By Carlo Munoz - 03/15/12 10:01 PM EDT
The comments came after Canadian defense leaders met in Washington earlier this month with representatives from the United States and the other seven JSF partner nations.
Aside from Canada and the United States, the other JSF partners are the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Australia, Denmark and Norway. Israel and Singapore are also planning to buy the advanced fighter, but are not considered part of the original nine JSF nations.
Prior to Fantino's remarks, Canada was considered one of the program's strongest partner nations, along with the U.K. and Australia.
Since Ottawa announced a plan to buy 65 fighters for $9 billion in 2010, rising costs and a raft of development problems have plagued the JSF program. Things got so bad in 2011 that then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates put one version of the plane being built for the Marine Corps on “probation” and threatened to cancel it unless they fixed the cost and schedule problems within two years.
Late last year, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta officially took the Marine Corps plane off probation. Recent reports, however, claim the JSF, considered the most expensive acquisition program in Pentagon history, is currently $150 billion over budget, based on initial cost estimates.