MONTREAL — A parliamentary committee is demanding that Ottawa ensure an open bidding process for new military surveillance planes, rather than a sole-source contract.
Echoing calls from the premiers of Ontario and Quebec, the House of Commons defence committee passed a motion Thursday that asks the federal government to put out a request for proposals before it chooses a replacement for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s CP-140 Aurora — maritime patrol planes set to retire in 2030 after a half-century of service.
For months, Bombardier CEO Éric Martel has been pushing Ottawa to formally ask for tenders as he promotes the Montreal-based company’s reconnaissance aircraft over a Boeing Co. alternative, the P-8A Poseidon — the apparent front-runner.
Bombardier joined forces earlier this year with U.S.-based General Dynamics on a patrol aircraft, a modified version of its Global 6500 business jet with submarine-hunting technology. The first plane is not expected to role off the assembly line until the early 2030s.
Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne has stopped short of saying whether competition will be open, with no bidding process for the contract officially selected so far.
Simon Page, an assistant deputy minister of defence and marine procurement, told the defence committee Tuesday that Boeing’s Poseidon was the best aircraft to meet Canada’s operational needs.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 10, 2023.
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The Canadian Press