One day after Boeing filed its formal trade complaint against Montreal-based Bombardier, Australia was knocking at Canada's door wondering if the Trudeau government was interested in buying used fighter jets, newly released documents show.
Australia's military sales office sent a letter, dated April 28, 2017, through Australia's defence attache in Ottawa, "requesting an expression of interest" from Canada for "the purchase of surplus F-18" warplanes, said a written response, recently tabled in the House of Commons, to a question posed by the Opposition Conservatives.
When the letter arrived, the ink was barely dry on Chicago-based Boeing's incendiary trade complaint, which was filed with the U.S. Commerce Department on April 27, 2017.
At the time, the Trudeau government had been on track to purchase 18 brand new Super Hornet jet fighters from Boeing.
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan was evasive on Tuesday about whether a formal decision had been made to scrap the Boeing deal in favour of the Australian plan.
He wouldn't confirm a report by the Reuters news agency, citing three sources, which said an announcement giving the green light to the used jets would be made next week.
"I look forward to making the announcement at the appropriate time," Sajjan said following question period. (end of excerpt).
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