What should be made public before Canada signs a contract with Lockheed Martin for F-35s this coming November?
On Monday March 28, Defence Minister Anita Anand and Procurement Minister Filomena Tassi announced the Canadian government had chosen the Lockheed Martin F-35 as its preferred replacement for its current fleet of fighter jets and that it will open negotiations with the Maryland-based transnational corporation.
Tassi says that these contract negotiations could take as little as seven months. That means, arguably, that the contract could be signed by November 1.
What should happen before that date?
1- The Parliamentary Budget Officer should make public a full-cost analysis of the F-35 over the next 30 years. It could be $76.8 billion.
(The Swiss Federal Council says the procurement plus 30-year operating costs for its planned purchase of 36 F-35s amounts to CHF 15.5 billion.)
2- Anand should disclose how much the Department of National Defence has budgeted for missiles and bombs for the F-35 over the next 30 years.
(Finland says it will spend 824 million euros / CAD $1.2 billion on the “final optimized weapons package” for its new fleet of 64 F-35s.)
3- The casualty figures should be made public from the estimated 1,598 offensive bombing missions conducted by the current fleet of CF-18s over the last 30 years.
4- A calculation should be made public on the projected greenhouse gas emissions from 88 F-35s over the next 30 years. The fleet could consume 3.94 billion litres of fuel.
5- Anand should speak to the displacement of the Dene people from their ancestral lands for the Cold Lake base where the F-35s will be based.
6- Tassi should release the full list of scenarios of potential fighter jet uses that the procurement panel based their recommendation on.
7- Tassi should disclose when the United States granted its “ultimate certification” of Canada’s purchase of the F-35. Was it secured before Anand’s call with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin the day after the F-35 selection was made public?
David Pugliese, an Ottawa Citizen journalist writing on military issues since 1982, has commented: “The Russian invasion gives the Liberals the public-relations cover they need to proceed with the $19-billion purchase of the F-35 U.S. stealth fighter, an aircraft Prime Minister Justin Trudeau previously stated Canadians would not buy.”
In its statement on the war in Ukraine, Peace Brigades International highlighted: “The dominant security discourse associated with the militarization of societies is a setback. Billions more spent on weapons will not make the world safer.”