October 21, 2015

Canada likely to drop purchase of 65 F-35 jets and save C$56-126 billion

Canada's Prime Minister Elect Justin Trudeau vowed in September during the election campaign to open a fresh competition to replace Canada's aging fighter jets, rather than continuing with the F-35 program. Justin Trudeau has also pledged to put a stop to his country's role in bombing Islamic State targets in strife-torn Syria, where the Australian air force recently commenced operations, as well as Iraq.

The development of the F-35 has been dogged by controversy and claims it will not measure up against the latest Russian and Chinese fighter jets, although officials insist the plane is state-of-the-art.

On 16 July 2010, the Government of Canada under Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced its intention to buy 65 F-35s to replace the Canadian Forces' existing 80 CF-18s.

A 2014 independent report warned that the true price tag would be least C$10-billion higher for a total of C$56-billion. Under the worst-case scenario, the report by University of British Columbia academic Michael Byers predicted, the full lifetime bill for Canada's F-35 Lightning jets would hit C$126-billion – about $81-billion higher than Ottawa’s working estimate of C$45.8-billion.

The Liberal fiscal plan is to run short-term deficit of about C$10 billion for each of the first three years and then a balanced budget by the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

Canada has an annual military budget of about C$20 billion.

Canada has very little military even for a country of its economic size and population. Australia spends about A$32 billion (C$30 billion)and has 65% of the population of Canada. Canada spends less than half per capita on defense than Australia.

SOURCES- Sydney morning herald, Wikipedia, Globe and Mail

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