The fact that the F-35 jet fighter is worth the money doesn’t matter. It’s specifications, longevity, and payload don’t matter. The fact that top ranking military personnel think its a good buy don’t matter. What matters is that the public was lied to.
The F-35 is a beautiful plane, designed and built to eclipse the current F-18s (and CF-18s) in every conceivable way. It’s faster, better armed, better armoured, harder to spot with radar, harder to track… the case for its superiority really makes itself with 10 minutes in front of a set of stats, or an internet connection.
Which does beg the question, why is buying them a big deal? The fact is, buying them ISN’T a big deal. The leadup to buying them is a big deal.
The real question isn’t “why should/shouldn’t a nation buy F-35s?” but “why did the Harper government deliberately lie to Canandians about the cost?”
And this isn’t just a Canadian question. Those north of the boarder have always looked south with something resembling bewilderment at the amount of bullshit the American people are willing to swallow from their leaders. From “I am not a Crook” to “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” to “There are WMDs in Iraq”… Lying for political gain is a spectator sport in the USA.
Canada has always taken a more diligent, and frankly honest approach.
Some things I never learned to like. I didn’t like to kiss babies, though I didn’t mind kissing their mothers. I didn’t like to slap backs or other parts of the anatomy. I liked hecklers, because they brought my speeches alive.
— P. Trudeau, Memoirs, P. 178
In the great vast north, political honesty is a matter of principle. Promises may be broken, campaign initiatives tossed aside, but direct, bold faced lies… never.
That is were the F-35s come into being important. They represent a great lie told to the canadian public, and to the world. A lie that isn’t limited to Canada. When the Prime Minister deliberately misleads the public, and the Defense Minister backs him up, it shows contempt. Contempt for the very people who put them in office. By allowing people who show this contempt to represent a nation, it harms the trust a place like canada deserves on the world stage.
The F-35, a great plane by all accounts, is now a symbol that the Prime Minister of Canada has so little respect for his people, that he wouldn’t tell them the truth about its cost and value.
And that makes it matter.