U.S. defense firm Lockheed Martin is 'neck-up' in controversy with the Canadian government putting a cap on its F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.
Reports say that the government of Canada has hit the 'reset button' on the deal because costs go beyond the agreed rate of $9 billion for the contract. A spending cap that limits the purchase of F-35s to $9 billion has been placed by the conservative party in Canada.
The Canadian National Defence refused to release information regarding four major military projects to a Parliament oversight agency saying that the Conservatives, "Tories", are not in tune with the F-35 controversy.
In 2006, PM Stephen Harper assured his navy a supply of up to eight patrol ships with a price tag of $3.1 billion. However, the delays on Harper's projects suggest that there may not be any patrol ships forthcoming. Alternatively, a fewer number of vessels will made.
Richard Fadden of the Defence Department, told the Parliamentary Budget Office that information related to costs would not be disclosed, said the PBO website.
Fadden added that documents used in the planning phase "falls outside the scope of the mandate of the Parliamentary Budget Officer ... and is therefore not being provided to your office," The National Post reported.
The report said that the National Defence department had already issued a statement of requirements for the F-35s during a study by the PBO on the stealth fighter project a couple of years ago.
Jack Harris, a critic of NDP defence commented that there is a 'culture of secrecy" at the National Defence department. He retorted that Defence authorities and the Conservative government were engaging in strategies that do not work with the F-35.
Leading up to the election of 2011, officials at the Defence Department dodged questions from the PBO about the actual cost of the F-35. Before the election, the PBO spurred a controversy with an estimate that the F-35s would run the government $30 billion for 30 years.
ollowing stiff criticism, the Canadian conservative government decided to forego purchasing the F-35 after an auditor's report that revealed that stealth aircraft would cost $45 billion or more to own and operate. "We thought this government had learned its lesson," said Harris, stating, "But they're stonewalling the Parliamentary Budget Office once again."
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