Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows full well that we would never mislead her. Everything I have to say tonight is the truth and shows what we are doing to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force's CF-18 fleet.
The new story of the replacement program, which is already well known throughout the country, begins in the spring of 2012 with the Auditor General's report.
He gave a detailed report. It has been discussed in this place. It made a particular point about full life-cycle costs for the F-35 and the need to calculate them properly to make sure they were full life-cycle costs, not a practice previously undertaken either for fighter jets or other acquisitions in National Defence. We accepted that recommendation immediately.
However, we went beyond it and put together a seven-point plan that included action on that recommendation but represented a restart of this program, a program that had not really begun because money had not been spent to buy a new aircraft to replace the CF-18. We were still some years away from an actual acquisition.
We froze funding on the acquisition. We established the seven-point plan.
We established a secretariat to complete the work that the government has to do as part of this new plan. This is not just any kind of secretariat with a few employees. It is led by a number of ministers and has a governance committee led by very reputable deputy ministers from the public service of Canada. To some extent, it resembles the secretariat that successfully ran the program to replace our naval ships.
Then surprise, surprise, the work done already by the secretariat has borne fruit. I am not going to give all the credit to public servants serving the Government of Canada now because there are independent experts who are taking part in the work of this governance committee: Denis Desautels, a former Auditor General of Canada, very distinguished; and Dr. Kenneth Norrie, a former university president.
The House knows very well what their work has achieved so far. In December, two ministers presented some of that work: the DND annual report on costs; the KPMG independent review of those costs, including the forward-looking cost estimate framework; as well as an Industry Canada update on the industrial opportunities already accruing to Canada through the joint strike fighter program, of which we remain a member.
There has been a lot of rhetoric, and a lot of misinformation has been spread about the costs. They now cover a 42-year life-cycle. They still represent the 65 F-35s, which are candidate aircraft for the acquisition. However, the costs have in effect not changed. KPMG and DND confirm the acquisition would be about $9 billion, and the running costs about $1 billion a year.
What do we have to do next? Obviously, under the seven points, an options analysis still needs to be done. That is detailed work taking place in the secretariat. We are going to leave to them the task of carrying that work forward. It is going to relate to a full range of choices and outline the advantages and disadvantages of each choice. We set aside the statement of requirements for the fighter aircraft that had been previously used. We are going to assess—