MacKay defends F-35 program, gov't denies deal is dead

Canada's Defence Minister Peter MacKay. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)

Canada's Defence Minister Peter MacKay. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)

Daniel Proussalidis, Parliamentary Bureau

, Last Updated: 5:27 PM ET

OTTAWA — Defence Minister Peter MacKay is under fire following reports that new cost estimates for the F-35 stealth fighter to be tabled next week will show 65 planes possibly costing more than $40 billion over their 42-year life cycle.

With the new figure much higher than the $25 billion over 20 years that defence department officials first estimated, and some media incorrectly reporting the feds have already nixed the F-35 purchase, the Liberals called for MacKay's head.

"I don't see how the minister of defence can possibly continue in his job," interim leader Bob Rae said. "He's basically been a salesperson for the manufacturers of the F-35 since he took office."

The NDP also took for granted the F-35 program is dead, something the Conservative government strenuously denies.


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