OTTAWA– Liberal Leader Bob Rae, Liberal Defence critic John McKay and Liberal House Leader Marc Garneau today demanded honesty from the Conservative government on the F-35s, saying it’s time to replace “accounting” excuses with accountability.
“Over the last several years, the Harper Conservatives have misled Canadians in order to cover-up their total mismanagement of the biggest military procurement in Canada’s history,” said Mr. Rae. “This is a failure to come clean with the Canadian public when the Prime Minister had countless chances to do so. The responsibility for this incompetence lies with Stephen Harper and he must resign.”
Since coming to office in 2006, Conservatives have misled Canadians on three crucial areas of the procurement process. First, they misled Canadians when they said that they’d hold an open, transparent competition for the planes that would replace our aging fleet of CF-18s. Second, they misled Canadians when they said that Canada had a contract protecting us from any escalating costs and guaranteeing industrial benefits. And, third, and most importantly, the Harper Conservatives misled Canadians about the true cost of the F-35s, which the Auditor General recently confirmed was at least $10 billion more than the government admitted.
“Defence Minister Peter MacKay blames the $10 billion hole on ‘accounting’ mistakes,” said Mr. McKay. “This giant gap is not a mistake; it’s a failure of leadership that extends all the way to the Prime Minister’s Office.”
Liberals have compiled a video timeline clearly showing how this Conservative government has mismanaged billions of Canadians’ tax dollars and failed to tell them the truth about the F-35.
“The Auditor General’s report makes it clear the Conservatives knew, or ought to have known, more than they were letting on,” concluded Mr. Garneau. “The irony is that this whole mess could have been avoided by simply doing what they said they were doing; holding an open, transparent competition. This is the only way to get the best plane, at the best price with the greatest industrial benefits. The Conservatives have no choice but to take full responsibility for this fiasco, then hit the reset button on the whole process.”
To view the Liberal video timeline of the F-35, click here.