About time! Not only have the costs become unsustainable but so have the contradictions in the policy. Saying the short-ranged, single engine plane is for Arctic Sovereignty when it was designed with multilateral military operations mind has always been a problem for the Harper government. Why need a stealth aircraft which is designed to penetrate airspace to defend the homeland? Sure, it might be handy but hardly necessary. And the reality of stealth is $$$. I remember all the stories in the 1980's and 1990's about special hangars to protect the skins of the US stealth fighters and bombers. Note that whenever the US uses the stealth bomber, they fly out of the US and never base abroad. This has everything to do with the difficult maintenance that these kinds of planes require.*
* No, I am not an expert on military aircraft, so take what I say with a grain of invisible salt.The Harper government should not be criticized for changing its mind, if it indeed does so. Learning should not be punished. However, having a messed up procurement process can and should be criticized. The problems with the F-35 are not just Canadian ones, of course, as the spiral has been driven by American designs, but how the Canadians have dealt with the F-35 seems not to be that different from other flawed processes.
Of course, if the reports are true and Canada turns away from the F-35, this will have a big impact on the rest of the consortium of F-35 buyers: the costs of buying the plane will go up due to economics of scale in reverse AND the costs of defecting from the program go down as fave US ally Canada opened the door by doing first.
I will have more to say about this in various places over the next few days, so let me know what I am getting wrong.
UPDATE: Check out my post at Atlantic Council