AIAC urges vote against F-35 motion
Nov. 19, 2010, Ottawa - The association representing the interests of the Canadian aerospace industry across the country is calling on members of Parliament to vote against the motion that would cancel the planned purchase of the F-35 aircraft.
The Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) is also critical of the lack of facts and understanding of the benefits related to the acquisition of the F-35 Lightening II fighter aircraft as demonstrated by the motion put forward today in the House of Commons.
"To say that by cancelling the current process and starting from scratch would somehow result in a greater number of jobs for our industry and without penalties is not only a stretch but it is completely misleading," stated Claude Lajeunesse, President and CEO of the AIAC. "The instability in the Canadian industry on this issue is creating a climate whereby jobs and investment are being threatened if not lost already".
The AIAC takes issue with the motion that states the Direct Industrial Participation which underpins the purchase of the F-35 would "create fewer jobs" than theIndustrial and Regional Benefits (IRB) approach. It demonstrates a serious lack of understanding of aerospace and defence related issues.
"The IRB policy – the traditional approach to procurement policy when buying military equipment off-the-shelf – would result in guaranteed offset investments equivalent to the cost of the aircraft evaluated at only $4.8 Billion (USD), not $9 Billion as suggested by some." said Mr. Lajeunesse. "Cancellation and delay of this purchase will not only mean lost jobs and investment related to the 65 planes, but also billions of dollars and thousands of Canadian jobs lost relating to thousands of planes to be built as part of the broader program," he continued.
While the industry is pleased with the recent improvements brought to the IRB policy by the Minister of Industry, the concept of Direct Industrial Participation will provide companies with opportunities to compete for the production of 3000 to 5000 aircraft as Canada is a full participant in the F-35 program along with eight other countries. This amount represents more than $12 Billion in opportunities on the partner's fleet only, excluding those related to sustainment and foreign military sales.
"The projects generated to date already place Canadian companies in prime position to reap benefits – once the high rate of production starts – worth more than the minimum that would be guaranteed for capital equipment under the IRB approach." said Mr. Lajeunesse. "We need to move forward on this critical investment for our military and for our industry in order to continue to reap the benefits from being part of this international program."
The aerospace industry is one of Canada's leading high-tech industries and a source of pride for all Canadians. AIAC urges political parties to work together at ensuring it continues to thrive on the world stage.
"We urge Members of Parliament to support the future of our aerospace industry and the 150,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs it generates by voting against this motion" concluded Mr. Lajeunesse.