Where does the NDP stand on the Trudeau government’s purchase of F-35 fighter-bombers?

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: On January 7, MAWO Vancouver tweeted that they asked NDP leader Jagmeet Singh to take a stand against the purchase of fighter jets.

On January 9, Defence Minister Anita Anand announced Canada is buying 88 F-35 fighter jets for $19 billion. In a briefing before her announcement, Defence Department officials acknowledged the lifecycle costs of the jet would be about $70 billion.

In response to the Defence Minister’s announcement, the NDP released: NDP statement on F-35 fighter jets announcement.

In that statement, NDP Deputy Critic for National Defence Randall Garrison says: “In 2015, Trudeau said that Canada didn’t need F-35. He promised never to purchase them and promised to purchase one of the many lower priced options to better serve Canada’s defense needs. That statement is in complete contradiction with today’s announcement, and yet again, the price tag announced today is higher than what was announced a few months ago—with no guarantees for Canadian jobs.”

Garrison also notes: “The NDP critic for national defense, Lindsay Mathyssen, has put forward a private member’s bill, Bill C-300 [that can be read in full here], which would protect Canadian jobs for defense contracts.”

That same day, Garrison was asked by Jill Bennett on 980 CKNW Radio about his concerns about this purchase and commented: “There are two things. One, they’ve taken so long to actually get a contract to purchase jets which are desperately needed by the Canadian Forces. And the second is the fact that the Liberals weren’t able to negotiate any job guarantees out of this big purchase.”

He continued: “We are buying all kinds of capacity with the F-35s that we probably don’t need. The stealth capacity and some of the other aspects of that fighter jet. We could have bought a different jet. My personal favourite has always been the Saab Gripen for less money that better met the needs of Canadians. But at some point, we have to bite the bullet and buy fighter jets. We do need them for the defence of Canada. That’s the only note of happiness I’ve got today that finally a decision has been made. But it could have been cheaper and could have been more Canadian jobs.”

Garrison added: “I’m not disputing that we need fighter jets.”

These statements appear consistent with the NDP platform from the 2021 election that states: “In contracting for new military equipment, including ships and fighter jets, New Democrats will ensure maximum industrial benefits and jobs.”

NDP MP Leah Gazan (Winnipeg Centre) has been critical about the purchase.

On January 9, she tweeted:

And NDP MP Niki Ashton (Churchill—Keewatinook Aski) retweeted:

Former NDP MP Svend Robinson has tweeted his support for Gazan:

And Sid Ryan (who ran as an NDP candidate in two federal elections) has tweeted:

There are presently two petitions calling for the purchase to be cancelled. The Leadnow petition is here, and a parliamentary petition is here.

We continue to follow statements from political parties in the House of Commons on this. More at: How have the Conservatives, NDP and Greens responded to the Liberal decision to spend $70 billion on F-35 fighter-bombers? (January 10, 2023).

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