Mr. Speaker, I would like an update on the government's plans to replace our fighter jets.
Like me, Canadians would really like to hear some concrete details on what exactly is going on with the secretariat. Has there been any progress on this file? Canadians would really like to have some concrete details on this matter.
La Presse revealed recently that Public Works and Government Services Canada is considering a short-term alternative besides the F-35 to replace the CF-18s.
The government has finally recognized the delays and serious problems associated with the production of that aircraft. It realizes that perhaps we need to take action now to ensure that we do not end up with a fleet that is too old to fly in a few years' time, without any replacements waiting in the wings. The situation is becoming more and more critical.
For months, or even years now, we have been telling the government over and over that it needs to have a plan B, since plan A appears to have some serious holes in it.
Many participating countries have withdrawn from the program and others have put their military procurement strategies on hold. Still others have scaled back their order to adjust to the new production costs.
The government continued the charade, insisting that everything was fine, openly and without shame here in this House. Over the past several months, the program has become quite a joke.
When my colleagues and I said that this program was a fiasco, the minister said:
The member...is stuck in...misinformation and misrepresentation about the benefits to Canada of the F-35 program.
Misinformation and misrepresentation: all the minister's and the government's statements on this issue turned out to be misinformation. No government member ever apologized for misleading Canadians and this House.
For more than six years, the Conservatives have shown us, step by step and point by point, what not to do when it comes to military procurement. They did not have a bidding process for the F-35s. They did not provide any formal guarantee of the industrial spinoffs or any formal guarantee of jobs. They hid the $10 billion overrun in total costs. And more importantly, no one has taken responsibility yet.
The KPMG report released in December highlighted the Conservatives' bad management, just as the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the Auditor General and the NDP did previously. We have been talking about this issue for months.
Yet a short time ago, the Minister of National Defence said that the total cost to acquire the F-35s would be $9 billion. Those who said otherwise were just making their numbers up.
He also said that there was no need for a bidding process because the F-35 was the only option that would provide our troops with the best possible equipment.
We know that the cost of the F-35s has mushroomed, and the Conservatives have no plan B because they selected a sole supplier. We also know that everything the Conservatives said about the F-35s was misleading and false.
How much misinformation, how many false statements, how many internal accounting documents are still hidden away in the offices of the two ministers responsible for this file?
I would also like to know whether the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence can provide any useful details about the secretariat's progress.
Have they visited manufacturing facilities lately? Have there been discussions about alternatives?
I am sure that Canadians would be happy to know any meaningful details he can provide.