F-35 boondoogle dispels Tory myths

Auditor General Michael Ferguson tabled a scathing report in Parliament last week that said the Harper Conservatives did not conduct an open and fair selection process for replacing the aging CF-18 fighters.
It also noted the government did not know how much the new F-35 would cost when it was selected as the replacement, and that the Harper government and the Department of National Defence deliberately have misled Parliament and the Canadian people about the cost of the project.
In short, the Auditor General has found that the $25-billion F-35 program is a massive boondoggle that is 25 times costlier than the long gun registry.
You can read the report for yourself online at http://tinyurl.com/AGS2012, but the Harper government would rather you didn’t. The report is merciless and finds that the Harper government completely dropped the $25-billion ball on the F-35 project.
In responding to the Auditor General’s report, the Harper government immediately moved to blame the military for misleading the minister, but this is nothing more than a diversionary tactic.
NDP leader Tom Mulcair made a strong point during Question Period last Tuesday when he asked: “The key question to the Prime Minister is: How could he allow Parliament to be intentionally misled on the F-35s? Either he knew, and it is unconscionable, or he did not know and it is incompetence. Which is it?”
Not surprisingly, Harper wouldn’t say whether he was a liar or just incompetent.
The Conservative myths that they are good managers of the economy and the public purse now have been proven spectacularly false. On the economic front, for instance, Canada has created just 600 net new jobs since August while the United States has created more than 759,000 new positions.
On the growth front, Canada registered a small 0.4 percent gain in the fourth quarter of 2011, and just 0.1 percent in January, 2012, while the U.S. was humming along at three percent growth.
Regarding the public purse, Stephen Harper continues to add to our national debt with a $25-billion deficit this year—the fourth monster deficit in a row.
And finally, in the same week that Mr. Harper told all Canadians under the age of 54 that they must work two years longer and lose $22,000 in Old Age Security payments because there is no money in piggy bank, his government is caught in a $25-billion boondoggle.
The big question I have at this point is: “Can the Harper majority government get any worse?” I sure hope not.
Three years is a long time, to be sure, but New Democrats will continue to do our job as the Official Opposition and hold them to account while preparing to undo as much of this damage as possible beginning in 2015.

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