There is another valid contender out there that the Canadian DND is totally ignoring for its CF-18 replacement.
That aircraft is the French Rafale.
Consider some of the features of the Rafale.
1.Buddy-refuel tanking like a Super Hornet
5.Joint with NATO coalition forces (networking) and combat ops.
To add to that, as the current government LOVES to bring up the most dangerous opponent NATO could ever face--Libya--the Rafale is proven in that combat op.
It has some downsides. Because the path to the Meteor long-range air-to-air missile and AESA are not complete, the Rafale might disqualify itself for not being ready at this moment. This is critical because if any real thinking person is involved in the process, CF-18s should be fully replaced by 2020.
Since no other country has bought a Rafale, Canada wouldn't have hard, realistic info on what the jet costs to procure and sustain.
In any event, the Rafale makes a much safer play than the high-risk F-35.
Which goes back to the fact that Canada should have a real competition for its CF-18 replacement.
The idea that nothing else but the F-35 can meet "DND's requirements", is the act of a person that is gullible or a person intent on defrauding the taxpayer.