POLITICS

NDP hears from experts at F-35 costs 'information session'

08/21/2012 03:06 EDT | Updated 10/21/2012 05:12 EDT
New Democrats held a half-day "information session" Tuesday on the F-35 fighter jets contract to hear from witnesses it was unable to bring before a parliamentary committee before it was suspended by partisan battles in June.

The NDP was able to put off until the fall a Conservative motion to end public hearings into the auditor general's report on the F-35, which accused the Department of National Defence of hiding the full cost of the next-generation fighter jet by playing down the estimated $10 billion in operational expenses.

The government is planning to release an independent assesment of the cost estimates in the fall, but the NDP's Malcolm Allen said the committee could return at that time to call more witnesses, including government ministers.

In the meantime, the party called several experts for today's hearing: U.S. national security expert and former Government Administration Office staffer Winslow Wheeler, University of Ottawa professor Philippe Lagasse, former Defence associate deputy minister Alan Williams and Esprit de Corps editor and publisher Scott Taylor.

The NDP's session was moderated by Allen, and includes caucus members Matthew Kellway, Jack Harris, Christine Moore and Lysane Blanchette Lamothe.

Read a recap of Kady O'Malley's liveblog below. Mobile users, follow the liveblog here.