Stephen Harper finds blowing craters in distant countries infinitely preferable to actually defending Canada, or at least my part of it.
That Canada's west coast remains undefended was embarrassingly demonstrated when a Korean Airlines flight was the subject of a bomb threat as it cruised near the Queen Charlotte Islands or Haida Gwai on April 11th. When the jetliner was diverted to land at RCAF base Comox on Vancouver Island it had to be escorted by two trusty USAF F-15 jets out of Portland, Oregon. You see, we don't have any aircraft of that description in British Columbia. The airspace along Canada's entire west coast is undefended except by the United States Air Force.
The worst part is that the RCAF boys' wet dreams of stealth light bombers don't include any fantasies of defending British Columbia in the future either. Bombing the next Libya that needs a whacking, sure. Defending Canada, boring.
Sure, whether the price tag is $9-billion or, more likely, $50-billion (including replacement aircraft, spares, etc. over its full lifespan) is important and so is how we were misled (deliberately) on this through the last election. Those are important matters.
But what's even more important is whether this aircraft is a massively overpriced underperformer and whether it will do what Canada needs beginning with national defence. The answer to the first question is probably yes. The answer to the second question is certainly not.
The F-35 is for playing in someone else's backyard at the expense of leaving our own undefended. That is just plain wrong. If our political and military leadership cannot understand that their first obligation is to defend Canada then they're self-interested, self-serving charlatans and nothing more. And that goes double for the guys in uniform.