Necessary dialogue is being prevented for partisan purposes

I’ve found this series of exchanges VERY helpful, and many, many thanks to Hugh [Williamson] for collecting and distributing the party platform materials in such accessible form. [Moderator’s Note: These documents will be posted shortly.]

I have nothing to contribute to the discussion on the technical side, although I confess to a certain uneasiness over the fact that the aircraft is still in development.  It may be more than a ‘pig-in-a-poke’, but it could still come in the company of ‘troubles-in-a-bag,’ and they could turn out to be very expensive to fix.

However that may be, I think Gordon Davis is dead on the money in complaining about the want of a clear statement from government on the aircraft’s capabilities and why we need them. It is simply unreasonable to expect Canadian taxpayers not to be dubious about spending this sort of money when they haven’t heard a convincing case for doing so - particularly when there are so many other urgent pressures on the public purse.

It may not be DND’s fault. The current government has buttoned everyone up so that communications can be controlled by callow youths who cling to partisan political coat tails as an easy way of rising in the world. But the lack of a careful exposition of the security grounds for making a purchase of this size is completely irresponsible - even if the spin-doctors are convinced that elucidating the argument, with integrity, wouldn’t have a significant impact on public opinion in any event.

Of course, I’m not convinced that the Conservatives, if still in office when the election is done, will ultimately foot the bill for a reasonable number of the planes anyway - not, at least, unless our public finances improve much more quickly and dramatically than most observers seem to expect.