PBI-Canada shares report that estimates that the cost of Canada’s fighter jet purchase could total $76.8 billion
The No Fighter Jets coalition has released a report that estimates the actual cost of Canada purchasing 88 new fighter jets could total $76.8 billion. That report is at: From Acquisition to Disposal: Uncovering the true cost of 88 new fighter jets.
QMI Agency reports: “While the Trudeau government said the costs would not exceed $19 billion, the coalition questioned that amount based on official department of national defence reports and an investigation by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The key operating costs of jet fuel, training and maintenance would not have been included in the government’s public estimate, the No Fighter Jets Coalition said.”
The National Post also reports: “[The Aerospace Industries Association of Canada] is urging the federal government to prioritize its $19-billion plans to buy a new fleet of stealth fighter jets, saying the massive procurement contract would provide crucial economic stimulus following a year of COVID-19 lockdowns.”
That article adds: “Aerospace companies vying to build Canada’s next generation fighter jets have emphasized in recent months the economic benefits associated with their proposals, touting job creation and GDP bumps.”
And it highlights:
– “Boeing, which makes the Super Hornet fighter jet, said in August that its proposal would inject $16.9 billion into the Canadian economy, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.”
– “Lockheed Martin, which manufactures the F-35A, that it would generate $61 billion for the Canadian economy over the 40-year life of the program.”
– “Saab, which makes the Gripen E jet, has laid out plans to build a new research and development facility in Montreal focused on artificial intelligence and other areas, as well as a sensor facility in British Columbia.”
And yet dollar for dollar, spending on the military generates less for the economy than other expenditures of public funds.
Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies, has written: “$1 billion in military spending creates approximately 11,200 jobs — but the same amount of money would create 26,700 jobs if invested in education, about two-and-a-half times as many. Or 16,800 jobs in clean energy, or 17,200 in health care.”
Similarly, research by the Costs of War Project based at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs found that while $1 million spent on “defence” creates 6.9 direct and indirect jobs, the same amount invested in solar power creates 9.5 jobs, in health care 14.3 jobs, and in elementary and secondary education 19.2 jobs.
The Parliamentary Budget Office does not plan to cost the new fighter jet until the Canadian government chooses among the three contenders: the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet; the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II; and the Saab Gripen.
The timeline on that is not specific. It would appear that the government could shortlist two fighter jets this spring, finalize the choice of one fighter jet late this year, and sign a contract with one of the three transnationals early in 2022.
We hope that these contrasting views prompt fuller debate in the House of Commons and in-depth studies by the appropriate parliamentary committees.