Canada’s recent foray into Libya demonstrates Harper government’s willingness to use violence to deal with international situations, even in contexts that have little relevance to Canada. In light of this it is unsurprising that Canada has been so loyal to the floundering F-35 jet project. The F-35 has little value in defending Canadian territory from incursions, but is a glitzy way for Canada’s neoconservative government to keep up with the Joneses (or the Bushes).
The F-35 could be a disaster for the Conservatives. If the F-35 turns out to be a successful project and a ‘useful’ war machine, the Conservatives will have to have stayed with the project to gain any political benefits from it. If they pull the plug too early they risk missing out on a good thing and losing the confidence of their hard core right wing supporters.
More likely however the project is either going to collapse, or to underperform. In this case the Conservatives lose both ways. If it collapses they will be criticised for staying loyal to a project with such a low liklihood of success, and wasting so much money on its development. If it goes ahead, they will be stuck with a project that is not fit for the purpose it was sold to the Canadian public with, and which will cost billions more to make suitable. Billions of dollars will have been diverted from more useful projects.
Even if the Conservatives stick with the F-35 project and the project goes ahead, they will need to continue to convince Canadians that Canada’s role in the world is to help the US and the UK enforce regime change in various parts of the world.