F-35 – The Bigger Picture

I sense from reactions in the Twitterverse that John Ivison’s newly-posted column is creating a bit of a buzz – Pax Americana alliance at heart of Harper government’s F-35 posture.

Left-loving media and partisans are going batsh*t crazy over Ivison’s report about a letter from Laurie Hawn to a `concerned citizen’ that apparently questioned the figures of the AG.  It would appear that criticizing the AG is suddenly a sacrilege.  Funny that.

But Ivison does try to throw a little calming breeze into the tempestuous teapot by offering this tidbit:

The wider international backdrop to the F-35 purchase is an America concerned about the rise of China in the Pacific. The Canadian government’s decision to go with the F-35 appears to be part of a tacit political agreement between the United States and key allies like Japan and Australia to contain China’s ambitions.

Critics have ridiculed the need for first strike stealth capability patrolling for Canada’s North or for taking part in conflicts like the recent Libyan mission. Yet the unwritten statement of requirement is for planes that could counter the threat posed by Chinese aircraft carriers at some point 30 years hence.

If, with a nod and a wink, you sign up for a Western alliance that sees the rise of China as a destabilizing and potentially existential threat, then the cost of the F-35 ceases to be of paramount concern.

Yet Ivison doesn’t excuse what he sees to be a breakdown in the process:

The government’s disdain for the niceties of normal process make more sense when seen through this prism. It makes more sense, but becomes no more acceptable.

And this is where democracies are vulnerable. It is that very strength of demand for transparency that gives the other forms of government (eg. dictatorships) the upper hand.

Most political parties plan for the short-term – to win the next election.

However as with the OAS changes, this government seems to be actually thinking long-term and what is best for the country down the road.

That could be a commendable, but fatal goal.


*   *   *   *


Excellent post by SpringerIvison had some credibility until:

…I would speculate that a lot of long second looks were cast upon the F-35 with regard to what might expected of its role over the next four decades. And that likely resulted in at least some of the lessons learned with the F-22 being brought to the table in order to upgrade the plane’s capabilities.

Governments, for reasons obvious to anyone but a goddamned fool, don’t talk about this stuff…

Exactly. As I said before this is where democracies are vulnerable.

Also great post and discussion at The IcemanF35-gate: What’s In A Pricetag? (Check out Sean M’s rant)

From Defence Minister Peter MacKay via the Globe:

“As we sit in this boardroom, there are CF-18 pilots whom we are paying. There’s maintenance crews on the runways filling them with fuel in Cold Lake and Bagotville and whatever aircraft we bought, these costs are going to be operational costs, no matter what we fly and so it’s not part of the acquisition of a particular aircraft,” Mr. MacKay said.

“Just as we pay our military personnel, whether they’re training on the base or in a place like Afghanistan. Their salaries are fixed, they’re sunk costs.”

Nevertheless, Mr. MacKay said, the department will provide these fixed costs for future acquisitions.

Please watch the video with Dr. Ian Lee at this SNN link! More here.

This entry was posted in democracy, International politics, Media Party, MSM bias, Pseudo-scandals, strategy, Your tax-dollars. Bookmark the permalink.

80 Responses to F-35 – The Bigger Picture

  1. paulsstuff says:

    I’ll ask it again. Can any journalist or member of the opposition parties show me where any previous government included salaries and fuel in the estimated cost of any procurement process?

    Because so far theonly thing I hear are crickets chirping.

    • bertie says:

      And that is all you hear from Liberal sympathizers. They do not know how to tell the truth.They have been lying and getting away with it for so long,that they have squatters rights to all lies and scams.Only way to beat them is to create bigger lies and scams about them…Conservatives are not good at lying,so we can never win at that game.. [Portion deleted by blog admin]

      • fitz-n-startz says:

        You are all-too-conveniently discounting that the Cons were very specifically requested to provide the lifecycle costs; your search for justification by prior misdeed is in vain, as if that would make it right anyway.
        “All documents that outline acquisition costs, lifecycle costs, and operational requirements associated with the F-35 program”

        Moreover, Treasury Board policy specifically requires that lifecycle costs be presented:
        “6.1.3 Capital acquisition, operations and maintenance, and disposal strategies are developed based on the findings of this ongoing and systematic performance assessment and on an economic and program analysis that considers the full life cycle costs and benefits of alternative solutions to meeting program needs for materiel assets.”

    • Joanne says:

      Can any journalist or member of the opposition parties show me where any previous government included salaries and fuel in the estimated cost of any procurement process?

      I see you’ve written a post on that. Excellent question.

  2. cantuc says:

    Aiken gave it the old college try . He found something somebody at NASA said in 2010 .
    It seems to me they’d have been better off going to a yearly assessment . Give the initial cost , then give their best estimate per year ,for every possible variant, possible military conflict , escorting Korean airliners to an airforce base , the rising cost of fuel and rubber , stikes , de-icing , crashes , lightning strikes , software updates, upholstery cleaner , barf bags , armour-all , windowcleaner , missiles , bullets , batteries , the odd newwing , and about 37 more accountants to add up every bloody nut , bolt and lock-washer.

  3. Fay says:

    It seems to me like the media party has decided to manipulate the message to cancel the F-35 order .
    I still believe most Canadians are tuning the media party out.

    • Richco says:

      Canadians have been tuning the media party out for quite a while. Not many folks are giving this issue a second thought. It’s still not a game-changer for Harper.

  4. ed says:

    Let the opposition parties and MSM continue on their road to self-destruction. It’s embarrassing how pathetic they are day in and day out. Every day we ask what superficial nonsense will they come up with next. Judging by their history, morality is not a part of their make up. Eventually, pay back time will deal them their just dessert. How high that price will be!! Meanwhile, the Conservatives continue to do the right thing: “This government seems to be actually thinking long-term and what is best for the country down the road.”

    • Joanne says:

      I made a few minor changes to that last bit of the post. I wrote it last night and was tired. Mornings are always better for clarity. But the original idea is still there.

  5. Goody says:

    I really hope the critics of the F 35s aren’t successful in stopping the govt. from buying them. Our military needs them.

  6. Joe says:

    I fault the AG for some of this nonsense. When purchasing something like a replacement aircraft there are what I call hard numbers and soft numbers. Hard numbers are fixed costs that you KNOW to be fixed. For instance if you can lock in the purchase price of a piece of kit at $1000.00. Then that is a hard number. If you can lock in a maintenance package for $500.00 a year for that same equipment then that is also a hard number, However estimating the cost of using the piece of equipment is a soft number because there are too many variables. No where is that more true than in the running of an extremely complex piece of equipment like an airplane, especially one with no real track record. The airplane you buy may be ultra reliable like an old DC 3 and require only the regular maintenance be done for 50 years or it could be something like the Sea King helicopter and need 30 hours of work to get one hour flying after only 20 years. Going in you have no idea, Of course the other soft number is the cost of fuel, pilots etc, We have no idea how much it is going to cost to buy fuel 20 and 30 years down the road. Last week I bought gasoline at $1.00. This week it is $1.20. Next week? Then there is the variable of how much flying time the aircraft does. In peace time the airplane gets a certain amount but in times of conflict….. Operating costs are better set in the yearly budget not included in the purchase price except, if I might qualify, f9r comparison purposes. If I am looking at two potential aircraft one of which burns a thousand gallons an hour and the other 500 gallons an hour. one is flown by one pilot and the other flown by two pilots then the operating cost is relevant to the discussion, But if I am simply replacing one airplane with another then the operating costs are already covered and unless there is a huge jump in say fuel consumption operating costs are not that important in this discussion.

    • Joanne says:

      Exactly! Please check out the video with Dr. Ian Lee at the link I mention at the end of the update to this post. It is a must-watch. He keeps saying, “You cannot audit the future.”

    • Liz J says:

      I fault the AG entirely, he fed the opposition, including the media the ammunition to go off on a tangent. Like Kevie Page he’ll be a media darling.

  7. Jeff says:

    So Bertie is proposing to beat up anyone who he disagrees while they sleep? Calls it a dream of his? Wow. That’s the kind of stuff I expect from the likes of Wendy Sullivan or Kathy Shaidle.

    Mind you, I’ve watched Joanne grow more extreme or the years. The mask slips bit by bit.

    • Joanne says:

      Thank you for bringing that to my attention. Bertie is now in the Comment Moderation filter just like you. I have deleted part of his comment.

      BTW Jeffie, remember this?

  8. Greg says:

    Joanne extreme? Says more about Jeff than Joanne. It’s dishonest to pretend that costs that would be incurred regardless of which new program (or keeping the current planes going) are somehow incremental. Maybe the libs and dips think there’s an electric plane out there somewhere we can save fuel on. If journos were honest they would be up front and say the only way to save the disputed costs would be to scrap the F18’s and not purchase any replacements and forever eliminate that capability from our armed forces

    • Joanne says:

      It’s kinda creepy when I realize that Jeff lurks around looking for some little thing to pounce on.

      • cantuc says:

        close your blinds

        • Joanne says:


          • Richco says:

            Isn’t interesting about how the Ontario media especially are going after the federal government on this issue when McGuinty has gotten away with the daylight robbery of taxpayers with billion dollar expenditures of things like the Early Learning boondoggle and what’s going to amount to billions wasted on green energy, and ORNGE?
            We technically should be able to apply the same scrutiny and media screws to Daddy Dalton McGuinty right?

  9. Gabby in QC says:

    John Ivison and other critics keep saying there was no competitive process in selecting the F-35s: “The specifications were wired so that the F-35 was chosen without an open and transparent competition.”
    That is inaccurate.

    From the AG’s report:
    “2.20 National Defence signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the first phase of the JSF Program, concept demonstration, in December 1997. …
    National Defence felt its participation provided the chance to work with allies in developing a new fighter jet as well as opportunities for Canadian companies to be part of the design and eventual production of an estimated 3,100 aircraft (if Canada decided to purchase the aircraft).
    2.21 In October 2001, the United States Department of Defense selected Lockheed Martin as the winner of a design competition held between two major industry consortia. National Defence signed the MOU for the second phase, system development and demonstration, in February 2002. …”

    So, the US held a design competition, then other countries, like Canada, were asked if they wanted in on the development. It was thus not up to Canada to hold an alternate competitive process for a plane that had already been chosen as a result of a prior competitive process.

  10. fh says:

    Joanne , Gabby and Sandy you are so right on the F-35
    I am hopeful that the Liberals will continue their support for this purchase of F-35
    and recognize that they the Liberals chose to join the group of countries that signed on to purchase the F-35 it was the right choice then and continues to be the right choice
    recent Korean bomb scare on a flight from Vancouver to Korea that resulted in a needed escort back to Canada Comox airfield is a reminder that the future remains uncertain and Canada needs to be prepared to help not stand on the side lines watching

  11. fh says:

    there are people who question the need for military escort of the Korean passenger aircraft
    the escort was there to attack the passenger jet if the pilots failed to follow their directions
    that is the reality that has been in place since 9/11
    the bomb threat was phoned to the Korean air offices in Los Angeles this resulted in the co operation of USA and Canada

  12. Dirt says:

    Wanna know why liberal media is against the sole sourced purchase, gather round and consider the following: If the project is cancelled and replaced with a multiple sourced product who will be the first to benifit from millions being spent by DND via advertising for public tenders??? Oh wait that would be liberal media earning millions via their news papers. Second go back in time and read some of the articles that ensured the Sea King replacement got canned and you will notice alot of the same names during that era. The liberal media has assigned her metrosexual self the guardians of the procurement process, and they’re quite happy if we purchase cheap junk from Russia or China loaded with spyware of course.

  13. Gabby in QC says:

    Some of us commenters often dismiss some members of the MSM as “Liberal hacks”.
    My POV is somewhat different. What some view as “hackery” I view as inaccuracy or lack of nuance.
    Case in point: a David Akin column entitled The F-35 question is: Why? http://www.torontosun.com/2012/04/10/the-f-35-question-is-why

    Akin, whom I consider a journalist, like Ivison, who tries to be balanced, stated in that column: “If we are to accept the conclusions in the report from the auditor general — and we note that Prime Minister Stephen Harper himself has said several times that he does accept those conclusions …”

    Actually, what the PM actually said is that he accepts the AG’s recommendations, which is not exactly the same thing.
    “Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC):  
        Mr. Speaker, I do not accept the Leader of the Opposition’s conclusions. The Auditor General reached certain conclusions and we have accepted his recommendations. He identified a need for greater supervision over costs and the government will accept his recommendations.”

    IMO, there is a difference between “accept the conclusions in the report” [Akin] and
    “the government will accept his recommendations” [PM Harper]. That is where “nuance” comes in.

    In the same column, Akin reminds readers the PBO’s numbers were $30B over 30 years, thus $1B/year whereas the government’s numbers were $17B over 20 years, or $850M/year. The difference per year then appears to work out to $15M per year. But what has Solomon, who’s not on my list of balanced journalists nor even on my list of journalists, what has he been describing as the difference between the government estimates & the PBO’s? “A $10B gap!”

    Nuance, people. Like The Montreal Gazette slogan says: “Words matter.”

    • Liz J says:

      How are we to interpret Akin’s column on the F-35’s? Is he skewing facts or manipulating them to fit a certain agenda or is he simply practicing lazy journalism?

      • cantuc says:

        Aikin is as left wing as any of them . Every once in a while he tosses out a scrap we can all agree with to keep up appearences. I’ve seen lberals and ndp on his show say whatever they want , no matterifobvious bs or not pretty much unchallenged . Aikens just oh so happy they came on his show and filled in 20 minutes .

        • Fay says:

          Akin needs to participate in the Media Party group think to get those invites to the national press bitching parties.

        • Gabby in QC says:

          “Aikin is as left wing as any of them” depends, I suppose, on one’s position on the political spectrum, doesn’t it? Akin’s bound to be left of some, and right of others, just like the rest of us.

          As to his interviewing style, Akin asks questions but generally does not debate or challenge his guests’ responses, which to me is a much more civil form of discourse. That is why I find Solomon’s style so exasperating: he engages in one-sided debates with his Conservative guests while allowing other guests to ramble on unchallenged. Personally, I prefer Akin’s style to Solomon’s.

          • cantuc says:

            Solomons over the top and pushing his own agenda. . He’s not always wrong , but asking one question and moving on pretty much allows anybody to say whatever they want . He could at the very least challenge the obvious .

      • Gabby in QC says:

        “lazy journalism”? In Akin’s case, I say no. As I stated previously, I think Akin tries to be as balanced as possible, often presenting information that other journalists dismiss or ignore. I may not always agree with him, but I don’t think his motivation is suspect, as it is in so many others.

        But … like in other media … controversy, be it mild or fierce, is the guiding factor. If a journalist rounds out all the angles, what is there for the audience to react to?

        Anyway … if CTV had named Akin Ottawa Bureau Chief, I think that network would have presented a more balanced POV than it currently does. But, as always, that’s my perception, not necessarily incontrovertible fact.

        Oh, and a propos of nothing … CBC should have saved Mark Kelly’s job by cutting Power & Politics back to one hour. More than enough time for Solomon to polemicize. Come to think of it, the hour should be renamed Polemicize & Politics.

  14. Greg says:

    Gabby et al, to make the media and opposition sound even more stupid, the biggest difference in what the government stated and the PBO estimate is the 20 years versus 30 years and associated ongoing maintenance, fuel and wage costs. But if the program only lasts 20 years, they will have to purchase new planes 10 years sooner with an additional up front costs obviously. To make Andrew Coyne happy we would need to buy new jets every year – to keep the costs down!

  15. Bubba Brown says:

    Good post Jo! Well here we are again folks, the media led by the “Cry-baby Broadcasting Corporation” are in full cry.
    Some very good points being made here and on other right thinking blogs this morning.
    Meanwhile Joanne is accused of becoming more “extreme” I am guessing here but “old white guy” just doesn’t apply.
    I can only say that if the Conservative side of the house, or blogosphere ever displayed the kind of mindless partisanship and bullying, lying, deceitful behavior regularly displayed by the opposition and the media.
    Well the whining would be deafening, let’s go back in time just a little under the title of “careful what you wish for”
    Now we all know how that little episode played out don’t we?
    The opposition and the hostile Media would at the expense of our Country and Sovereignty scuttle this F-35 program just because the Conservatives are doing the right thing.
    In my link they are outraged to be handed 900 pages of facts and numbers after demanding them.
    They are very much like a dog that chases cars, having caught one, now what?
    The CBC is reeling under a very minor cuts instead of cutting some fat cushy jobs they have decided to “go political” the “Graves Culture War syndrome”
    The trolls gather. motivated by fear attempt to derail our discussion put us off balance, not going to happen.
    Bob Rae leading the Rump remains of the Liberals is becoming more and more hysterical, sad really.

    • Joanne says:

      The trolls gather. motivated by fear attempt to derail our discussion put us off balance, not going to happen.

      Sometimes I allow their comments because they’re just so amusing.

  16. Kevin says:

    I think you guys are misiing the point here.

  17. Fay says:

    It is obvious the CBC will stop at nothing to cancel the F35 jets or any other equipment the Canadian military needs.
    When has the CBC ever supported National defence???

    • Jen says:

      Vaguely Fay, but what I do remember is the cbc re-echoing the ndpq calling our soldiers ‘war criminals.’

  18. Martin says:

    Someone on the political talkshows yesterday casually mentioned the cost of starting a bidding process over, ending up with the same F-35 plane, but having to reapply to join the consortium. The amount in $billions was staggering. This is similar to what happened with the Chretien era helicopters. Is this what the Liberal/NDP/CBC really want, or do they really oppose any fighter aircraft period? I suspect a lot of MPs really couldn’t answer that question.

    • Fay says:

      I believe the CBC oppose any fighter jet period. Unless someone can dig up proof the CBC has ever been supportive of new equipment for the Canadian military. Maybe before Trudeau was prime minister back in Pearson’s years?

  19. cantuc says:

    I wonder if Boeing is pulling a jeff and creeping around the media and oppositions back doors and feeding them some” fuel” to keep this onslaught going . They seem conspiciously absent in the conversation .

  20. Richco says:

    O/T – will the real “Tom” Mulcair please stand up! Wow!…Just what WERE the NDP thinking?

  21. Jeff says:

    “BTW Jeffie, remember this?”

    Fail to see the connection. Besides, I’m no Liberal. As far as putting me wherever you put those who don’t drink the kool aid, knock yourself out. Censorship is what social conservatives do best. Finally, you’re calling me “Jeffie”? Really? Couldn’t come up with anything more creative, I dunno, like pooh pooh head or leftard?

    • Joanne says:

      Yes it’s hard to be as brilliant as some of your progressive friends with their big words like “wingnut”, etc.

    • Sammy says:

      oooooh,I’m wounded Jeffie!

    • Liz J says:

      Jeff, it appears you like to dish it out but somehow feel peckish when you get a little back. Your reaction fits with the moniker “Jeffie”.

      • Joanne says:

        The trolls have ceased amusing me. The barricades are back up.

        • Sammy says:

          Doing some ‘spring cleaning’ Jo? Good for you,the place was getting a bit untidy!!!

          • Joanne says:

            Indeed. Back to being a ‘Troll-free zone’ unless one of them has something particularly illuminating to offer.

        • Sammy says:

          Well Jo,it IS your house after all..I feel priveledged to be allowed to come here and share my thots,NOT to have my intelligence or opinions mocked.I learn more from my friends here,than the msm…and I find much more honesty and less spin,and for that alone I am grateful.I sometimes need to come here just to maintain my sanity!!!!!

  22. Sammy says:

    Hmmmm,David Aikin leaving his show on Sun,but remaining on to cover PMSH’s trips.Wonder who will get his hr? See Natnewswatch for ‘breaking news’

    • Bec says:

      His show is dry, very dry.
      It’s not that I avoid it, I just don’t feel bad if I miss it.

      • Joanne says:

        Mmm… Yes indeed. Who will get his spot?

        • Bec says:

          I bet Jerry Agar is in the running? It would be nice if it was a female dynamo. I really like Krista Erickson….who would have thunk it!

          • cantuc says:

            Adlers buddy , David Menzies is said to be starting his own show in the mornings ,( is that good or bad ), so maybe just some shuffling .

          • Joanne says:

            Yeah Krista Erickson is great! Maybe they can woo somebody else from the CBC. That would be sweet.

  23. fh says:

    I went to loon Canada not sure the facts in this article prove guilt
    might want to temper this blog with common sense and research for accurate facts
    same for article about Tom Mulcair check accuracy of facts before accepting them as true

  24. fh says:

    my note refers to Robocalls

  25. fh says:

    in your much needed filter

  26. Martin says:

    The Liberal position on the F-35 has just been made clear by spokesman John McKay on CTV PP. They do want a complete startover process with competitive bidding, nevermind they began the original process. Also, he endorced, though not very enthusiastically, the idea that PMSH and the government should resign. Even the NDP who might conceivably be called by the GG to try and form a government do not go that far. Marc Garneau and Bob Rae have both called for a resignation, but virtually no one else has seriosly listened to this. The absurdity of a party without a leader, without any money and with only 35 MPs calling for a recently elected government to resign, will surely not be lost on Canadians.

    • Michael Harkov says:

      Even the PPG/MSM /panels/pundits on both PowerPlay and Power and Politics have said that this shrilly calling for the PM to resign is ridiculous and over the top, especially Bob Rae.

      • Martin says:

        Right, the first and only time I have observed such unaminity.
        What can Rae and Garneau be thinking?
        Do they subscribe to the showbiz adage there is no bad publicity? Not a great moment for the Liberal Party.

    • Liz J says:

      Rae and Garneau are competing for the big job, leader of the Liberal rump, both desperately trying to get attention, trying to look important. Sad spectacle.

  27. Fay says:

    From the columns that Andrew Coyne is churning out it appears that he is in total aggreement with Rae and Garneau.
    The National Post has becoming a very unfriendly place for anyone who supports the Conservatives or the purchase of jets for our Canadian military. One of their trolls has somehow got my private email address from the National Post and is sending me threatening emails.
    I cancelled my subscription tonight.

    • Joanne says:

      Wow. Do you comment at the NP website? Is that how they got it?

      I’ve stopped reading Coyne knowing how biased he is. But there are still other good writers at the Post IMHO.

      • Fay says:

        Yes joanne, I made the mistake of commenting on an Andrew Coyne column. In my opinion he steered Macleans left and now he is doing the same thing with the National Post.
        No more National Post for me.

  28. ed says:

    The Liberals and MSM have, imo, but one goal: to get rid of PM Harper and the Conservative government. That’s all they live for, certainly not for Canada. It’s the only explanation for their sorry performances before the Canadian public. As with the lefties (NDP, etc.), they find it terribly difficult in their daily attempts to find significant fault with our government. As a result, they are reduced to bouts of extremism with their shallow commentary on their manufactured issues and their ability to say a lot about nothing of substance. Desperation does that to you.

    As for Rae, his comments on tv after the budget passed were surprising. He appeared to be totally unprepared, befuddled, confused and dazed. — really out of the loop. He looked and sounded like a man past his time.

    Caught part of the CBC program, this hour has 22 minutes, tonight. Watched about 10 minutes, here and there, just to see if it’s the same old BS. Even worse, if that’s possible. It’s sickening to realize that are tax dollars are going to support such third-rate trash along with the usual “Harper bashing” – disrespectful actually. Theme: those horrible Conservatives. Guess who was on? Guergis & husband and, yeah, Ignatief!! Some of the other stuff on there was really low class. See the clip if you can take it. After seeing that, take another 20% off their budget.

  29. Liz J says:

    Space guy Garneau says Peter McKay may not be too bright?
    After spending time in the cosmos Garneau seems to be enjoying the mud of Liberal politics.

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