat

NORAD's U.S. commander said he sees no military challengers in the arctic, and he is focused on preventing another 9/11 type of attack.

PLUS There is no contract to break

Despite the government's commitment to Lockheed Martin's F-35 stealth fighter, there is no signed contract and therefore no firm price expected until 2013, or even later.

 

Steven Staples is the President of the Rideau Institute, an independent research, advocacy and consulting group in Ottawa. He is also author of Missile Defence: Round One.

 

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