Conservatives defend sole-sourced $16B jet purchase to replace CF-18s

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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Ottawa -

The Harper government is confirming it will spend $16 billion for the latest generation of fighter jets from Lockheed Martin.
But the government is fending off complaints that making one of the biggest military purchases in Canadian history without a single competing bid is a waste of taxpayer money.
The Liberals and a former public servant who once headed the purchase project say the massive F-35 Joint Strike Fighter purchase should have been subjected to competitive bids.
The total value of the contract is expect to rival the amount spent by the Conservatives four years ago when they rolled out a series of high-profile military purchases of transport planes, helicopters and armoured trucks.
The 65 new jets would replace the Air Force's aging fleet of CF-18s that recently underwent a $2.6 billion upgrade.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay had assured Parliament there would be a competitive process for the selection of new planes, but cabinet decided to go with an untendered contract.
The government committed $9 billion to buy the 65 planes from Lockheed Martin, and the first aircraft is to be delivered by 2016, said a statement from the Defence Department.
But the overall cost is expected to soar to $16 billion when a 20-year maintenance contract is factored in.
"We're very pleased with the decision and are committed to supporting the government of Canada in moving forward with the F-35 Program Integration," Lockeed Martin executive vice president Tom Burbage said in a statement.

Organizations: Defence Department

Geographic location: Ottawa, Canada

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Recent comments

  • Fed Up Bureaucrat in Ottawa
    July 22, 2010 - 09:38

    Treasury Board policies for procurement, even sole sourcing procurement, were not followed for this contract. The Liberal critic for Treasury Board, St. John's MP Siobhan Coady has been completely silent on this issue. Not one word. So, readers of The Telegram should be looking locally as they complain about this contract. Your representative who is responsible to be a watchdog for her party on this file is absent.

  • Politically Incorrect
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    $18 billion dollars for a handful of jets seems wasteful.

    We simply do not have the same military industrial complex that afflicts our neighbours to the south. They have been forced to close schools due to funding shortages, but still increase military spending every year.

    Is that the road we want Canada to follow?

  • Justin
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    $9 to $18 Billion dollars on war toys? really? What are they for? Defending Canada against whom? The US? Russia? Suicide bombers blowing up busses in rush hour?

    Let's just imagine what $9 to $18 Billion dollars could do to, let's say, oh, health care / education / fight against homelessness / the environment / small business incentives / infrastructure maintenance / job security / cancer research / daycare spaces / community building / parks / road safety / transportation / pension funds / tourism / space exploration / sport programs / youth programs / law enforcement / communication infrastructure / renewable energy ...

    Is this the kind of restraintg Harpo is always crowing about? Hypocrite!