TORONTO — Liberal party Leader Justin Trudeau is defending his plan to scrap the procurement of F-35 fighter jets as questions swirl over whether such a decision would be costly.
Trudeau was asked Monday while in Toronto whether he could commit to Canadians that cancelling the procurement would not result in extra costs.
In response, he said there is no contract requiring Canada to purchase any F-35s and that it no longer makes sense — if it ever did — to buy the planes when there are others that can be purchased for less.
Trudeau said Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has to be up front with Canadians and explain fully why the country needs the F-35, which experts say would cost taxpayers about $44 billion over the four-decade lifespan of the Lockheed Martin jets.
Campaigning in St. Jacobs, Ont., Harper said the Liberals are "living in a dream world" if they think they can halt the procurement and not run the risk of losing jobs, particularly in aerospace sector.
Trudeau made his comments Monday in downtown Toronto during a town hall-style rally, a day after he promised to cancel the Tory plan to purchase the planes and instead buy lower-cost aircraft and invest money saved into the Royal Canadian Navy.
Harper said Sunday that Canada needs the jet — including its first-strike stealth ability — in order to protect Canadians and help international allies in missions such as the current war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
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