OTTAWA --- The Trudeau government’s plan to loosen federal procurement rules for the F-35 stealth fighter is sparking public warnings from other fighter-jet makers that it will ultimately hurt Canada.
The Liberals revealed earlier this month that they plan to ease industrial requirements for aerospace companies in the $19-billion competition to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s with 88 new fighter jets.
The government would essentially lift a long-standing requirement that companies bidding on major defence contracts make contractual commitments to spending some of the proceeds on Canadian goods and labour or have their bids tossed out.
The proposal followed U.S. complaints the criteria violated an agreement Canada signed in 2006 to become one of nine partner countries in the development of the F-35, which is being built by Lockheed Martin.
Yet executives from two of Lockheed’s rivals, Boeing and Saab, came out swinging against the plan on Wednesday, saying the previous policy has worked well — and that changing it could shortchange taxpayers and Canada’s aerospace industry.
“You’ve got a policy that’s been in place for decades and it’s been very successful for Canadian industry,” said Jim Barnes, director of business development in Canada for Boeing, which builds the Super Hornet fighter jet.
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“So why would you deviate from a policy that’s been so successful to accommodate a competitor?” (end of excerpt)
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