F-35 a jobs machine? Not likely, eh?

According to the latest advertisements from Lockheed Martin, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter “brings billions of dollars in job-creating contracts to over 70 Canadian companies.” A quick analysis of these advertising statements proves how false they are (Steven Staples, “F-35 a Jobs Machine? Not Likely, Eh?,” The Tyee, 16 March 2014).

Gone is the Top Gun-inspired shot of fighters banking through the clouds, replaced by a main photo of a guy in blue-collared coveralls and safety glasses plugging gizmos into a giant circuit board. The message, in case you missed it from the photo, is spelled out in the ad copy for you: “Job Security for Me, National Security for Canada.” Clever, eh?

But this sales pitch for the F-35 doesn’t pass the smell test for so-called “truth in advertising.” If you read the fine print, you might be reminded of that Conservative government advertising blitz to promote the benefits if its national jobs program — a program that, as it turned out, doesn’t actually exist.

“It brings billions of dollars in job-creating contracts to over 70 Canadian companies,” boasts Lockheed Martin’s ad.

Really? First of all, Canada has not bought the planes yet, so saying it “brings” contracts is inaccurate. A more accurate sales pitch would say it “might bring” contracts to Canada, if Lockheed Martin executives decide to send a few deals our way.

You see, Lockheed Martin has been clear that without an order for aircraft, Canada shouldn’t be expecting any investment or contract bonanza in Canada. And even if we decide to buy F-35s, there are no investment or job-creation guarantees.

And what about this promise of “billions of dollars” in contracts? That’s pure speculation too.

As a partner country in the U.S.-led F-35 project, along with seven other countries vying for contracts from the American builder, Canada agreed to forgo the usual dollar-for-dollar requirement for foreign defence suppliers to invest an amount of money in Canada equal to the value of the contract. Big mistake.

You can read Steven Staples’s full opinion piece on the new advertisements online through The Tyee.

Photo credit: USAF

Tags: Arms industry, Canada, Canadian defence policy, Canadian Forces, Canadian foreign policy, Canadian military spending, Defence lobby, Defence policy, F-35, F-35s, Joint Strike Fighter, Lockheed Martin, Military procurement, Stephen Harper