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David Smith

The Hon. David P. Smith, P.C., Q.C., B.A. LL.B. Appointed to the Senate by the Rt. Honourable Jean Chrétien, Senator David Smith represents Ontario, and has served in the Senate since June 25, 2002.

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F-35 Aircraft Purchase

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Statement made on 05 April 2012 by Senator Frank Mahovlich (retired)

Hon. Francis William Mahovlich:

Honourable senators, my question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Auditor General Michael Ferguson stated that the government misled the people by using a $15-billion price tag for the purchase of 65 F-35s. Documents, he noted, showed a total price tag of $25 billion over a 20-year period for defence personnel salaries and operating costs. Yet nothing is mentioned here about maintenance.

A dear friend of mine retired from politics and from the hockey world. His name was Leonard Red Kelly. He went into business in aerospace and airplane maintenance. I often went over to have lunch with him. He explained to me that if you flew a plane, every part in that plane had so many hours. If it flew one hour, then certain parts would have to be replaced. This was a business unto itself, so you had to replace all these parts.

I figured out that for a plane worth at least $200 million or $300 million, the maintenance for an F-35 — that is, for 65 of those planes — would be at least $2 billion to $3 billion a year.

In 20 years, it would be close to $27 billion.

Could the leader please come up with the price tag for the maintenance of these F-35s in the next 20 years?

Please click here to read the full text of the Senator's question

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