The RCAF base in Germany where I lived from age 13 to 17 was a fighter base. You could always tell the fighter pilots from the other personnel. They had a certain swagger and, of course, we teenage boys thought they were the coolest. The fighter squadrons today fly the aging CF-18 Hornets which the federal governments are/were supposed to be replacing with newer, state of the art airplanes. In the last election, Justin Trudeau pledged not to buy the F-35 stealth fighter which was the preferred option of the Harper government. So we’ve looked at, and rejected the idea of buying some brand new Super Hornets and on the table right now is a proposal to buy some used F-18 Hornets from Australia and convert them for our use. But whatever they end up buying, here’s the problem according to Canada’s Auditor General: We don’t have enough pilots to fly them or technicians to maintain them. You can’t just lay the blame on the Liberals because the problem dates back prior to 2015, but the current government appears to be dawdling on the issue as much as the previous government. We have a 22% shortage in F-18 technicians and some we do have aren’t fully qualified plus we lose more fighter pilots than we train each year and some we do have don’t get the required hours of flying time. Our defence minister, from my point of view, pays lip service to the problems while time drags on. On a bright note, if you’re a young person who’d love an Air Force career and you think you may have what it takes to be a fighter jock, this may be a good time to check it out at the nearest recruitment office. I’d be up for it but they don’t take people my age.
That’s Coffeetalk. I’m Vic Dubois.