Q: How can you tell if a politician is lying? A: His lips are moving.

Yes an old joke and unfortunately still true… and applicable to the current regime of Lord Stephen and his Harper Party.

It must have burned something awful to sit and listen to the report drawn up by the Auditor General, Michael Ferguson. Keep in mind this is the fellow all the shouting was about a few months ago, when Stephen Harper installed him in his new role as AG. Apparently he went and took his job seriously…

I wonder if it burns more than that other Harper appointee, Kevin Page who kept knocking holes in the F-35 procurement plans of the Stephen Harper Party.

Remember how Mr. Page said the F-35 fighters were going to cost us around $29 Billion and how the Harper Party pooh-poohed this and stated over and over and over again that it would be around $9 Billion or $16 Billion with everything figured in.

Stephen Harper, Peter MacKay, Julian Fantino all using the same talking points about how wrong Kevin Page was and how right they were.

And now the AG comes along and says the Department of National Defence was figuring about $25 Billion, and that it was in writing, and Harper and his cronies should have known about this…

There appears to be somewhat of a credibility gap growing here.

And those wonderful little echo boxes, the Harperistas are blathering on about it being the Liberals fault for signing us up for this way back in 1997.

Yep, they signed the agreement and paid out some money, so that Canadian companies could bid on contracts to do with the Joint Strike Force Project. But they didn’t sign up to buy any planes.

As a matter of fact, the planned competition to find a replacement for our current fighters, the CF-18 Hornets was put in place by the Liberals. And ignored by the Harper Party.

So, around 2006, the Stephen Harper Party decided that the F-35 was The Plane… and we were going to buy it. I’m a little fuzzy here whether the Harper Party told the DND or if the DND told the Harper Party, but it was decided and agreed to by the both of them. We didn’t get much of a say in this did we? Neither did the Opposition Parties in the House of Commons.

This meanders along until 2010 and the pre election electioneering that never seems to end under the Harper Party.

Stephen Harper accuses the opposition of wanting to tear up the contract to buy the F-35 fighters.

Peter MacKay says that he has a contract that says we are buying 65 F-35 for $9 Billion [we touched on that earlier]

In January of 2011 Stephen Harper again accuses the Opposition Parties of wanting to rip up the contract to buy these planes.

However, by April of 2012, Stephen Harper, Peter MacKay, and Julian Fantino are all saying there is no contract signed to buy these planes… at least not signed by the government….

Right after the AG released his report.

If this was a business rather than a government, Stephen Harper and his cronies would have been tossed out the window at the Board of Directors’ meeting.

They have either been lying to the shareholders [us] through their teeth or they are so grossly incompetent that they are unable to wipe their own bums after using the washroom. In either case they are not fit for office.

The AG report touches on this as well… remember the contempt charge that dissolved the last government? The report mentions that Stephen Harper withheld the information of the true costs of the program from the House.

In the all too familiar frenzy of finger pointing from the Harper Party crew, the DND and the bureaucrats are all getting blamed for not passing the information up the chain of command to the appropriate people.

In a business, if you are too lazy or too incompetent to pick up a phone and call to find out what is going on, you are just as culpable as the people who are allegedly sitting on the reports. Why should government be different?

It seems far more likely that the reports and documents made their way to the Ministers’ offices and were either ignored or shredded.

Anyhow, the government is spinning and dithering away, no contract has been signed, no money has been spent, the procurement money is frozen…

But what of our existing planes?

By ignoring the planned competition we are now left with a fleet of jets whose “Best Before Date” is rapidly approaching.

The CF-18s performed admirably in their service in Libya, being credited with performing much of the “heavy lifting” and “punching well beyond their weight” in that theatre.

But they are getting old.

The last refit of these planes occurred between 2003 and 2010 to ensure they would be capable until their replacements arrived. This refit was at a cost estimated at $2.6 Billion. Their replacements were supposed to start arriving around 2016 and that doesn’t look very promising now.

Of the 138 CF-18s originally purchased, 80 were upgraded.

Of these 80 upgraded fighters, how many will need to be upgraded again in order to still be viable until the replacements do finally arrive and at what cost?

Had the Harper Party acted responsibly, most of this would never have occurred.

If the competition had gone ahead in 2010 as scheduled, we either would have selected the F-35 or another fighter in its place. If the F-35 appeared to be impractical, as it now does, Plan B would be to go with the runner up. Right now Plan B appears to be casting blame.

If Stephen Harper had put someone in charge, there would at least be a point person to explain why we are where we are at. In a mess.

As Minister of Public Works, Rona Ambrose should have been in charge but either could not control the DND, MacKay , and Fantino, or could not be bothered to control them. The proposed solution appears to be put Rona in charge of a Secretariat with basically the same cast of characters. If it didn’t work the first time, maybe it will work the next time, right?

I all seriousness, I am getting very tired of this nonsense. We have saddled ourselves with a government who has no issue with lying to the House of Commons and to the people of Canada. This is a government that can admit no wrong and spends more time and effort pointing fingers and placing blame than they do actually governing.

How can anyone respect a Party whose communications strategy consists of denial and talking points? Do you not find it telling that when the idea of shuffling Julian Fantino out of the Deputy Minister position was raised in a media story, one of the media representatives suggested he could easily be replaced with a tape recorder?

Even as I sit here and type, the news is on and they are relating how the Harper
Party has now changed tactics and is explaining why their costing of the F-35 is so much lower… a long list of items not included in their cost estimates.

More smoke and spin.

Here’s a thought Stephen… start firing the incompetent people in your cabinet, and when you are done, you can fire the one who hired them.

Works for me.

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