Canada has upped the ante in its war of words with Boeing, the National Post reports.
Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan said Wednesday that the U.S. aerospace giant is no longer a “trusted partner.” Critics say the rhetoric is just an excuse for the Liberal government to not follow-through on a multi-billion dollar buy of the F-18 Super Hornet fighter jet. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to buy 18 plans as a stop-gap measure to replace the existing fleet of vintage CF-18 fighters originally procured by Trudeau’s father when he was prime minister in the early 1980s.
Boeing’s violation of the “trusted partnership” supposedly occurred when it criticized the business practices of Montreal’s Bombardier aircraft, a company that is chronically in facing financial disaster and has received billions of dollars of federal government assistance over the decades. Boeing says Bombardier’s government subsidies enables it to sell its competing aircraft at lower prices; the U.S. Commerce Department and International Trade Commission agreed with Boeing’s accusations and has initiated an investigation into Bombardier.
“It is not the behavior of a trusted partner,” Sajjan said during formal remarks at major defense trade show in Ottawa on Wednesday. He suggested that Boeing should cease and desist in its complaint because Canada must deal with “trusted trading partners.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has also chimed in with criticism of Boeing bu many see the tempest as over the top.
Conservative defense critic and Manitoba Member of Parliament James Bezan told The Daily Caller that the Boeing flap is just another chapter in Trudeau’s plan to do nothing about replacing the CF-18 inventory.
“The Liberals’ decision to pull our CF-18s out of the fight against ISIS, their discredited sole-source fighter jet purchase, and their failure to advance important procurement projects all suggest that Justin Trudeau has a naïve view of our military and expects other countries to do the heavy lifting,” he said.
Even if Canada signs the deal with Boeing, the anticipated $7 billion contract will only be a temporary fix. Trudeau has indicated that he would like to re-open the larger aircraft purchase to a bidding process, even though the successive Canadian governments, both Liberal and Conservative, had agreed to buy the F-35 joint strike fighter.