The recent Canadian budget has stated that the CF-18 replacement has to be available for operations at home and abroad.
Any strike-fighter deployment package will be small and while helpful will be part of a bigger coalition effort. 10-12 combat ready aircraft (this includes spare aircraft) may be what is needed in order for Canada to deploy within a reasonable amount of time.
If the CF-18 replacement can buddy-tank (Super Hornet / Rafale) then 3 buddy tank kits would be recommended for the deployment. This would give greater operational flexibility by being able to go places the dedicated tanker aircraft could not.
And again, I suspect that 65 strike-fighters for the DND as a grand total number will not do if operations abroad are a real requirement. 72 is probably the bare minimum when considering home defense commitments, training, test and maintenance down time and deployment options.
Look through this list of possible deployment options for a CF-18 replacement and add your own ideas as you see fit.
1. Japan: as an added air-defense and naval warfare patrol operation in the event of increased North Korean tensions.
2. Philippines: as an air-defense and naval warfare patrol operation in the event of tensions over the Spratly Islands.
3. Alaska/U.S.: as an air defense operation the event USAF resources are short due to deployments world-wide.
4. Italy: as an air defense and naval warfare patrol operation in the event of various Mediterranean region (Balkans/North Africa) tensions.
5. Kuwait: as an air defense and naval warfare patrol operation in the event of increased tensions in that region.
Yes, "strike" is an option there. However in some cases, if the build up is fast enough, it is possible that this will make the potential threat decide to back down.
Canada has to make a firm determination if operations abroad are really needed for a CF-18 replacement. If not, there is some money to be saved.