Tag Archives: F-35

Conservative Transparancy Now Scientifically Proven to be a Joke

51st place isn’t necessarily always a bad thing. The 51st wealthiest person in the world, or the 51st smartest are blessed to be so lucky. It’s a placement they can be proud of.

When your country is ranked 51st on any list, it is unlikely to be a source of such national pride, especially when the ranking deals with freedom of information. Yet, that is where Canada stands, behind traditional openness powerhouses like Colombia and Niger.

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Bev Oda Waves to Responsible Government | iPOLITICS/Kyle Hamilton

 

The Canadian government, its departments and agencies are given requests for information, which cost $5, and are supposed to respond within 30 days. Unfortunately if the information is ever released by said departments, it is typically done after several months.

While other countries have updated their access to information procedures, Canadian Government acts, predictably, in a shroud of opaqueness. Mr. Harper’s Conservatives have made no effort to adopt transparency in their Government. From countless muzzled scientists and environmentalists, the stifled debate in the House of Commons, the secrecy behind the F-35 transfers, the 400-page omnibus bills, cutting Elections Canada’s budget during the robocall scandal, there is a litany of abuses to Canadian trust by the current Government.

Canadians not simply in virtue of the fact that they pay high salaries and expenses to their elected officials, but intrinsically because they are citizens of the best country in the world ought to expect, and receive, better from their Government then $16 glasses of orange juice and helicopter rides. For every one policy the Conservatives have put out that I found myself in agreement with (Employment Insurance Reform, elimination of “Second Chance” Deportation for convicted criminals) there are endless abuses on the trust of the country that turn any commendation I was willing to heap on our Prime Minister into condemnation.

I am proud to be a Canadian, but this ranking fills my being with shame. Mostly it is shame for the apathetic Canadians that couldn’t be bothered to care about such a monstrous atrocity in our politics. These are the Canadians we are friends with, the ones we work with, study with and perhaps even live with.

Michael Ignatieff (quoting Bruce Springsteen) told Canadians that after suffering through Mr. Harper’s constant attacks on democracy, and his brutal insincere brand of politics it was high time for the country to “Rise up”. I care exactly enough to do so.

I desire transparency in government, and 51st is not good enough for me. I think Canadians deserve more out of our government, one that is accountable and open at the very least. If we ask for change then we ought to put forward new ideas, rather than simple condemnation of the other side. For starters, a much needed update to the access-to-information process currently in place would be a welcome start to an era of Canadian Governmental transparency. Letting your citizens know where their tax dollars seems like a good place to start.

So, as it turns out placing in 51st  for national transparency isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s a call to action.

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$30 Billion Worth of Inept Bureaucrats

The Conservatives are supposed to be the party of fiscal responsibility. They were supposed to be scrutinizing every dollar spent by the government, and reducing its size wherever possible. They are cutting jobs, volunteer programs and funding to the CBC all in the name of balanced budgets. If that is their policy, then perhaps some things need to be sacrificed in the name of a stable economy.

Minister of Defense, Peter Mackay, With His Jet | This image was stolen from thestar.com.

However, if Mr. Harper’s latest budget cuts the entire $15 million of Katimavik volunteer program, then I patiently await his arguments as to why paying between $15 billion and $30 billion dollars for 65 fighter jets (almost $500 million per jet) is a worthwhile investment.

I understand that national security is important, and defending our country costs money, but the national scandal is not about security being too rich for the taxpayer, but the circus surrounding the potential purchase of the fighter jets. Auditor General Michael Fergueson’s report revealed that the Department of Defense completely ignored established policies, avoiding a bidding process, omitting relevant information, selecting a favorable cost-estimate to accelerate the contract among numerous other serious faults committed by the Department.

Not only did the Department of Defense deny an open, transparent process, it did what was in the best interests of the Department of Defense, as opposed to considering the interests of the Canadian people: the ones paying for the aircraft, and of course, their salaries. I join the Auditor General, and millions of Canadians in condemning the department.

Sadly, Fergueson refused to name anyone in his report, and I’d like to know why. After being brave enough to attack the entire department, calling them out for their stupidity on this issue, why did he stop at shaming the responsible parties? The F-35s had never been tested in combat, had never been compared to other planes, and had never been subject to a rigorous cost analysis. Someone needs to be held accountable for this unacceptable mess, that is, if the Department of Defense is expected to retain any public credibility.

Additionally, I’d like to know where was the Prime Minister during this process. I hardly doubt someone as prudent as Mr. Harper was oblivious to the rush to procure a contract. Now that the truth has come out, it would be nice to know on what level Prime Minister Harper lied to Canadians about the costs and the process behind acquiring the jets.

In the mean time one can only hope the Conservatives stay true to their word and conduct a complete, public review of the program. Simultaneously it might be a good idea to complete a public review of those responsible for this mess they are struggling with, starting with a sober look inside their own ranks.

Harper Lectures | This image was stolen from http://www.ctv.ca