Canada spends another US$71M on F-35
Total investment by Canada reaches US$600 million despite calls to cancel fighter jet purchase.
OTTAWA – Canada has quietly made another multimillion-dollar payment toward development of the F-35 stealth fighter despite uncertainty over whether it will buy the aircraft and calls from some prominent Canadians not to purchase any new fighter jets.
Canada is one of nine countries that have agreed to cover a portion of the stealth fighter’s multibillion-dollar development costs each year in exchange for being able to buy the plane at a lower cost and compete for work associated with building and maintaining it.
Defence Department spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier says the most recent payment was for US$71-million and was made in the spring, bringing Canada’s total investment in the project to more than US$600 million since 1997.
News of the investment comes as the government is poised to announce later this year whether Canada will buy Lockheed Martin’s F-35, Boeing’s Super Hornet or Saab’s Gripen to replace the military’s aging CF-18s at an estimated cost of $19 billion.
It also comes as dozens of Canadian singers, authors, politicians and activists, including Neil Diamond, David Suzuki and Michael Ondaatje have signed a statement calling on the government to cancel its plans to buy new fighter jets.
The signatories argue fighter jets not only contribute to climate change but that the real cost will be billions of dollars more than advertised, money they say would be better spent on social housing, railway lines and in Indigenous communities.