Ignatieff pledges to review $16B jet contract
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, July 15, 2010 12:41PM EDT
OTTAWA - Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff says he'd put a $16-billion, sole-sourced contract to build a new generation of fighter jets on hold if he's elected prime minister.
Ignatieff is calling on the House of Commons defence committee to reconvene as soon as possible to examine what he calls the Tory government's "secretive, unaccountable decision to proceed with this contract."
He says the non-transparent, non-competitive contract to build the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is not in the cards when the Conservatives are also looking at cuts to Veterans Affairs.
Ignatieff says the Liberals would balance defence priorities and recognize that "defence commitments include serving the men and women of our armed forces when they return home."
Ignatieff said last month a Liberal government would review all military procurement to ensure a balance between defence, development and diplomacy after the Afghan combat mission ends.
Liberal Defence Critic Ujjal Dosanjh says the all-party committee will demand answers from Defence Minister Peter MacKay and question other potential bidders and procurement experts.
MacKay assured Parliament there would be a competitive process for the selection of new planes, but the Harper cabinet has reportedly decided to go with an untendered contract.