Musings —07.16.2010 09:47 AM—
Tories poised to announced controversial, sole sourced $16B jet purchase
Source: The Canadian Press
Jul 16, 2010 4:09
OTTAWA – The Harper government was expected to announce today one of the biggest military equipment purchases in history – a controversial, non-competitive $16-billion contract to build a new generation of fighter jets.
Three cabinet ministers, led by Defence Minister Peter MacKay, were scheduled to make a major military procurement announcement in Ottawa, where it was expected they would confirm the long-anticipated plan to buy the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter from Lockheed Martin.
The jet purchase and the accompanying long-term maintenance plan have drawn criticism from the Liberal opposition and former senior public servants who say the massive outlay of public cash lacks transparency because it was not subjected to other competitive bids.
The total value of the contract is expect to rival the total amount spent by the Conservatives four years ago, when they rolled out a series of high-profile military purchases of transport planes, helicopters and armoured trucks.
The 65 new jets would replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of CF-18s that recently underwent a $2.6 billion upgrade.
MacKay has assured Parliament there would be a competitive process for the selection of new planes, but the Harper cabinet has reportedly decided to go with an untendered contract.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff says he would put the deal on hold if he were elected prime minister.