MP: Defence critic has his facts wrong
In a recent letter, John McKay, Liberal MP and Defense Critic incorrectly detailed some aspects of the replacement of Canada’s CF-18 aircraft. This topic is very important to the future of Canada’s military, which is why I’d like to speak to the facts.
In the spring, Canada’s Auditor General recommended we refine our estimates for the full lifecycle costs of the replacement F-35s. To do so, we introduced a Seven Point Plan, of which the National Fighter Procurement Secretariat was established. Their mandate is public; it is published on their website. And at this point, no money has been spent on the acquisition of new aircraft. Our budget for the purchase of replacement planes was set at $9 billion. This budget will not change.
Meanwhile, the Auditor General also recommended that operating expenses (such as maintenance and fuel) be included in our estimate. These costs are the long-term costs associated with owning and flying the planes. Contrary to the claims of Opposition MPs, this is not new money. It is simply money that is currently accounted for in maintaining our existing CF-18 fleet.
The Liberal M.P. also points out that our current government is running a deficit, after the previous Liberal government ran a surplus in 2005-06. What John Mackay fails to mention is how those Liberal governments got to those surpluses in the first place. Cutting social and health transfers to the tune of billions, gutting our military, and leaving the provinces out to dry like the Liberal party did is not how Canadians want to be governed. If they did, John Mackay’s party would not be relegated to third party status in the House of Commons.
John McKay and his Liberal colleagues forced Canada into an unwanted election over the F-35 issue, and Canadians responded by handing our government the first majority mandate in over a decade. Instead of continuing to bring up issues from the past, Mr. John McKay should focus on what matters to Canadians most for the future: Jobs, Growth and Long Term prosperity for all Canadians.
Blaine Calkins, MP