Statement made on 15 November 2011 by Senator Joseph Day
Hon. Joseph A. Day:
Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and it relates to the issue of the F-35. I wonder if she could turn her briefing book to that page because many factors are involved with respect to this particular matter.
The costs have been escalating out of control, and there seems to be no consensus as to costs. Government spokespersons continue to say the cost will be $75 million per unit, whereas the Parliamentary Budget Officer has said $128 million per unit. Then it went up to $150 million per unit, and now, through the budget officer in the United States and other consultants, it is looking very much like $200 million per unit. Canadians have lost faith in this project, and Canadians have lost faith in what the government is telling them about why we need this aircraft.
If we reduce the number from 65 in order to keep the overall envelope of the costs down, then it is not feasible to have these aircraft. That is a statement by our Chief of the Defence Staff.
I think the government might be looking for a reasonable way out of this serious dilemma, and I will suggest that perhaps there would be no fault on anyone's part in deciding that this was a development contract from which we can withdraw at any time.
Would the minister advise us as to whether the government is prepared to take that advice?
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