From everything I've learned about that warplane, Trudeau made the right call only it might not have been the right time.
The overdue, overpriced, under-performing F-35 is not the aircraft Canada needs unless we're planning on attacking China or Russia and, if we did, that would invite some massive retaliation from people who have some impressively powerful weapons.
At home and in the newly militarized Arctic, the F-35 would be of extremely limited use. It can't go very far. It can't go very fast. It can't carry very much fuel or payload. It can't even go stealthy without the support of sophisticated aerial intelligence aircraft such as AWACS and JSTARS and Canada isn't buying any of those, not now, not ever.
As the head of the US Air Force Air Combat Command said recently, it's not a fighter. The very limited number of missiles it carries are strictly defensive, a last chance to avoid destruction by intercepting fighters. If it does get in a dogfight, it's trapped, doomed. It very quickly becomes the world's most expensive lawn dart.
I think the NDP leader knows what Trudeau knows - unless Harper is re-elected, the F-35 is toast. But is canceling out on the F-35 a suitable election platform? I seem to recall Jean Chretien promising to cancel the Mulroney/Campbell government's plan to buy a fleet of very expensive anti-submarine helicopters for our navy. Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't that occur during the pivotal 1993 election?
Mulcair took a shot at Trudeau for not waiting until there had been a full competition before deciding the F-35's fate. Fair enough, it's an election and his momentum seems to have stalled. I wonder, however, how many of the NDP rank and file would regret seeing the F-35 eliminated? My guess is very, very few.
Is it just me or does anyone else feel like this election has run out of steam? From Trudeau's perspective was this just an attempt to stir something up - something, anything? From Mulcair's perspective could he have done anything else but criticize Trudeau? It just seems, to me at least, as though the whole life has gone out of this campaign and there's really nothing much to say beyond repeating what's already been said again and again.
Wait, I know! How about going to bat for those poor Canadians who got stuck with Volkswagen diesels? Tell'em we're going to cross the Rhine again to finish what we left undone in 1945. That's the ticket.