Citing a newly published paper by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, Vancouver Sun columnist Barbara Yaffe is calling on the Canadian public to “familiarize itself with the ongoing debate over the purchase of the F-35s” (Barbara Yaffe, “The F-35 is the wrong plane for the job in Canada, Washington think-tank says,” Vancouver Sun, 6 July 2011).
F-35, An Expensive Mistake for the Canadian Forces, written by Council on Hemispheric Affairs research associate Ivan Ho, raises several issues related to the purchase. While not denying the technical capabilities of the aircraft, the paper expresses concern about the disparity between the cost numbers provided by the Defence Department and those provided by the Parliamentary Budget Officer. The paper argues that Canada could fulfill its security objectives and contribute to NATO with a “less sexy aircraft.” It also argues that “Canada would be better off choosing less militaristic missions, focusing on disaster and humanitarian relief, peacekeeping missions, search and rescue activity and patrols along Canada’s three coasts.”
Ms. Yaffe urges Canadians to educate themselves about the F-35. As Yaffe argues, now that Canada has a majority government, the only way to cancel the purchase would be a sudden, dramatic shift in public opinion.