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Politics Tory candidate lobbied Ottawa for U.S. fighter-jet manufacturer

The Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter is shown after it was unveiled in a ceremony in Fort Worth, Texas, in this July 7, 2006, file photo.

The Canadian Press

One of the Conservative candidates in the federal election was until last December one of the lobbyists for the maker of the controversial F-35 jet the Harper government picked to be Canada's next generation of fighter planes, records show.

As senior partner at CFN Consultants, an Ottawa firm specializing in defence issues, Raymond Sturgeon lobbied the government on behalf of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, the U.S. manufacturer of the F-35 Lightning II, the jet whose multi-billion sole-sourced price tag has been heavily criticized.

A month before winning the nomination as Tory candidate for the Ontario riding of Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing in January, Mr. Sturgeon stopped representing Lockheed Martin and a dozen other high-tech, aerospace and weapons firms, according to records with the Federal Registry of Lobbyists.

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The government has said the F-35 contract will cost $16 billion - $9-billion to buy a fleet of 65 jets and the rest for maintenance - but critics predict it will be more expensive.

On the lobbyists' registry, Mr. Sturgeon described his work on behalf Lockheed as "(assisting) in marketing strategy for the sale of aircraft and aircraft components to the department of national defence."

National Defence, Foreign Affairs and Industry Canada were among departments that Mr. Sturgeon targeted on behalf of Lockheed Martin.

Also, in a reflection of the economic benefits that proponents of the F-35 tout, Mr. Sturgeon listed three federal regional development agencies - Western Economic Diversification Canada, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the Federal Office of Regional Development for Quebec..

The riding where Mr. Sturgeon is running, Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing, is a vast Northern Ontario district that the Conservatives last captured in 1930.

After his nomination as a candidate, Mr. Sturgeon attacked the incumbent MP, Carol Hughes of the NDP, as representing "big city" voters because she had failed to vote for the abolition of the long-gun registry.

Until Dec. 15, Mr. Sturgeon was lobbying for Colt Canada Corp. of Kitchener, Ont., a subsidiary of Colt Defense LLC, is the U.S. manufacturer of the Colt .45 pistol and the M4 assault rifle.

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One purpose of his work for Colt was "providing assistance in procurement of small arms to the government of Canada," he listed in his lobbyist filing.

Another, he reported, was "resolving issues" with the Automatic Firearm Country Control List, which outlines the countries where Canadian automatic weapons can be legally exported.

The RCMP, National Defence, Public Works, Treasury Board, Foreign Affairs and Industry Canada were among the departments Mr. Sturgeon listed as targets of lobbying on behalf of Colt.

Other firms Mr. Sturgeon listed as clients included Rheinmetall Canada, formerly known as Oerlikon, BAE Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries and General Dynamics Ordnance & Tactical Systems Canada Inc.

The Conservatives have sold the F-35 contract as a major source of future maintenance and supply jobs for Canadian companies.

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