Monday, January 17, 2011

F-35 coverage in southern Ontario

The PM's big push on Friday in Montreal to sell his $16-$21 billion F-35 proposal got a fair amount of attention. There was some attention paid to the Liberal position yesterday in southwestern Ontario too. See the video report at this link for example which is worth watching for two reasons. It's a good contrast between Ignatieff & Harper on this issue, back to back. Secondly, we see another critic of the sole-source bid:
But military experts say the government has mismanaged the situation.

"The F-35 manufacturers know there's no competition. There is no incentive to them to provide the best most competitive economic package to Canada if we say we're going to buy it no matter what," says Alistair Edgar, Prof. Wilfrid Laurier University.
Edgar also questions the single engine construction of the F-35, wondering whether a two engine jet might be better. That issue was also raised by Marc Garneau on Friday. It's something that hasn't received much attention during the limited public debate thus far given the government's sole focus on the F-35:
Mr. Garneau said his party would maximize the maintenance work conducted in Canada, and likely seek a fighter jet with twin engines instead of the one-engine F-35 to conduct patrols in isolated regions of the North.

“All things being equal,” he said, “two engines are better than one.”
Combine Garneau's comments with Ignatieff's yesterday, noted in the CTV link above, that "There are some other planes that are actually available on the shelf now that might meet Canadian needs at a much cheaper price." They suggest a slightly more sharpened Liberal approach to the F-35 debate.