Five fighter jets would be ideal for a province our size. F-35s have stealth capabilities, so we could have used the first two for spy missions over Quebec. This would have given us the leverage to force Quebec to renegotiate the Upper Churchill contract.
The third jet — H’air Force Tree — could have been retrofitted with a passenger seat and used to fly the premier around. Dwight Ball could have a cabinet meeting in the morning, meet the feds in the afternoon, and still be in Deer Lake in time for supper.
We could have used the fourth jet, also retrofitted with a passenger seat, to fly tourists back and forth to Fogo. If you can afford to stay at Zita Cobb’s place, then you can afford to fly there on an F-35. There’s already an airstrip in Fogo. No control tower? No problem. We’ll let someone else figure out the practical bits, like we did with the Bell Island ferry.
We could have given the fifth jet to Danny — not that he needs another motorized toy — if he’d promise to never say “Muskrat Falls” again. A runway in Galway would have been a lot more fun than a wall in Labrador, not to mention a lot cheaper.
Just imagine all of the jobs we would have created in Goose Bay, Stephenville, Deer Lake, Gander and Argentia. We’d need people to fly the jets, refuel the jets and maintain the jets, along with a small army of airport staff. The economic spinoffs would have revitalized our centres of aviation.
At the going rate, our fleet of F-35s would have cost under a billion dollars. We’d still have more than $11 billion left over for operational costs, F-16s, destroyers, drones and attack helicopters. We might even have some money left over for luxuries, such as roads, schools and hospitals.
Sean Fleming, Cambridge, U.K.
Luke Power, London, U.K.
Originally from St. John’s