Tories Convert Russian-Bomber Incident Into Pitch For Expensive New Fighter Jets

Posted on Tuesday, August 03 at 10:36 by NAUWATCH

By Daniel Leblanc

The Conservative publicity machine scrambled into action as a common confrontation between Canadian and Russian military planes turned into a campaign for $16-billion in new fighter jets.

The story started on Wednesday when NORAD officials spotted two incoming planes, identified as Russian TU-95 long-range bombers, heading toward Labrador.

The aircraft never entered Canadian territory, which starts 200 nautical miles outside of the land border, but they were clearly within the 300-nautical-mile “buffer zone,” according to Canadian defence officials.

Two CF-18s scrambled out of CFB Bagotville, Que., and started shadowing the Russian planes about 50 nautical miles outside the Canadian territory, until they headed northeast and out of the “area of interest.”

While similar incidents occur 12 to 18 times a year, a story on the confrontation appeared on Friday morning in the Sun Media chain. Within a few hours, the Conservative Party issued talking points on the matter designed to boost the Harper government’s plan to buy Joint Strike Fighter F-35 fighter jets to start replacing the CF-18s in 2017.

“This incident demonstrates why it is vitally important for the Canadian Armed Forces to have the best technology and equipment available,” the Conservative Party said.

The Conservatives went on to attack the Liberal opposition, which has vowed to put the purchase on hold and re-evaluate the CF-18 replacement program if it comes to power.

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