Trudeau’s Pro-China Policy Might Affect CF-18 Replacements

(Photo: David Krayden/The Daily Caller)

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau once declared China to have the economy that he most admired.

His admiration for the authoritarian communist superpower is endangering Canada’s relationship with the superpower that it’s closest to: the United States. The federal government is seeking a bilateral free trade agreement with China and in its determination to accomplish that goal, is allowing China greater access to Canadian markets than ever before.

The recent sale of the Vancouver-based Norsat to China has angered the congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, with its chairman Michael Wessel raising the red flag of security concerns and telling The Globe and Mail, that “Canada’s approval of the ale of Norsat to a Chinese entity raises significant national security concerns for the United States as the company is a supplier to our military.”

During Monday’s question period in the Canadian House of Commons, Conservative defense critic and Manitoba Member of Parliament James Bezan asked, “will the government be purchasing replacements for the CF-18 fleet from its friends in communist China?”

The defense minister wasn’t in the House and his parliamentary secretary side-stepped the question, merely repeating the pledge from last week’s defense policy review that promises to “replace the Cf-18 fleet with 88 advanced fighter aircraft through an open and transparent competition.”

Bezan told The Daily Caller that Trudeau might be running out of options. Trudeau nixed Lockheed Martin’s F-35 join strike fighter as the replacement the previous Conservative and former Liberal governments both approved to as the successor to the CF-18. Now he is refusing to do business with Boeing because the aviation giant criticized Montreal-based Bombardier aircraft for the massive government subsidies it receives — from Trudeau’s Liberals.

“The Chinese are developing a twin-engined, stealth jet fighter. The government continues to sell companies to China and these acquisitions should be going through security reviews. So it’s not that far-fetched to envision this government going to China for a fighter replacement.”

In the interim, Bezan believes the Liberals will fly the CF-18s past their ultimate life-expectancy date, which they will reach in 2025. “That will certainly put the lives of the pilots in danger.”

Bezan says the government should stick with the F-35, because the decision to do so was made in a non-partisan spirit and because the aircraft will be interoperable with Canada’s principle allies: the U.S., Britain and Australia. He points to a CTV interview conducted with the former chief of the defense staff, retired Gen. Tom Lawson, who said the F-35 was “the way ahead.”

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