MASSE IN THE HOUSE: On F-35 Contracts

    Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the Pentagon is slashing its purchase of the F-35s. This follows program cuts and concerns from Great Britain, Turkey, Australia, Italy, Norway and Israel. However, the Conservatives have doggedly determined here in the House to say that everything is just fine.

    The government is panicking and asking Washington for an emergency meeting. However, here in the House it still will not tell Canadians what the truth is. The truth is it does not have a plan B. Why can it not bring that forward right now to protect our men and women who are serving in our military?

    Hon. Julian Fantino (Associate Minister of National Defence, CPC): Mr. Speaker, that premise is absolutely incorrect. The Royal Canadian Air Force plays an important role in protecting our sovereignty and developing the kinds of assets that are necessary in today's and tomorrow's predicaments.

    Canada's CF-18s are nearing the end of their usable life. The meeting that the member referred to is no emergency at all. It has been in the works for a long time among all of the members.

    Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, even Conservatives have to give up their fantasy that their billion dollar boondoggle is still on track. The U.S. is confirming it will delay its F-35 orders and are going to cut $1.6 billion as just a start. The whole program is now in disarray, meaning higher costs for Canadian taxpayers. The Government of Canada has now called an emergency international meeting on the F-35 fiasco.

    Will the government agree to finally apply common sense and put this bill out to tender for our men and women in service?

    Hon. Julian Fantino (Associate Minister of National Defence, CPC): Mr. Speaker, at the risk of repeating myself, there is no emergency meeting. However, the rhetoric and the untruths seem to prevail.

    Let me assure the member opposite that we are working diligently with all of our partners to ensure that our men and women in the military are given the tools they need and deserve to do the job we require them to do in our country.