For a bid to buy a plane designed to cut quickly through the skies, Ottawa’s pursuit of a future-generation fighter jet has been a long and torturous slog.

In 1997, Jean Chrétien’s Liberal government joined the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, a U.S.-led initiative conceived as a new way for allies to work together to design, develop and produce a fifth-generation fighter aircraft. In 2006, Ottawa signed a formal memorandum of understanding that gave Canada and the other eight partner nations the exclusive right to compete for contracts to produce such aircraft and, since 2007, Canadian companies have won more than US$1.3-billion in defence contracts related to the Joint Strike Fighter. With a production line that will be operating at full capacity starting this year, and is expected to produce about 10 times as many aircraft as exist today over the next few decades, this number promises to grow substantially.

continue reading Elinor Sloan’s op-ed, published in the Globe and Mail

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