Typhoon is the perfect fit for Canada.The apparent procrastination in the timing of actually bringing planes into service isn't because of a reluctance to pick the F-35. The delays were mainly because of the original decision to pick the F-35 back in the early 2010s, before the government of the day back-pedalled on it. The schedule for replacement of the F-18s was constructed entirely around the most favourable schedule for the F-35.
When F-35 development faced repeated lengthy delays with no resolution in sight however, the government were forced into contracting for several series of major upgrades to be done to the F-18 by an aerospace contractor in Montreal. Australia had their F-18s receive some of the same upgrades in Canada by the way, and they also bought some newer model F-18s to supplement the existing fleet (Canada was going to do the same, but then got into a pissing match with Boeing over other critical issues).
The much delayed F-35 development, combined with the upgrades to the F-18s, reset the replacement schedule to the mid 2020s, again to present the most favourable case for the F-35, as that was when it was scheduled to be in peak production and so offer the lowest price.
Officially though, Harper refused to make a final decision as he found the whole subject just too politically unpalatable. This was especially the case after LM had made him look like a complete muppet to the public by feeding him deliberately misleading information on costs when he personally intervened to try to sort things out.
This was the situation and the timeline the current government inherited when they came to power at the end of 2015. By that point the timing was fixed by factors resulting from previous decisions, and what was left to them was to provide a decision process that would operate within that timeline while meeting the legal requirements as laid down in the Auditor General's Report.
If instead of making everything try to fit what was most convenient for the F-35, we had instead simply picked from amongst what was actually ready for full service in the mid 20-teens, we would probably right now be just finishing off the final delivery of new planes and the retirement of the old ones right now, and there is a good chance that we would be flying Typhoons right now.
Yes we absolutely could have made a decision in say 2012 or 2014, but that decision would have had to be to not buy the F-35 and to buy something else. It was the insistence that the round peg of buying new fighters had to be pounded into the square hole called the F-35 that led to we are where we are today.