Shame, shame, shame

Federal Conservative government's concealment of the F-35 program truth has been revealed

Following a condemning report on the joint strike fighter program from the Auditor General Michael Ferguson earlier this month, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government finally admitted there were problems with their beloved F-35 jets.

The report also accused the Department of National Defence (DND) for not being wholly open with the information it was giving to government and its bureaucrats, especially about the escalating cost estimates.

It appears Mr. Harper suspected the jig was up when there was no mention of the F-35 jets in the budget speech other than to note that the CF-18 Hornets had to be replaced.

Immediately after the Auditor General’s report was released, the Tories froze the spending for the F-35 program.

Next, the government announced it was withdrawing DND’s ability to purchase new weapon systems and hand them off to Public Works.

Obviously, this was a move to appear to be doing something and to deflect opposition criticism in the House of Commons.

However, the $30-billion, and possibly growing, price tag on the F-35 jets isn’t new information for the Tories.

In March 2011, Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page noted the cost of the F-35 program would be closer to $30 billion because the $15-billion price tag DND was tossing around didn’t include ongoing training, personnel and operating costs.

At the time, the Tory government and its MPs, representing Ottawa in our communities, stubbornly refused to admit costs were spiralling out of control for the F-35 stealth fighters, and pointed accusatory fingers at Mr. Page for not providing accurate fingers.

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod said Page was comparing “apples and oranges” when he accused of the government of giving a lowball cost estimate.

She, in turn, accused him of basing his costs on a 30-year maintenance program rather than the government’s 20-year estimate.

While the federal Liberal Opposition hammered away at getting a true costing for the F-35 jets, the Harper government continued to defend the F-35s.

This refusal to come clean and share the information with the House of Commons came to a head when the opposition passed a lack of confidence vote against the minority government and forced last year’s federal election.

During the ensuing election campaign, the Conservatives continued to pull the wool over the nation’s eyes by denying the escalating cost and technical problems.

They were rewarded for their evasiveness by being handed a majority government.

It lends credence to the old adage you can fool all of the people some of the time.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An aerial photograph captures snowmobile tracks in the Cameron Ridge area earlier this year, which is closed to snowmobilers. The closures are in place to protect sensitive caribou herds. (Conservation Officer Service photo)
Snowmobilers fined for operating in closed caribou habitat near Likely, B.C.

The investigation revealed they had spent several hours in the closure leaving extensive tracks

The RCMP arrest one of the suspects on Highway 97 courtesy of cell phone footage shot by a bystander. (April Thomas photo)
WATCH: Two suspects arrested after multi-jurisdictional chase

A half dozen police cars were seen heading north on Highway 97

Commercial tenants at the Williams Lake Regional Airport have been granted an additional six-month rent reprieve. (Angie Mindus file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Continuing rent relief for Williams Lake Airport tenants considered

City council discussed the option during a committee of the whole meeting

The Grade 2 class of 150 Mile House Elementary attended Cariboo Memorial Hospital with teacher Kirsty Bowers to deliver “kindness” bags full of small gifts to housekeeping staff. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
150 Mile House students deliver gift bags showing appreciation for hospital staff

Students begin Monday morning with a bus trip to Cariboo Memorial Hospital

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports 16 new COVID-19 cases

423 cases remain active in the region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The area on Cordova Bay Road where ancestral human remains were discovered Feb. 22. (Submitted photo)
Human remains discovery a reminder of B.C. Indigenous culture dug up and displaced

‘These are the people who inspired and birthed the generations that we now have here’

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Kamloops This Week
Cause of Kamloops landfill fire may never be known

Fire investigators are dealing with too much destruction in too large an area

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

Most Read