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Friday snippets

– An enormous earthquake and tsunami has hit Japan early today – the largest in Japan’s history. I’ll be amazed if the current death total of 60 doesn’t climb into the hundreds.

– Prime Minister Harper shows his contempt and arrogance for the dual contempt of Parliament rulings made against his government and Cabinet Minister by stating, “you win some, you lose some”. This is all just a big game to him. The Star says it best:

We are quickly sliding toward an election campaign in which the central issue will be the Prime Minister himself — both his record in office and the way he and his government have conducted themselves. Treating basic principles of Canadian democracy as an irritating distraction not only shows contempt for Parliament, it shows contempt for the voters themselves.

– The Parliamentary Budget Office came with massive estimates – 29 billion $ – as to what the long term costs of the F35 Stealth fighter would cost if Canada actually purchased it. Here may be the main reason the government refused to release their own figures and estimates and which got them cited for being in breach of Parliament: it’s hard to justify a white elephant like this if these costs are the true costs.

6 comments to Friday snippets

  • Beerbob

    They run a government as if it was a privately owned corporation. It’s a typical con attitude. It used to be that cons ran government as if it was a public corporation (as in sometimes being accountable to the “shareholders”), but these guys treat it as their own dirty little sandbox to play in. It’s not your daddy’s Progressive Conservative party any more. That died when Muldoon made a hash of it and the Republican style libertarian evangelicals came out of the West.

    It’s just irritating, watching government being run like business. Business is about “I win, you lose”. Government is about “We all survive by helping each other and keep the commons running for everyone’s benefit”. The cons start to win when they get more people to buy the “Government is business” bullshit. You get enough pinheads believing that, and you wind up with Wisconsin.

    And about the aircraft. Practically every time we will use our fighter jet capability will be in conjunction with the Americans. Remember the first Gulf war? Canadian jets could not be used, because ther electronic warfare equipment, comms, and IFF had been superseded by new gear installed on the U.S. planes. We would have been in way more danger from the Americans than the junk Iraqi weapons. After a few years, the exact same thing will happen to the F-35s. It’s the business model of large defense contractors to keep changing equipment to make more money, I mean improve it.

    Unfortunately, there’s a distinct possibility that the next election will result in a thin majority. It’s just depressing to actually want (not really – but it’s a close call) the Americans’ Friedmanite economics to succesfully drag everybody back down into another recession to keep Harper from having a majority. That’s how we work. Times are bad, throw the bums out. Could you imagine how it would be here with a worldwide recession like in ’08 AND a Canadian dollar at $1.15 U.S.! This in Canada where most of the business is predicated on making the payroll with 70 cent dollars and invoicing customers with 100 cent dollars. You bet Harper wants an election. The sooner the better. He wants it over before the wheels start to come off of the economy.

  • Stephen Harper’s arrogance knows no bounds. Mr. Harper thinks, “you win some, you lose some” as if to say, “oh well, it’s only Parliament and it’s only democracy, it doesn’t really matter.” He is wrong. Parliament and democracy matter. They matter big time.

    That attitude runs throughout the Conservative Party. I forget his exact words, but Mr. Baird referred to the possible contempt charges, for which the Speaker found a prima facie case, as “distractions.” Again, it’s as if contempt of Parliament doesn’t matter; it’s as if Mr. Baird thinks, as Mr. Harper seems to think, that Parliament and democracy don’t matter. They are both wrong. Big time.

  • Stan

    $18 billion to own and operate them over 20 years or $29 billion to own and operate them over 30 years.
    Either way it about $1 billion a year to own and operate the F35s.
    Simple arithmetic.

    You do understand that this isn’t all new money?
    We already pay to own and operate the CF18s, when we get the F35s we won’t be paying to operate the CF18s anymore.
    The real number to be concerned about is the difference between what it will cost to own and operate these vs what we already pay to own and operate the new jets.

    I know logic gives you a headache, but try to keep up….

    • Redrum

      Well, good for you for being prepared to deal with the numbers honestly, there Stan — really — and for not trying to discredit the PBO, as so many do when they present inconvenient truths.

      (Note, Page himself didn’t write this report, two of his staff did, with plenty of outside consultation and peer review.)

      And maybe you’re right, that if we did an honest comparison of the two fleets (CF-18s & F-35s) and their warts & all operating costs, they’d, ulp, BOTH come in at about a billion a year in inflation-adjusted 2009 dollars. (That’s precisely the sort of thing the Opposition wanted to know, BTW, but the gov’t kept hidden from them.)

      But / so let’s consider:

      – first, they’re actually quite close on the acquisition costs for the new fleet: the PBO says $9.7-B.U.S., and MacKay said $9-B, so, heck, if he meant CANADIAN-$, and if our dollar continues to climb, they may be very close indeed.

      ‘Course, there was some fudging on the govt’s part in claiming the planes themselves would only cost about $70-75-M US each, and the PBO saying, sorry, it’s $148.5, but that’s cuz the former figure didn’t include, um, the ENGINE, and all the trick munitions gear, and the pilot & maintenance crew training & recruitment.

      – second, as you say, they’re comparing different maintenance cycles:

      with the Gov’t first saying, we don’t know how much it’ll be, but trust us; then conceding when pressed that it’d likely be about $7-B for 20 years…. but explaining that it’s well worth it & we should go now, cuz we’ll need them and they’ll last for 30 years.

      So the PBO said, well, gee, then shouldn’t we look at what they’d cost for the whole 30, then, which is why they came up with the $19.6-B (which includes two major refits, at the 10 and 20 years marks).

      (‘Cuz instead of pretending that last 10 years would be free, when you’re trying to convince your wife about why it’d be a great purchase to buy a new SUV, e.g., she should know that, well, we’d have to replace the timing belts, and the transmission, and the tires, so the lifetime costs will actually be something like double the purchase price once all the maintenance costs are factored in.)

      So that’s what they most likely WILL cost us, then, for the time we want them:

      $30 billion for the 30 years, for, um, half as many units as the fleet we’re replacing (since these fancier new ones with extra, but dubiously effective, and dubiously needed capabilities are so gosh darn expensive).

      But let’s do as you suggest, then, and compare apples to apples:

      two-thirds of those $19.6-B for the “ongoing sustainment costs” the PBO estimates for 30 years =

      a hair over $13.B.

      Which is, what: 87% higher than those back of the envelope $7-B numbers on the projected 20 year maintenance costs MacKay gave; and,

      hmm, 42% over-budget ($22.77-B v. $16) on what they’ve cited for the entire first 20 years of this purchase?

      So, tell me again how they’re such an accountable government and such good fiscal managers?!

      Cripes, if a $9-B military procurement winds up costing us an equal amount in unprojected (by the gov’t) maintenance costs on the planes,* then that might mean they could end up costing us another untallied $35-B on top of this — the projected cost of the new ship-building program they’re planning on commissioning next.

      We can’t afford these guys.

      (* their too-hopeful $7B for 20 yrs projected for the remaining 10 years to 30 = $10.5, which is $9.1 too low, acc. to the PBO & military experts’ no’s)

      www + .theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/billions-in-shipbuilding-contracts-will-make-waves-for-harper/article1892593/

  • Stan

    Uh,… this is awkward, but I better point it out to you before you make an even bigger fool of yourself: the new estimate is over 30 years, the Tory number was over 20 years.
    That would make a difference, wouldn’t it?

    And oddly enough the existing CF18s don’t fly for free, so that is a factor in the overall impact of the purchase.

    • Jon Pertwee

      So how does that figure in an extra $17.3 million over 10 years fool?

      Still costs way more Math Genius.

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