Morning Reading: Why The $16-Billion F-35 Sucks

Journalist, pundit and author Linda McQuaig breaks down the Canadian government’s decision to spend $16 billion dollars on high-tech WW3-ready combat planes. From her column in today’s Toronto Star:

Yet even [Defence Minister Peter] MacKay struggles to explain the utility of the jets. Asked at a news conference last month for “specific examples of the uses of these aircraft,” MacKay mostly focused on what a great recruiting device they make.

“[I]t helps a great deal, I can assure you, in recruiting, to have new gear, new equipment, that is state of the art,” MacKay said. “That is a very important part of our regeneration of personnel and pilots in particular. So having that platform capacity is something that is of great importance to the continued growth of the Canadian Forces and the development of our pilots.”

So we’re spending $16 billion — about $470 for every Canadian — so we can have planes that are really attractive to pilots? Wouldn’t it be a lot cheaper just to offer every prospective pilot a Porsche?

You can, and should, read the whole article here. It’s entertaining and sarcastic but more importantly McQuaig is dead-on. This is an insane  government purchase that does nothing to help Canadians by an out-of-control, minority government with a U.S. Republican-style worldview. It’s basically a $16 billion economic stimulus package for the U.S. arms industry. It’s ludicrous.

Also: if you haven’t yet, you might also want to vote in our poll on the F-35 (right side of page). Time is running out — we’ll probably have a new poll for Thursday.


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Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth was carried to Regina in a swarm of bees. He's been with Prairie Dog since May 1999 and will die at his keyboard before admitting this was all a terrible, terrible mistake.

2 thoughts on “Morning Reading: Why The $16-Billion F-35 Sucks”

  1. You know what is ridiculous is not buying these planes seeing as the Canadian government has already been putting money in the R&D for the project … but you forgot to mention that.

  2. So you’re saying because we spent several million on R&D ($151 million, from what I’ve read) we have to spend the $16 billion on the planes? (You know that a billion is a thousand million, right?)

    That’s just silly.

    If you’ve spent a bunch of cash on research and it turns out the project is too costly or too stupid to follow through on, you move on and forget about the research money. It’s called a sunk cost and shouldn’t have any bearing on an investment decision.

    Therefore, the R&D isn’t worth mentioning.

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