The Canadian media sure has been busy lately reporting on the F-35 cost estimate "fiasco, mess, debacle, crisis, catastrophe, etc, etc", and I've been pouring over these articles trying to find how much money we have actually physically spent on the F-35 program to date. Thus far all I can seem to find is a few hundred million forked out by the Chretien Liberals when they originally signed us up at the beginning of this joint development project with our military allies. This fiasco is much ado about estimates, as Lockheed Martin has slowly boggled the project. Andrew Coyne has called this "a spectacular illustration of how our system of government has gone to hell". Ivison says Canadians were played for fools. It looks like the National Post asked every writer on staff to write a rant about this "crisis" with a different apocalyptic synonym in the title.
Perhaps the government should have admitted that the project was going sideways a few months earlier, but I'm willing to wager that Lockheed Martin hasn't exactly been completely honest about the state of affairs thus far. They stand to lose quite a lot of money if the program crashes completely and would be providing their customers with the most optimistic appraisals of the project. If there is a silver lining in all of this "mess", it's that the program has crashed and burned before we actually bought the damned planes! Unlike the BC NDP dropping half a billion dollars on Fast Ferries, which we did not learn until after they were in the water that they did not meet requirements and were God awful machines.
The worst part of the "F-35 Fiasco" is that our timeline for acquiring jets to replace our dying fleet has been set back. I'd suggest buying second hand equipment from the British, but that didn't work out too well for the Chretien Liberals. It does underscore how terrible the previous government was at military procurements. They cancelled a contract for helicopters that it turned out we actually needed, they signed us up for the F-35 program which now suddenly doomed to failure, and those second hand submarines they bought have been a disaster. For crying out loud, we didn't even get those boats back to Canada before one caught fire, killing a sailor! The Conservatives inherited a mess from the previous government, and have tried to make the best of a bad situation.
If a dispute over cost estimates and project specifications is the worst F35-gate has to offer, it is still an upgrade over Liberal government.