Alternative Federal Budget 2022 calls on Canadian government to cancel its planned procurement of new fighter jets

Published by Brent Patterson on

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The opening day of Parliament, November 22, 2021. Photo by Koozma J. Tarasoff.

Pages 133-134 of the Alternative Federal Budget, produced by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, state:

“Ending planned procurement of new fighter jets, withdrawing Canada’s participation in the U.S.-led F-35 fighter consortium, and cancelling the Aegis Combat Systems missile defence contract with Lockheed Martin would free up enough public funding to cover much of the new spending in this AFB [Alternative Federal Budget].”

This passage further details:

“The lifespan cost (over about 30 years) of new jets was recently estimated to be in the range of $77 billion, while the initial price of the missile defence system is US$1.7 billion (CAD $2.14 billion). Canada has spent an average of $24 million per year since 1997 to remain part of the F35 consortium, which ensures a discount on eventual purchases of the long-delayed fighter jet and the chance to bid on potentially lucrative contracts to build and maintain them.”

It then highlights:

“This AFB cancels the new fighter jet procurement and missile defence purchase, for an estimated saving of $3.1 billion a year for 30 years (in accrual terms). This includes the initial purchase cost, the lifespan costs of the jets, and estimated upkeep of the missile defence system.”

And it notes:

“Military spending will be decreased annually by the same rate that official development assistance (ODA) is increased, which averages just over $2 billion per year. Military savings will be redirected to education, health care, human rights, environmental protection, housing, and future-proofing the Canadian workforce through industrial development strategies and skills development, among other initiatives that promote real human security.”

It has been reported that the Canadian government will select a new fighter jet (from the remaining two bids) in March/April 2022.

It is not clear if the contract will be signed at that time or whether there will be the space for public and parliamentary debate following the selection process.

We continue to follow this issue and have listed these Questions about the fighter jet procurement process for Defence Minister Anita Anand and Procurement Minister Filomena Tassi to answer.

We also highlight with concern the $5 billion the Canadian government intends to spend on armed drones for the military. That contract is expected to be awarded in 2022-23 with the first delivery of armed drones in 2024-25.

Link to Alternative Federal Budget 2022 / Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

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