Opposition parties objected to the appointment of Federal Auditor General Michael Ferguson because he isn’t bilingual, but his lack of French didn’t stop him from handing them some heavy ammunition in his first report.
The AG found the government’s process for purchasing F-35 fighter jets wanting, and that Mr. Harper & Co. misled parliament and Canadians on the costs. He said the 65 stealth jets will cost $25 billion, not $15 billion as advertised. When Kevin Page, the parliamentary budget officer warned of this last year, the government pooh-poohed him.
In spite of the bluster it’s unlikely anyone will be held accountable. The Conservatives have been in warmish if not hot water before, and life goes on. The Party repaid over $200,000 after Elections Canada found their “in and out” financing in the 2006 election violated campaign funding rules. In March, 2011, Mr. Harper was found in contempt of parliament for refusing to share information with the Opposition. Elections Canada is currently investigating suggestions that party members may have interfered with last years election (Robocalls). There are questions about how much our military involvement in Afghanistan contributed to our deficit.
Even $15 billion, never mind $24 billion, is a lot of money for a government that’s broke. The jets are called killing machines. Maybe the PM and Defense Minister Peter Mackay can explain why we need them. Who do we want to kill? What sacrifices do they want us to make to pay for their war games?
According to reports from the US, Congress is questioning the F-35 project because it is so far behind schedule, so far over budget, and some tests have been disappointing. Some critics claim the F-35 will be obsolete before it ever gets off the ground. Other countries besides Canada have been involved in the project, and some are backing off
Maybe we should too.