QP Live: The tale of the F-35’s single engine

Your daily dose of political theatre
Adrian Wyld/CP
Adrian Wyld/CP

Let’s cast about for things that might come up in this afternoon’s Question Period. Oh, hey, on top of vaunted aggregator National Newswatch is a report that the F-35 is the wrong fighter jet for Canada. The next-generation fighter flies on just a single engine, a tricky situation if that engine fails. Twin-engine alternatives are safer, says the report. That sounds pretty persuasive. Canada’s fleet of aging CF-18s needs replacing. And the prospective F-35 program’s arguably exorbitant cost preoccupied parliamentarians for months in 2012. The government eventually “reset” the procurement process in search of the ideal airplane. The F-35 may still be that plane. This all sounds like the kind of old-is-new issue that could stir up a House of Commons that’s argued about the same four or five issues since New Year’s Day.

But, wait, who wrote the report? Michael Byers, the Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia. What’s probably worth a look is the rest of the research chair’s resume: namely, that he ran for the NDP in 2008. This is no grand left-wing conspiracy, not by any stretch, but Byers served as B.C. campaign co-chair for NDP Leader Tom Mulcair’s leadership campaign (see that quietly noted here). His findings ought to be argued on their merits, but Byers’ bias is worth checking.

Maclean’s is your home for the daily political theatre that is Question Period. If you’ve never watched, check out our primer. Today, QP runs from 2:15 p.m. until just past 3. We?livestream?and?liveblog all the action.