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Canada has made another payment towards F-35 fighter jets to the chagrin of activists like David Suzuki. The Globe and Mail reports that Canada is one of nine countries that has agreed to pay the cost of Lockheed Martin’s developments to purchase planes for a cheaper price. The federal government has given over US$613 million to the company since 1997. The investment comes as Canada is set to announce its plans to buy 88 new planes at an expected cost of $19-billion. The Conservatives under then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced plans in 2010 to purchase 65 F-35 fighter jets that later fell through when the price was disclosed. Canada paid US$71.7-million annually to remain tethered to the F-35 project, which garnered discounts on the purchase cost and avoided competition for billions of dollars in contracts. However, the Trudeau Liberals promised open and fair competition during the 2015 federal election campaign, citing concerns that the F-35 could be too expensive to operate. Defence Department procurement chief Troy Crosby said that the federal government remains on track to finish evaluating the three bids later this year, with a contract signed next year.

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