Your Money Gone to War – Kiss your $600 goodbye

When is the next time Canada will need fighter jets over Canada? Good question, and I don’t think anyone really knows. We do not have a realistic expectation of using fighter jets in a war (or cold war), in the next 5 years, I’d suggest. History suggests that we’ll not need to for up to 50 more years.

Despite that, Peter MacKay and Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have spent $16,000,000,000.00** of your tax dollars on new planes. How much are you paying over the next 5 years in taxes for these planes and their upkeep?

There are more than 34,000,000 Canadians. Not all pay taxes because some are kids, work on reserves with First Nations treaty cards, or have other valid reasons for not paying income taxes on work. Let’s assume there are 25,000,000 tax paying Canadians (which is overly generous there are 24M apparently. I’ve adjusted the calculation below, which gives an eerie new answer).

$16,000,000,000.00 / 24,000,000 Canadians = $666/Canadian
Divide that over 5 years, and your bill is no less than $133/year.

Look for it on your taxes. For some reason, Harper will have a harder time balancing* the budget, and there will be no reduction in taxes you pay as a result.

But wait! Surely these fighters will increase our capacity to fight overseas? Not really, these planes have no Canadian aircraft carrier to deliver them to where we fight wars (not in Canada). In short, these planes are being bought as a gift to the American arms industry. And don’t you feel safer now?

*Yes, Harper has never actually balanced the budget, but it gets spun that way sometimes.

**UPDATE: These figures are very low, after the Conservatives fell on CONTEMPT for hiding the true numbers which are approximately double (WITHOUT ENGINES)!

UPDATE II: The USA might pull out of the contract before Canada!

UPDATE III: AG slams Conservatives, including the Prime Minister. Deception is not allowed in Parliament.

23 responses to “Your Money Gone to War – Kiss your $600 goodbye

  1. We need a respectable up-to-date military presence in order not to be lightly pushed around and seriously tried by the likes of any Russia, America, China, or even little Denmark when they think about claiming an Arctic Island.
    Remember in high school when it was always the wimpy (and wimpy appearing) kid that gets ‘tested’ by most of other kids, let alone any top bully? Same principle is at work here.
    The U.S., let a stream of terrorism slide relatively unpunished until the embolded attack of 9/11. Pearl Harbour probably would not have happened either had it not been for their ill-prepared reluctance as displayed in WW1.

  2. Are you defending the purchase of these jets though, or arguing for an up to date military presence in Canada or abroad? They are two different things. These jets are the equivalent of buying a set of knives for a bomb fight. They are American jets, they are tactically next to useless in a skirmish against Americans, as the Americans would be able to remotely shut them down.

  3. We could be nuked out of existence if it ever came down to it – by multiple countries. I’m arguing for not allowing ourselves to “look & act like a Dion or a Mister Dithers” upon the int’l stage. Who knows, maybe North Korea would take a quick shot at us if they thought WE were a weak link within the developed world.

  4. Unfortunately Saskboy we need this hardware. We have used the F-18s operationally overseas twice – Iraq and Serbia. They have also been instrumental in patrolling Canadian airspace, the national sovereignty mission.

    Canada is embarking on what promises to be a highly unstable and dangerous century. From climate change and warming driven migration, desertification, deforestation and salination to resource depletion to species extinction to the persistently understated freshwater crisis to nuclear proliferation and the prospect for terrorism fueled by the gap between “haves” and “have not” states, we probably would be smart not to take our defence posture for granted as we have in the past.

    What troubles me is whether we’re not being blindly herded into an aircraft option that suits the United States but is far less suitable to the needs of the “junior partners.” When you don’t design and build your own aircraft to your own specifications, everything is an off-the-shelf compromise. Canada has wound up saddled with some pretty unusable hardware that way. Is the F-35 another of these only with a much higher price tag? We have to ask the right questions, a lot of them, before we can have a reliable answer to that.

    The F-35 appeals to some military, industrial and political elites because it is “leading edge” state-of-the-art. Yet the past decade has surely taught us how stupid we are to rely on technological superiority. We have our backward Afghan opponents completely outmatched in firepower, communications and even numbers – and it doesn’t matter a bit to the outcome. Armed with Korean War-vintage small arms and simple explosives, the Talibs are kicking our asses.

  5. Which argument Ridenrain, and why do you think that?

    CQ, having a set of useless weapons is not going to intimidate our enemies, most of whom can’t launch a plane into our airspace for our immobile fighters to engage with! We have to rely on US or ally sea transport to mobilize our 60+ fighters to where they can engage foreign threats. A single engine plane is not desirable for work in the far north either, leaving pilots reliant on one, instead of two engines.

    The dithering started back with the Liberals years ago, and has gotten worse with the Conservatives in that they’ve ordered the wrong equipment!

    MOS, I don’t agree. Are these fighters intended to fly overseas and back after launching attacks? Your last paragraphs invalidate the need for this sort of hardware. We need something, yes. Do we need THESE planes? Absolutely not 65 of them, if any.

  6. Maillet’s arguments in favor of UAVs are reasonable, but present armed UAVs (aka UCAV: unmanned combat air vehicle) are really only viable at ground-strike roles, and really only against lightly armed forces with little or no anti-aircraft capability.

    They’re slow, and they probably wouldn’t be as effective at the Arctic sovereignty missions that are expected to be bread-and-butter for the military in coming decades. The F-35s can do the patrol-and-intercept (mainly the latter) much better. This is a semi-informed guess on my part, but it would be hard to get any reasonable number of 300 km/h UAVs to do the same job as a supercruising multirole fighter.

    As for tender and other fighter options, Australia recently bought F/A-18E/F Super Hornets for nearly the same unit price, and only as a bridge between their archaic F-111 fleet and their own upcoming F-35 order.

    There are almost no competitive fighter-interceptors: the F-22 costs more and does less (but is a great fighter jet); the Sukhoi PAK FA is not available now, may never be available to Canada, and will probably cost about the same as the F-35 when it starts shipping. That’s it. The Saab Gripen, maybe: it costs a bit less and can do much less.

    This is also the Canadian option: Canada has been a partner in the F-35 program since its evaluation phase, and hundreds of millions of dollars (eventually projected to be about $5 billion over the life of the plane) of work has been contracted to Canadian companies.

  7. The key word is “future”. The war technology of the future is not today’s. We’re buying too much old technology, at a time when we really don’t need it (and I’ll gladly eat my words if Canada is attacked by planes on home soil in the next decade). We can see the future of supersonic warfare by air, and the F-35 is not it. It’s 20th Century thinking in an expensive package.

  8. You’re all missing a key point. This was a no-bid contract. In other words, a giveaway. A money dump. A sucker’s deal. No incentive to provide good value for the money. None of all the other good things that the free market is said to produce, and sometimes actually does — if it’s allowed to.

    The contract should be immediately canceled, and then put up for competitive bidding. Who knows? Maybe the same people will get it. But I bet we’ll get more with a little bit of good old capitalist competition.

  9. You take out Chinese aircraft carriers with subs if you don’t have any of your own…and if N.Korea violates NORAD airspace..bye-bye Souel and S.Korea is an island. I’m thinking the Terminator threat from UAV could be a little real which means Edmonton’s nanotech lab needs to find safeguards using Waterloo’s secure communications quantum tech.
    The CF-18s were for fighting a Soviet first strike, we can still bomb Iraqis and Slobidan with them if we for some reason, choose. As soon as the Taliban figured out to add a civilian to their travels (making some nice hash on the way) the entire West’s airforce became useless and I’m more worried about UAVs than I think they are our friends. Our scientists invented the U2 55 years ago for the USA and I still don’t think we have any spy planes to spot whoever our F-35s are going to run out of gas to be detroyed by 2020s superior Chinese/Russian air-to-air missiles (we have to buy those from USA separately I assume). Boeing and Lockheed make desalination equipment we can give to AB to drink.

  10. Interesting observations and predictions Flippingout.

    Sunsin, I certainly didn’t miss that point either, I state right in my post that this is a gift to Lockheed Martin.

  11. I guess the question is, if we need to use these aircraft in an air-to-air paying extra for the stealth is necessary. But I don’t think we need to, especially without a carrier.
    Romania was gonna buy 24 aircraft (that I think are similiar to F-35 performance) for $3.5B and instead went with second hand F-16s for $800M. Why don’t we buy everyone else’s aircraft who buys these? A used carrier or two too (maybe $10B new vs $2B used), but I can’t imagine who we would need to project our power against.
    I cry BS when ignorant military/industrial complex airforce lobbyists claim F-35 will last decades. I know materials science and microchip improvements will render them obsolete in 15 years (ie. 2033) tops. Then when everyone buys whatever India and China make (unless they start giving 58% of their income gains to the richest 1% and economically collapse too like USA), why not buy aircraft then too.
    When Harper went to the North, the power failed during his photo op because some melt water creeped over rocks into a powerplant or transformer or something. Electricity is necessary to defend the North and they fixed it with a driftwood dam. If we were smart we’d have 10% of power from wind and be cornering wave tech with export restrictions as our foreign policy.
    It is like buying the newest computer for work vs just buying a cheapo model that is yrs obsolete, every few yrs. And right now, without a clear enemy (ex. Auzzies have Indonesia, China, India…) we are just downloading porn.

  12. Someday, fighter-interceptors will be obsolete. The first time their obsolescence was assumed was the Korean War, when the US bought into the theory that all you needed was Mach 2 and missiles, and eventually you wouldn’t need the planes at all.

    That turned out not to be true.

    The lifespan of military airframes has been RISING, not falling, almost since WW1. Materials science may change this somewhat, but note that the previous generation of notable fighter jets are 1970s designs, and that is what the F-35 will be replacing around the world (the CF-18 first flew in 1978). Upgrading the electronics and software of the F-35 over its lifespan is part of the plan.

    As for bid tendering, no other airplane would meet the spec. If you put the contract to tender now, it would be very simple: Lockheed would submit the only bid, and they’d raise the price.

    There is an element of writing the tender to the desire, certainly, in the fact that only the F-35 meets the current spec. But it’s the plane the forces want, it’s the best balance of price and performance out there, and there are no UAV alternatives that do what a fighter-interceptor will.

  13. Leaving aside all of the other problems with this purchase, what’s also troubling is that Canada used to be leaders in airplane technology, and now we’re buying American because the Pentagon tells us that’s what we have to buy. We also used to be leaders in warfare, and now we’re not even predicting the present, much less the future of war. But those quibbles are dwarfed by the more immediate concern that Canadians would not agree to each spend $600+ on fighter planes that will never see combat on home soil.

  14. During Swine Flu our Health Minister openly questioned whether the federal government should be procuring soap. And the issue wasn’t the alcohol content of soap in remote Reserves, it was pure small-G small brain big finance/oil corporate profits, retardology. Whoever we are going to Iraq with these F-35s, why not buy 10x as many? Why not 100x? Our purchase is similiar to our CF-18 purchase, but that was made to counter a very real Cold War.
    Jeremy Hotz once joked Americans elected GWB in 2004 and failed the test despite having a perfect cheat sheet. Well we are failing it what, three times with cheat sheets? You make me sick, literally.

  15. ….last comment about fighter jet “investment”. If we wait until the 6th-8th generation models to halt this arms race it will be too late to stop very real UAV security issues. We were the country to stop it until we all turned into Reformers. I looked for the news articles where Leona questioned why feds should buy soap in a pandemic, in either Apr or May 2009, and I can’t find it; completely gone, nor can I find any MSM criticism beyond the body bag thingy. So we can’t learn from our mistake not to haggle, not to let Health Ministers in that don’t know epidemiology, not to let creationist (ie. civilization must end) science Ministers in….we need a new MSM, say take the top bloggers of all stripes across the world and throw them into a 24 Sun-type mag…
    this is horseshit “National Defense”. Feds just announced $6.6M to Prairies for water adaptation to AGW while shredding a report demonstrating oil sands tarp onds leaching of cancer causing materials. Is a criminal act, not just negigence. In addition to an Indian Reserve at Chippawan, who else will get cancer and when will parts of AB need bottled water imports and maybe relocation? Sick country.

  16. I was at the $6.6M announcement at the UofR yesterday. I restrained myself instead of heckling Anderson and Duncan for now admitting that there’s Climate Change, after their parties denied its impact less than 3 years ago (and arguably still do deny it).

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