What is interesting is that the longer life of these planes will allow the Conservative government to delay making a decision on the F-35s. They can say: we don't need to be rushed, as our current fighters will last longer. This is good for the Conservatives since it allows them to kick the can down the road a wee bit further.... past the 2015 election. This program has been a major political challenge for the government, one where the NDP demonstrated a real competence on defence. Well, on this one area.
Of course, this is not fooling anyone. It does not take a year plus for Harper to figure out what he wants to do with the F-35/alternatives. He has had the report since spring, and he is not spending night and day pondering the RCAF's future. He is deferring because it is politically expedient.
We should not be shocked by this, nor the problems that may face the next not-Conservative government. The Super-Hornet option will eventually be off the table as the product line ends and the same may end up being true for the other alternatives. So, the F-35 may truly be the only option if Canada dithers long enough.
So, Harper can win be delaying and delaying and delaying. Which is why he appears to be able to be better than Beckham. Beckham's bendy kicks probably cannot go as far as Harper's can-kicking.
* The only political cartoon I could find that has Harper kicking something is pay per use. oy.