Friday, August 5, 2016

Canada not Required to provide a minimum number of jets to NATO: Report

OTTAWA — A Defence Department report says Canada is not required to provide a certain number of fighter jets to NATO, raising fresh questions about the Liberal government's rush to buy a new warplane.

The government has repeatedly stated the military does not have enough CF-18 fighter jets to both defend North America and fulfil its obligations to NATO, which is why a new airplane is needed sooner rather than later.

But a report published by National Defence's research arm in June 2014 says there is actually no minimum requirement for NATO, meaning any aircraft Canada does commit are completely optional.

A National Defence spokesman says while it's true NATO does not have a set minimum requirement for fighter jets, Canada nonetheless regularly commits aircraft to the alliance to ensure it remains strong and is able to meet any threat.

Defence analyst David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute says the report highlights the many questions that continue to swirl over the Liberal government's plan to buy a new fighter.

Critics have accused the Liberals of making up stories of a fighter-jet shortage to justify buying a new plane other than the F-35 stealth fighter without a competition.

The Canadian Press

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