Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

A Canadian CF-18 fighter takes off from CFB Trenton in Trenton. Ont. Thursday October 11, 2001.

KEVIN FRAYER/The Canadian Press

There is nothing stopping the Liberal government from fulfilling its promise to hold a full and open competition for new fighter jets, a top procurement bureaucrat told MPs.

"That is definitely an option that can be pursued, and again, it's information that we are providing [to Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan]," Patrick Finn, the assistant deputy minister in charge of procurement at National Defence, said to a committee of the House on Thursday.

Mr. Finn was responding to questions from NDP MP Erin Weir, who brought up the possibility that the Liberal government could use a sole-source contract to replace the current fleet of CF-18s.

Story continues below advertisement

The Conservatives are raising concerns that Ottawa is seeking a way around a competition to avoid buying Lockheed-Martin F-35s, opting instead for a sole-sourced purchase of Boeing Super Hornets.

The F-35 is a leading-edge stealth aircraft that has faced a series of technological challenges and delays in its development, while the Super Hornet is an older aircraft that offers fewer short-term risks to its buyer.

During the past election, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said he would not buy the F-35 aircraft, which was championed by the previous Conservative government.

Once in office, however, the Liberals promised to launch an "open and transparent" competition for new aircraft.

Mr. Finn confirmed that the government is currently exploring a series of options to purchase new fighter jets, suggesting the Liberals could eventually opt out of an open tendering process.

"Right now, no decisions have been made," Mr. Finn said. "The full spectrum is being looked at. Our minister has asked us many questions about approaches, products, how it could be done, what could be done, to make sure he has all of the information that he needs to bring to his colleagues."

Sources said the file is currently in front of the cabinet "ad hoc" committee on defence procurement, which is chaired by Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr.

Story continues below advertisement

Government officials said the cabinet committee is working to refine the choices that will eventually be put in front of the full cabinet, where there will be a debate before the government makes a final call.

The acquisition of the new fighter jets is estimated to cost at least $9-billion, plus decades of maintenance and operation costs.

Mr. Finn said the government considers many issues when it looks at aircraft, including cost and whether they can be bought "off the shelf," but also the long-term ability to upgrade their capabilities to prolong their efficiency.

"Maturity at the outset can be an important factor, but it's one of many. Interoperability, price, being able to upgrade – all of those are important factors," he said.

Retired lieutenant-general Ken Pennie, who is a former head of the Air Force, has said he hopes the government will make its choice based on Canada's defence needs rather than political considerations.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story said Erin Weir was a Conservative MP instead of an NDP MP.

Story continues below advertisement

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies