Does Canada need a fifth-generation stealth multirole fighter? I don't think so. As a matter of fact, beside the F-35 fiasco in general, Canada cannot afford such an expensive plane that had limited capabilities. A project worth more than $8 billion at the start, many experts now evaluate it at more than $49 billion. This might include all acquisition, sustainment and operating costs but does not guarantee the price won't go up again due other issues with the aircraft.
Tales of government waste make for excellent news headlines. Bev Oda's infamous $16 orange juice probably got more media attention than the $45 billion F35 procurement debacle. Part of the reason is that people understand the value and cost of orange juice. Rather than focusing on waste, analysts and the media should instead focus on getting more value for money from governments. We need to pay less attention to tens of dollars and more attention to billions.
The government's budgeting problems will force the Navy to choose between acquiring either fewer ships, or ships that are significantly less capable than they need. The fact that Canada's Chief of Defence Staff does not know the government's plan is proof there is not one.
Isn't it amazing how almost everything in modern politics can find its inspiration, or be reflected, in a Looney Tunes cartoon? As the sequestration ...
On Prime Minister Diefenbaker's Black Friday, it was announced that 14,000 jobs would vanish. The most sophisticated aircraft in the world, the Avro Arrow, would be dismantled and the pride of an entire country was slain along with it. I believe Canada has what it takes to produce another Avro Arrow.
"We will not be constrained by the Statement of Requirements," says the Minister announcing the (re)start of an Options Analysis. No kidding. There...
January 23 marks seven years since Stephen Harper was first elected Prime Minister of Canada. As the PM took the opportunity to pat himself on the back in tweeting his self-assessed greatest accomplishments, perhaps the seven-year itch is the right time to recognize PM Harper's biggest blunders.
Just before the New Year, Samara asked for nominations for the Best Moment in Canadian Democracy in 2012. Despite the cynicism that we all feel from time to time, these five serve as important reminders that there are democratic mechanisms at our disposal, and that despite Canada's imperfections we are lucky to live here.
The jet lag has passed and the Christmas decorations (for some of us at least) are put away in storage. With 2013 stretching out before us, let's reflect on the year that was 2012 in Canadian politics. The best and worst political stories, the best and worst politicians and the biggest sellout.
The year 2012 saw some scandals in Canada. There was the exposure of the multi-million dollar Ornge Air Ambulance scandal, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency scandal in Alberta, and the Robocall scandal. Did we spend a lot of time, money, and energy investigating and analyzing these scandals? Yes. Is there a sure way to avoid these problems for the next year, 2013?
There has been a flurry of cost figures for the F-35, ranging from the government's unwavering figure of $9 billion all the way to $45.8 billion dollars. First the government wants this plane, then they didn't, and now they do again. Canadians are being played for suckers in this little game of procurement bingo that the Harper Cabinet is playing.
If a producer was to consider making a feature film about the F-35 procurement process she or he might, given the events over the past few years either go with one of two genres: Max Senate and the Keystone cops, or Federico Fellini for something a bit more surreal. Somewhere between those two extremes lies, I would think, the reality of the storyline.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is making a trip to New York this week, but it isn't to attend a United Nations meeting to which Canada was extended an invitation. The Prime Minister will instead be in the glitzy hotel, where he is due to receive an award from the little-known Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an interfaith partnership of corporate and religious leaders. Between the successive fossil awards for environmental savagery and the unfortunate de-funding of reproductive health in foreign aid, the Harper government continues to slide Canada's international influence down to the gutter.
There are some who say the F-35 is all about capability, and giving the air force the plan it needs to bomb the crap out of China or Russia. There is something to be said for that argument, but now is not the time to make it because with roughly four million of the estimated 10 million lines of software which power this jet have yet to be written. How do we know this toy will work as advertised?
Lies and miscalculations rule the day in Canadian politics and we don't seem too bothered. Who needs data, facts, or expertise to make hundreds of billions worth of decisions? Since lies seem to work, politicians scatter them liberally. Candidates spew promises they have no intention or clue how to keep. We are repeatedly shocked to see them broken.
We now live in a world where a government can turn on its own parliament, deny it the proper accounting assessments necessary for the approval of mega-expensive items like the F-35 jet, and proceed as if the need for the Canadian people to have a proper accounting for such expenditures (the largest military procurement in Canadian history) is not of prime importance.