Wednesday, February 23, 2011

F-35 Stonewall Doesn't Add Up

Common sense dictates that if you are purchasing something that we do need, that does meet our requirements, that is suited for Canada, you want to share that information to bolster you case. Common sense also suggests that any disclosure resistance, any sense that you are withholding, leads one to wonder if that resistance is due to potential negative information coming to light that will undercut your argument for purchase. In addition, if you still balk at disclosure in the face of sustained questioning, one gives the appearance of stonewalling.

More information on the "Statement of Operational Requirements" , a formerly dry document that is quickly becoming intriguing because of its absence. It would appear the government's own website completely contradicts their arguments for withholding this crucial documentation:
The Department of National Defence says it is hiding a key F-35 document from the public because that type of document is classified. Yet its own website hosts many of these same types of papers for public downloading, almost all of which are marked as "unclassified."

"SORs are classified documents" that are "not disclosed publicly," added spokesperson Evan Koronewski.

However, those claims don't appear to hold water as the government's own publicly accessible website currently hosts at least four of these types of documents, three of which explicitly state that they are unclassified. One such document even concerns another recent Air Force equipment purchase.

What's more, their publication dates show that the department has often declassified and released versions of these documents before signing any contracts.

The "classified" defence falls apart, using the government's own website to show a disconnect. Once you incorporate the public debate here, the government defence becomes that much more suspect:
Military experts are calling for the release of the operational requirements document as they say if it is not released, the heated political rhetoric in Canada over the F-35, which could spill over into an election as early as next month, will continue to be based on merely speculation and allegations.

They say the onus is on the government to release the military's requirements in order to clear the air.

The situation is even more pressing after media reports last fall showed that the military had been recommending the F-35 as far back as 2006, even though Lt.-Gen. Deschamps said in November that the document was finalized internally in early 2010—meaning that the military bypassed its own procurement process.

Quite common to release the Statement of Operational Requirements under normal circumstances. Add on the very public debate, the correct "onus on the government" to tell Canadians why we need these planes, and it would seem release of the SOR should be an automatic given. Questions have been raised, the SOR would clear up certain concerns, and yet the government departs from apparent standard practice, keeps the documents hidden from view? Why? Does this present reality lead to unnecessary speculation and innuendo? Any suspicion is solely a reaction to government actions, they are creating this climate of uncertainty because of the lack of transparency, because they will not use the common underpinning to support their claims.

Again, nothing to hide, then why are hiding? And, why are you hiding something you normally don't? Doesn't add up from here.


Saskboy said...

If someone sees the pattern, it adds up fine.

Kirk said...

Good points but you can't put them on a bumper sticker.

You can, however, put "Liberals will gut the military" (a claim from a recent Con fund raising letter) on a bumper sticker.

If you want the media to bring more complicated issues like this to light you'll just have to wait until the Liberals are the govt because while the Conservative are in power this kind of pointing out the more subtle (or not so subtle) government lying is anathema to them.

The problem for the Opposition is that the Conservatives have mastered is the art of the thousand lies. They lie about so many things, all in one breath, that their opponents either have to spend all their time disputing the Conservative lies or just pick one lie and let the others pass as truth.

We see this with the the Bev Oda defence... Kiaros was a bad handler of money, Kiaros was anti-semitic, Kiaros didn't actually help anyone, the minister was in her rights to deny funding, it's the minister's job to deny funding, she saved us $7 million, she didn't lie because she didn't know who held the pen, etc. etc.

This lie about the SORs is just one of many and many more will come as necessary. And the more the lies are refuted, the more new lies will be produced until the public just throws up their hands and tunes out putting it all down as a "he said/she said" controversy where the truth can never be determined and the Cons will get away scotch free.

Sure correct the lies, as Steve's blog does, for the very few who care but the way to deal with the issue is not by pointing out the endless lies but by writing a better bumper sticker. Perhaps, "A single engine plane endangers our troops" or "More planes for less money" (the much cheaper Super Hornets).

Tof KW said...

...the Conservatives have mastered is the art of the thousand lies. They lie about so many things, all in one breath, that their opponents either have to spend all their time disputing the Conservative lies or just pick one lie and let the others pass as truth.

Case in point, try 'debating' CanadianSense sometime. I'm surprised that douchebag hasn't landed a job with the PMO. Or has she?

Anonymous said...

Havent you heard T, her Con MP avoids her like the plague.

Every riding has one, unfortunately CS knows how to use a computer. I remember the pre-internet rants of Erika Kubassek growing up in KW and CS is not that different.