Tories to Shut Down F-35 Probe
The only public investigation into mistakes made by the Conservatives in the F-35 purchase are set to be shut down, leaving questions pertaining to the $10 billion price gap found by the Auditor General unanswered and the acquisition further into the hands of secrecy.
Andrew Saxon, parliamentary secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, told the House of Commons that the Conservatives feel that issues surrounding the purchase have been investigated thoroughly enough.
The Tories are expected to pass a motion that would end hearings at a committee that was tasked to look into the AG’s direct report of misleading figures, according to media reports. There are only 4 weeks remaining before summer break.
The AG said that Parliament didn’t get the entire picture as Canadians and the House of Commons were told the cost of acquiring 65 new jets was $16 billion while the actual cost was closer to $25 billion. Defense Minister Peter MacKay admitted that his government mislead the Commons and Canadian people for 2 years on the same matter.
The F-35 program was designed to replace Canada’s aging fleet of CF-18 fighter jets.
So what do the Conservatives have to hide? Why are they shutting down the only public inquiry into the purchase of such costly planes during a time of economic restraint? To top it all, the jobs that would be generated by this project are not Canadian, they are American. Therefore, Canada directly loses this money for planes the Americans themselves have said were simply not worth the price tag.
In a time of economic restraint, should we be spending $25 billion on fighter jets? If yes, do you agree with the way the Conservatives have handled the portfolio?