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Let’s stop Stephen Harper’s $16-billion mistake

Posted on October 27, 2010

For months, the Conservatives have refused to answer Canadians’ questions about their plan to spend $16 billion on U.S.-made F-35 stealth fighter jets.

They still haven’t identified Canada’s defence needs, or the operational needs of the military — and they still haven’t proved that the F-35 will meet those needs.

They haven’t accounted for full life-cycle costs, and they haven’t signed maintenance contracts in advance, when we still have bargaining power.

Most importantly, they didn’t hold a competitive bid process. This amounts to writing a blank cheque with taxpayers’ money.

The last straw came yesterday, when Auditor General Sheila Fraser condemned the Conservative government’s wasteful procurement practices. After making costly errors with their latest helicopter purchase — which has ballooned to $11 billion — the Conservatives seem determined to make the same mistakes with the F-35 stealth fighter contract.

We want to stop them.

Today, I joined Michael Ignatieff and Marc Garneau to announce that a Liberal government will cancel the untendered $16-billion F-35 stealth fighter deal, and hold a new competitive bid process to replace Canada’s CF-18 military aircraft.

The Conservatives are saying that they can’t equip our military and respect taxpayers at the same time. Liberals can. And, with your help, we will.

- Dominic

Dominic LeBlanc is MP for Beauséjour and the Liberal critic for National Defence.

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