04/07/2012 11:58 EDT

Peter MacKay: Rex Murphy Not A Fan Of 'Honorary' Defence Minister And F-35 Purchase (VIDEO)

The pressure on Defence Minister Peter MacKay to step down over the auditor general's scathing report on the F-35 purchase process is mounting.

Rex Murphy is just the latest prominent pundit to savage MacKay over his handling of the widening scandal.

"Is anyone in charge? Or is Peter MacKay a kind of honorary Defence Minister?" Murphy asks. "A real minister would resign after this week's sad comedy."

Murphy wonders how MacKay has managed to keep the rank and privileges of high office, such as helicopter trips, while somehow evading responsibility when anything of importance happens.

Earlier this week, columnist Lawrence Martin was among those who suggested cabinet is in need of an immediate overhaul, starting with MacKay.

The Toronto Star's Tim Harper argued that it's too risky for Harper to force MacKay from cabinet. "He has a strong following in the party and he represents the moderate wing of the Conservatives. Harper would risk too much political blowback if he demoted him."

Murphy is less concerned with whether MacKay will step down than with the fact that the Conservatives are willing to spend $25 billion on a dubious fighter jet without proper consideration while bringing brutal efficiency to the reduction of the civil service by nearly 20,000 jobs.

"To save $5 billion they'll squeeze the turnip until it can recite the order paper in Latin, but to push $25 billion out the door, well, they're going to work to 'improve the process.'"

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