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A BCer in Toronto: A Liberal Air Force Brat’s take on Andrew Leslie’s $72,000 move

If you haven’t heard of this story, you probably stayed off social media over the Family Day long weekend, and deserve congratulations for having something of a life. But long story short, *cough* someone *cough* passed documents to CTV showing that when Lt. General Andrew Leslie retired from the Army, the Department of National Defence paid for him to move to a new home within Ottawa, at a total cost of about $72,000. This was jumped on gleefully by Conservatives and NDPers as an ungrateful soldier gouging the taxpayers, and bemoaned by Liberals as an unfair attack on a decorated (Read more…)

Peace, order and good government, eh?: I think we need a new watchdog

Alison at Creekside picked up on this interesting Globe and Mail piece in which the man charged with oversight on CSEC — Canada’s signals intelligence agency — explained his priorities. Jean-Pierre Plouffe, whose formal title is Communications Security Establishment Commissioner, was testifying before a parliamentary committee concerning recent reports based on documents leaked to the press by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

“The information provided by Mr. Snowden made the news, often very sensational in the media,” he told senators.

“Unfortunately, this information is often taken out of context, which as a result becomes misinformation. So one of the key (Read more…)

Peace, order and good government, eh?: On watchdogs with no bite

The watchdog charged with keeping tabs on CSEC, Canada’s signals intelligence agency, filed his annual report yesterday and I’d say it justifies recent demands by the federal opposition parties for stronger oversight.

The Commissioner, Robert Decary, found evidence suggesting that CSEC may have targeted Canadians for surveillance, which is illegal and a violation of the agency’s mandate. But may have is as far as he can go.

…Decary said he was unable to determine conclusively whether the snooping was legal or not because “a number of CSEC records relating to these activities were unclear or incomplete.”

“After (an) in-depth (Read more…)

mark a rayner | scribblings, squibs & sundry monkey joys: Pallas Athena, Goddess of Wisdom and Nerds

She sprang from the cranium of Zeus himself, a divine thought found form, and a blessing unto the Gods, the philosophers of men, and the City of Athens. She was the goddess of civilization, wisdom, strength, strategy, wit, craft, raffia-worked … Continue reading →

A BCer in Toronto: Ministerial responsibility is dead; Peter MacKay hides behind the troops (again)

It was shocking and troubling news when it broke two days ago: the federal government (it’s only called the Harper Government when it’s doing positive things) announced it would be ending the danger pay allowance for Canadian soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

The baffling news from a government supposedly all about the troops (unlike those other commie parties) provoked an immediately negative response, including from comedian and troop supporter (having made several trips to Afghanistan), Rick Mercer:

Harper govt cutting danger pay for soldiers in Afghanistan. bit.ly/16O5q1J – its safe now apparently. — Rick Mercer (@rickmercer) April 9, 2013

Mercer (Read more…)

Peace, order and good government, eh?: Mostly competent government

Military truck purchase cancelled due to cost concerns

The federal government has slammed the brakes on a multimillion-dollar program to replace the military’s aging trucks.

Companies had until 2 p.m. ET Wednesday to bid on a contract for 1,500 new medium-sized logistics trucks for the Canadian Forces.

But Public Works emailed bidders three minutes before the deadline to let them know the contract has been cancelled.

This purchase was originally announced by the Harper Government™ in 2006, at which time the DND described the need as urgent. Six years later our mostly competent government just went back to square

. . . → Read More: Peace, order and good government, eh?: Mostly competent government

Polygonic: MacKay: We’re just as dodgy with our accounting as Sponsorship-era Liberals

Duhhhhr! Ooonnggg… errrrggg….

Out of the mouths of babes.

It’s been an awkward delight watching Conservative spinmeisters trot out Plan A through Plan W in their Catalogue of Flimsy Excuses over the F-35 affair. Blaming bureaucrats didn’t cut it, even blaming the other parties hasn’t cut it. One waits with bated breath for Harper to find a new Guergis-figure he can throw under a bus and hope to be done with it.

Until then, Peter MacKay’s latest delicious position is that the $10 billion difference in Tory cost estimates and actual cost comes down to a simple “difference in accounting”

. . . → Read More: Polygonic: MacKay: We’re just as dodgy with our accounting as Sponsorship-era Liberals

Peace, order and good government, eh?: QOTD: On the F-35

Michael Harris writing at iPolitics in the aftermath of the Auditor General’s report on the F-35 fiasco:

Since the finding that the Harper government was in contempt of parliament, it has all been downhill. The committee system is now like a perpetual meeting of the Skull and Bones society. When asked a question, no member of the government front bench seems to understand either of the official languages. When ministers are found in conflict of interest, the prime minister blows it off as unimportant. And now, after six years of stonewalling over the same issue that led to the contempt

. . . → Read More: Peace, order and good government, eh?: QOTD: On the F-35

A BCer in Toronto: Mackay, Conservatives should wear F-35 boondoggle

The auditor general’s report Tuesday on the mismanagement by DND and the government of the F-35 is drawing major attention, and rightly so. But the fact is these revelations have largely been known for some time and all these objections raised previously — the Conservatives simply elected to ignore them.

I’ve blogged at length on the F-35 issue in recent years, and raised many of the same concerns, so I won’t repeat them at length here.

July 17, 2010: The Conservative $16 billion fighter jet boondoggle July 30, 2010: The Ruskies are coming! Conservative talking-points for stupid people

. . . → Read More: A BCer in Toronto: Mackay, Conservatives should wear F-35 boondoggle

The Disaffected Lib: Steve Harper’s "Culture of Entitlement"

Steve Harper, perhaps unwittingly, set out to be the Defence department’s butt boy and today he finds himself with a blinding hangover, lying in an alley in a pool of his own puke, surrounded by empty bottles and with his pants curiously down around his ankles.

The Auditor General, Michael Ferguson’s withering report on the horribly botched scheme programme to corral Canada into buying the overdue, overpriced and underperforming F-35 possibly stealthy light bomber exposes a culture of entitlement within the Department of National Defence of Harper’s own making.

Given the opportunity the Canadian military are a pack of liars.

. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Steve Harper’s "Culture of Entitlement"

A BCer in Toronto: This is an opportunity to reset the fighter jet procurement process

After several years of ignoring opposition warnings about the price, suitability and lack of competitive tender around the F-35 program, the Harper Conservatives are now finally beginning to admit what we’ve all known all along: this purchase isn’t set in stone, the F-35 program has issues, and this may not be the jet for us. (The fact they’re about to get slammed by the AG may be a factor.)After several years of belligerent “you’re with us or you hate the troops” rhetoric and Red Menace propaganda from Peter MacKay and Julian Fantino anytime someone raised very valid

. . . → Read More: A BCer in Toronto: This is an opportunity to reset the fighter jet procurement process

Reduce DND Spending to Pre-9/11 Levels, CCPA

Below is the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives Alternative Federal Budget. This specific chapter deails the CCPA’s Defence and Security suggestions for the upcoming federal budget. Enjoy Filed under: Canada Tagged: AFN, CCAP, DND, policy alternatives

Peace, order and good government, eh?: Dear DND: Not even close

Officials at the Department of National Defence are defending their efforts in attempting to cover Peter MacKay’s butt when he took fire from the opposition over his own bad judgement…

…saying the process is no different than its efforts to gather facts for the public and news media.

A number of people quoted in the story make the same point. Gathering information for the public and news media is serving the public interest. Doing oppo research to supply the minister of defence with ammunition he can use to attack someone else in Question Period is serving the interests of a

. . . → Read More: Peace, order and good government, eh?: Dear DND: Not even close

Peace, order and good government, eh?: So when can expect Peter MacKay’s resignation from cabinet?

This isn’t the first time I’ve asked that question. On the previous occasion it was because he had been shown to have lied to parliament, which ought to be reason enough for a cabinet minister to stand down. But this time we have a situation that’s arguably much more serious.

OTTAWA–Military personnel were asked to dig up dirt on an opposition MP in the wake of revelations Defence Minister Peter MacKay was picked up in a search-and-rescue helicopter from a 2010 fishing trip, defence department records show.

The DND, along with law enforcement and above all other federal institutions, ought

. . . → Read More: Peace, order and good government, eh?: So when can expect Peter MacKay’s resignation from cabinet?