Saturday, March 12, 2011

Knife To A Gunfight

The government is "hitting" back at Kevin Page and his pesky "numbers", denoting both detached arrogance, as well as complete and utter incompetence. The Prime Minister has said he's "not going to get into a lengthy debate on numbers" relating to the F-35. What's a few billion here and there, but more importantly the PM is right, he won't get into a debate on numbers, because they DON'T REALLY HAVE ANY:
While Hawn trashed the budget officer’s methodology and the eye-popping price tag, he offered no concrete figures to rebut the assessment.

How can one question another's numbers, when you have no idea yourself of the cost:
While Hawn trashed the budget officer’s methodology and the eye-popping price tag, he offered no concrete figures to rebut the assessment.

Hawn said commercial and international agreements limit what the government can say publicly about the program.

“There’s a mass of data,” he said. “There’s probably millions of pages out there. It’s not an unfair question to say: Where’s the information? And we’re going to work to get as much of that as we can.”

Page’s report said the Defence Department did not do its own independent analysis of the numbers and relied too much on estimates from the manufacturer, U.S. defence giant Lockheed Martin.

Here we have a situation, where a signature purchase, massive expenditure no matter how many billions, and YOU rely solely on the company trying to SELL you on the plane? You don't do any analysis, you still need to get information on costs, you basically are using outdated information provided by the VENDER, and you actually have the temerity to question the PBO's independent, internationally referenced figures? Harper, Hawn, zero credibility to question, because it appears they are still trying to secure information on cost.

In essence, you can toss aside the government claims, because they appear to be nothing more than unverifiable fantasy. Hawn's attempt to discredit Page only HIGHLIGHTS the amateurish, go along, don't ask any questions, mentality that is at the heart of this emerging fiasco. The government doesn't agree with the PBO's methodology, and yet they are so out to lunch they have NOTHING concrete to counter, despite months and months of debate, just smoke and mirrors.

What I find amazing, the government seems able to come up with hard figures related to industry investment, job potential, relating to the F-35 and yet NADA when it comes to cost of plane, Hawn is left with basically "we'll get back to you on that". Hawn uses the term "illogical" to describe Page's numbers, yet his presentation, or lack thereof in this case, is simply absurd. Page looks that much more formidable, now that we hear the government retorts. The Conservatives won't get into a "lengthy debate on numbers" because they don't have any, YET. A knife to a gunfight.


Omar said...

At the very end of a Power Panel earlier in the week, Geoff Norquay quickly quipped that the PBO, "Doesn't have a clue what it is talking about". Lofty rhetoric for the utterly 'clueless' that.

Did you hear Stockwell Day isn't running in the next election? I wonder if that sets up a chance that someone other then a Conservative might be able to cop the riding?

Steve V said...

I saw that, and Norquay was quickly reminded that these aren't the PBO's numbers, but an international analysis. His response was pathetic.

Seems a pretty safe seat, but who knows...

ottlib said...

The Conservatives have been doing this kind of thing from the beginning and they have gotten away with it for 5 years.

Why would they change?

Maddening I know but until this approach actually costs them something they have no incentive to stop doing it.

Frankly Canadian said...

I just posted a comment on
David Akin's Blog about Stockwell Day's announcement to retire, "Are the rats starting to leave the sinking ship or is his conscious starting to bother him, the way his Conservative leader treats democracy." However after reading your Blog, I get the sense that Mr. Day departure has more to do with how that "smoke and mirrors" wears on the guys conscious. I think Mr. Days realizes just how much lies, deceit, and utter bullshit are holding this government together.
Omar, I think it's great that riding will be vacated, I live in the riding next to his, however the last time this region voted Liberal was 1971. The other parties will need to run some pretty star quality candidates to even have a chance. Up until recently the Liberals had Ross Rebagliati, who I thought might have a real good chance, unfortunately he just stepped out of politics to peruse other opportunities. Anyways I hope the Liberals do find a big name star candidate for that riding because those people vote, Mr. Day had the highest percentage of votes per population than anywhere else in Canada, I believe it was 71% or something like that. One thing is for sure is that the next election is going to get interesting.

Kirk said...

Harper's quips on the recession and no deficit during the 2008 campaign and things like "I'm not going to get into a lengthy debate about numbers" could be strung together into a good attack ad.

But Japan is the news now, not the F35s.

Curtis said...

"What I find amazing, the government seems able to come up with hard figures related to industry investment, job potential, relating to the F-35 and yet NADA when it comes to cost of plane …"

Excellent point that could or should be the main talking point from here until the end of the election. It succinctly summarizes the arrogant, condescending, patronizing and deceitful language and practices of Dear Leader™ and his cabal of dogmatic, brainwashed cronies, most of who are nothing but professional politicians.

Stephen Harper - professional politician
John Baird - professional politician
Peter MacKay - professional politician
Jim Flaherty - professional politician
Tony Clement - professional politician
Jason Kenny - professional politician
Pierre Poilievre- professional politician
Rob Anders - professional politician

I could go on but you get my drift.

Alas, the great irony of The Reform and Alliance stalwarts who supported their parties in the early days by their insistence that our government was run by unsavoury professional politicians. Tis the very same base now that seems to ignore this petty little fact. Quelle surprise.

To Frankly Canadian, as for your question regarding Stockwell Day, "Are the rats starting to leave the sinking ship or is his conscious starting to bother him, the way his Conservative leader treats democracy." If Stockwell wants to clear his conscience of the "… lies, deceit, and utter bullshit [that] are holding this government together …" he would do well to repay the $792,064 in taxpayer funds that the Government of Alberta paid out to settle a defamation lawsuit brought against him due to his abject inability to comprehend even the basics of our judicial system. That would, at the very least, be a good start at redemption.

kitt said...

Curtis, I do believe that Stockwell Day paid back $60,000

WhigWag said...

Yeah, I was pretty appalled by what Geoff Norquay -- a former Comm. Dir. for the CPC -- was saying about Page on Power & Politics the other day (as not knowing what he's doing, and his numbers being all off). I hope Page sues him for defamation.

E.g., one of his bits of 'evidence' for that assertion was how the TD has revised ITS over-stated forecasts for the deficit, as though that should somehow embarrass Page... even though Page's forecasts were actually the same as the TDs new ones.

Curtis said...

" kitt said...
Curtis, I do believe that Stockwell Day paid back $60,000"

If that's the case (and I've never heard that before), there's still $732,064 outstanding. Where I come from, that's still a lot of money.

As an aside, the verification word for this posting was "abus[e]hole". Pretty fitting, I'd say.

Steve V said...


I was actually surprised at his reaction, sort of out of character. The Cons see red now as it relates to Page, which is a bit odd because he's doing the job they supposedly intended with the creation.

Gayle said...

Here is the break down on that lawsuit:

Note that taxpayers in Alberta were on the hook for those costs only because Day refused to settle. Something about how it might affect his leadership bid...

I can find no evidence Day ever paid anything himself, though I suppose he might have paid the actual damages and let the taxpayers foot the legal bill.

By the way, I kind of know Lorne Goddard and he only did this to make the point. He was not interested in the money.

Curtis said...

"By the way, I kind of know Lorne Goddard and he only did this to make the point. He was not interested in the money."

I've heard that too.

The issue really was about Stockwell's utter inability to differentiate between a lawyer and his client. Stockwell was and is of questionable integrity and intelligence. He fits in with the sanctimonious crowd that dominates this government. He and others rely on their perception of revealed religious truth versus secular, provable, repeatable facts. They never let knowledge/reason/facts get in the way of a their dogma.

Joe said...

Without trying to pick sides here the only difference I can find in costing the F 35s is the politicians used a 20 year time frame and Page used a 30 year time frame. In fact the numbers at up to 20 years are virtually the same. I would assume that the maintenance cost on a 30 year old aircraft is likely higher than a 10 year old aircraft. I know my 10 year old car takes more maintenance than my new one what with parts wearing out etc.

Steve V said...

If that was true Joe, then the gov't wouldn't be trying to discredit Page, now would they? Think about it.

Joe said...

Well Steve V go look at the numbers. I did and at 20 years they are virtually the same. Once again not trying to be partisan here but Page has been wrong on the numbers more often than the politicians so I tend to look at his predictions with a bigger grain of salt than I do the politicians. And no I am not saying the politicians are telling the truth. A prediction is a prediction and as we all know we don't know enough to be 100% accurate all the time especially as we are looking farther and farther down the road.
It is even more complicated when the item under discussion hasn't even been built yet or have any kind of maintenance history. Page has a magic number and the politicians have a magic number when they are laid side by each they are the same number. When one goes longer term than the other they are not the same number. If they remained the same number I would be really worried.

Steve V said...

No offence "Joe", but anyone who actually makes the comment that the Cons have been right more often than Page really needs to go back and check the records, it also suggests a Con LEAN on your part, because you sure have a selective memory.

As for your argument here, I suggest you forward it on to the PMO, because they sure aren't reacting like the numbers are the same, just a longer timeframe. 13 billion for 10 years of repairs?

If the numbers were the same 20 years out, then the Cons are stupid not to cease on Page as validation. Common sense, non-partisan speaking of course "joe" ;)

WhigWag said...

They're not virtually the same, Joe.

They are on the acquisition costs ($9, vs. $9.7 B, US). But not on the upkeep.

The PBO puts the "ongoing sustainment costs" at $19.6-B US for 30 years. So, two-thirds of that is: $13.B.

Which is almost 90% higher than the $7-B the gov't said last summer.

And when the totals are compared: $22.77 v. $16-B for the first 20 years, that's over 40% over-budget.

But what's a measly 6 or 7 billion b/w fiscally conservative defense industry friends, eh?

Tomm said...

Joe has a point and you know it.

Steve, go back to your own posts parroting the "structural deficit" talk and Page's estimates of deficits and you will see the same thing Joe (and I) see.

Kevin Page is providing estimates. The media (Toronto Star) picks up on those that oppose the government because the media hunts down stuff to fling at the CPC.

But none of this means Page is right this time any more than when he was baldly stating structural deficits and ones much higher than reality turned out to be.

Be aware of the full picture.

Joe said...

Nice partisan talking points whigwag now go get the numbers when they first came out. Right now they are changing on a whim. The fact is as I said before Real numbers don't exist and anything anyone says is pure speculation. The aircraft isn't built yet and there is no maintenance record/cost. My point is, I supported the purchase when PM Chretien and PM Martin entered into the development agreement and I agree with PM Harper now that we as a nation are moving ahead with acquiring new military hardware. I like the fact that the military will be getting state of the art equipment and the fact that many Canadian aerospace companies will be making significant contributions to the design, development as well as supply actual parts and systems. As a former CAF member I remember driving Korean war vintage trucks that were older than I and using radios that were less powerful and much less reliable than the CB radios (then in vogue) that used the same frequencies. I remember having to change channels during one exercise in Alberta because we were being overridden by some truckers in Texas. Our radios were so old they didn't even make batteries for them anymore and we were lucky if we got a half an hour out of a 'new' battery. I used to cringe when we went on joint exercises with the Americans. Their equipment was 'Dick Tracy' stuff and ours wouldn't have been out of place in a Flinstones episode. Is acquiring new aircraft expensive? YES! next? We as a nation can afford to pay for the new jets without breaking the bank or bankrupting the nation. Chretien knew it, Martin knew it and now Harper knows it. Suddenly because some clown with big eyebrows and a bigger ego whose henchmen usurped the leadership of the Liberal party says its too expensive we should sit up and take notice? Now that would be blindly partisan.

Steve V said...

Wow Joe, somebody bothers to challenge you with numbers, and you fold like a tent. Well my instinct to not bother "fact checking" was vindicated. Thin.

WhigWag said...

Do you even know what "partisan talking points" MEANS, Joe?

Because I didn't get those figures from any press release or 'infoalert' from any party, I looked them up and calculated them myself from the news reports of MacKays press conferences last summer & the new PBO report.

Is this stuff expensive? Sure. But we just want the CPC to be honest about HOW expensive it is, and how expensive the alternatives are, and why we need these particular features (first strike stealth bombing?! when has Canada EVER needed or wanted to do that? why would we?), so that Parliament can make an INFORMED choice, as is their responsibility.

Is that so much to ask? Apparently so: the Speaker has had to COMPEL them to do it.

Is that why you went into the service, prepared to fight for your county: so the gov't can conceal important information from the people because it might cost them some votes (or donations)?

Gayle said...

"the media hunts down stuff to fling at the CPC."

I do not know why you insist on looking stupid.

marie said...

the media hunts down stuff to fling at the CPC."

I do not know why you insist on looking stupid

Maybe its because of those dim minded supporters nature to be stupid.

Nothing else makes any sense.If they had any common sense at all, they would be just as angry as those of us that are fed up with the Harper Party waste and the whole Con criminal minded Harper Party.

Gayle said...

I just think it is a weak rationalization for never questioning their party. When you can pretend the only reason why they "look" bad is because the media are picking on them, you never have to question what the party does and why.

Oda lies to parliament? Harper's party breaks the election laws? Harper lies to Canada about the recession, deficit, costs of their new military toys? Why it is all down to media bias of course.


ottlib said...

I can feel some empathy towards Joe and Tomm. The party they are supporting is mired in scandal and they despair that more people are not looking at the "facts" which would seem to exonerate their party.

But I also remember Justice Gomery stating that Paul Martin and his team had nothing to do with Adscam and the Conservatives (and NDP) ignoring those findings and continuing to accuse PMPM of being involved in it.

We all know that in politics perception matters more than facts and I must say the perception that the Conservatives are giving of their handling of the F-35 issue is not very good. Which of course is the reason why they are attacking the messenger for all they are worth instead of trying to counter the message.

In the meantime please continue the spout your "facts" gentlemen. You will will find that they probably will be as effective in neutralizing the effects of the Conservative scandals as the "facts" the Liberals used in 2006.

Tomm said...

Gayle and Marie,

Sorry you don't like Conservative's speaking their minds.

Thank God you are not in control of the country. Would I have duct tape over my mouth?

Now tell me with a straight face that the Toronto Star is not biased. And then tell me that Kevin Page's wrong predictions are highlighted by the Toronto Star or mentioned at all. Of couse not, because that particular media outlet only wishes to smear the government's credibility and ultimately is not as interested in fairness, truth, or good governance, when it comes to these national political issues. Hell they refused to give fair coverage to their own mayor.

Last month the Star didn't even bother covering the PM's Toronto Press Conference announcement. What does that tell you?

Steve V said...


I find it hilarious, all you conbots attacking Page, when it is your supposed signature accomplishment that created the office. What a joke you people have become, honest to christ.

Gayle said...

"Sorry you don't like Conservative's speaking their minds."

Sorry you do not know how to read. At what point did either of us say we don't like conservatives speaking their minds?

Oh that's right - we didn't. You are just making this up so, yet again, you can cry about being a victim. Like most other conservatives, you are not capable of being responsible for your own words and actions, so instead you simply fabricate some nonsense and then cry foul.

And you were not complaining about the Star only - you were complaining about the "media". For every example of so-called bias you claim to find in the Star I can find 10 from the Post, the Sun chain and Adler/Rutherford etc etc. You know why? Because both the Post and the Sun chain admit they support the Conservatives, in much the same way the Star admits it is a liberal paper. That does not mean the "media" in general is out to get the conseratives, and frankly anyone who believes otherwise is just stupid.

The "media" is not biased. You just need an excuse for the bad press because you are not honest enough to evaluate the conduct of the CPC objectively.

Gayle said...

PS the very fact you lied about what Marie and I had to say shows the depths to which you will sink in order to rationalize your position. Maybe try logical thought instead of knee jerk reactions and making stuff up. It makes you look smarter.

Tomm said...

My apologies for breaking in on the discussion. I should not have mentioned either of your names.

What I said stands. It is my viewpoint.

Your thinking that I approve of stuff I'm not talking about is coming from left field. Bev Oda putting a "not" in a formal document for funding and your thinking I approve of Jason Kenney fund raising out of his Ministerial office is ridiculous. I agree with neither, and have not left the impression otherwise. Do not put words in my mouth. Ask me questions if you want to know what I think about a topic not on the table.

The post was about Kevin Page and the article in the Toronto Star. Or at least I thought so.

My "lying" is a ridiculous comment meant to insite a certain type of response.

Scotian said...


Forget about getting any better from Tomm, there was a reason I stopped responding to him at my blog years ago and elsewhere, he failed my reality threshold test by demonstrating beyond any doubt that he believed in the liberal media bais/comspiracy fiction. How can you have an intelligent, reasoned and rational honest debate/disagreement with someone when they refuse to acknowledge fundamental reality and facts and instead treat primary information sources as inherently suspect whenever they say something critical about their preferred side because they believe in their guts (since there is no and never has been any actual credible peer reviewed evidence of systematic liberal media bias in the overall media of Canada where news reporting is concerned, and if anything one would expect a bias to be in favour of the biases of the owners of said media, which would be corporations and family businesses of serious wealth. This liberal media bias/conspiracy to treat the CPC and Harper differently than others is how the true believers get around the fact that their party its agenda and beliefs do not resonate with the supermajority of Canadians (supermajority being roughly 2/3rds).

Not to mention the sheer inability to distinguish between the leanings of an editorial page and its writers versus the standards of the actual news reporting side of a paper. I mean really, this whole bias fiction is an import from the US where this myth has exited for decades.

What I find truly sad though is that I think Tomm is different from a lot of the conbots out there in that I don't think he is a paid or volunteer party operative unlike some of the more prolific online CPC voices, I do think he is just one of their supporters/voters, which in some ways underscores the problem with how the CPC does business and plays politics. Tomm appears to be a relatively sensible, rational person who comes off as reasonable (I remember many people assuring me of this years back when I decided I wasn't able to have an honest discourse with him, they couldn't understand why I was being so harnosed about it back then, and to be fair he was about the most reasonable of the CPC side online defenders out there, the only other one was someone called Olaf as I recall), and yet his perspective is fundamentally skewed by his apparently genuine belief in the media bias/conspiracy fiction.

If someone with his clear intellectual abilities is still unable to separate reality from fiction because it suits his preferences to believe so (for whatever reason, I do not know why Tomm is unable to grasp this reality, only that he clearly is) then it shows there is little one can do to have anything resembling honest debate/disagreement with true believers no matter how reasonable they may seem or even be in other respects.

I write this because I've watched this go on repeatedly with Tomm, and I find it sad. From what I've seen in many ways I like Tomm, but that doesn't change the ugly reality that he is a true believer in a myth that poisons his ability to recognize fact from fiction, to dismiss information that offends his sense of reality, and to treat any and all reporting about how his preferred party/goverment acts selectively to suit his biases. Worse, this is something his party has encouraged since literally before it's birth with this leader and many of its senior members.

Bottom line Gayle, it is not the depths he will go to but where he already is while genuinely believing he is the one being intellectually honest while the rest of us are incapable of recognizing reality and are spinning/lying to ourselves and the world in what we say, which is why I say it is impossible to have an honest discourse with him, and why I also say that this is a sad reality and a part of what makes his party and its leadership which promotes this myth so toxic to our political environment.

Steve V said...

Nice to see you around Scotian :)

WhigWag said...

Tomm, the fact that the in-house economists at the TD bank have revised THEIR projections and made some very rosy predictions based on their fervent & completely unfounded hopes that the CPC might actually make some substantive CUTS for a change, does not in the LEAST show that Page has been wrong about ANYTHING.

They're JUST predictions, by a BANK, about what they hope will happen 5 years from now.

And the fact that they now think / concede that THEY were off by almost 10 Billion of a $40B deficit in the first year alone, in a prediction they made just 6 months -- on a figure they now, um AGREE that Page was right on -- should give you pause that it's far too early to think they're now right, and he wrong, about whether these CPC will ever manage to balance their budget, much less run a surplus.

Here's where the various parties stand on whether there'll be a deficit -- i.e., more gov't expenses than revenues -- a few years out, now that the stimulus taps are turning off:

with TD1 being what these two TD economists Derek Burleton & Sonya Gulati predicted back in October 12, 2010;

TD2 what they've adjusted that to now, what with the new supplementary estimates that were released May 1, and all, and the benefit of 4 more months of financial data than Page had when he last did his.

G being the Govt's own Fall 2010 Update Figs, from the Dep't of Finance in October 2010 that Page was addressing;

PBO being the Parliamentary Budget Office's figures from, um, November 2010, which you seem intent on holding him to without the benefit of that May 2011 revision & the other new economic info revised TD2 figures used.

and the IMF (International Monetary Fund's) December 2010, figures, as well, as an independent reality check on all of them.

(all in billions, natch)

TD1 -49.2, TD2 -39.5,
G -$45.4, PBO -40.0, IMF -49.7

TD1 -27.6, TD2 -21.7,
G -29.8, PBO -29.6, IMF -33.6

TD1 -17.5, TD2 -15.7,
G -21.2, PBO -24.5, IMF -26.4

TD1 -8.5, TD2 -9.1,
G -11.5, PBO -19.2, IMF -18.3

TD1 -1.8, TD2 -0.6,
G -1.7, PBO -14.6, IMF -10.1

TD1 n/a, TD2 $7.1,
G $2.6, PBO -11.0, IMF -5.4

WhigWag said...

Hmm, my last post got deleted, so I'll try again w. a simpler v.

Tomm, you seem to be complaining that the media -- esp. the Star -- haven't been putting more stock in the TD's latest forecasts which contradict the PBO's prediction that there'll still be a deficit in 2015-16.

Well, maybe cuz they've learned the TD's no's have to be taken with a big grain of salt. Consider:

In early 2007, they were projecting fed. surpluses of $8 or $9 B for that yr. & the foreseeable future.*

(Except, the actual no's turned out to be: +13.8, +9.6, but then -5.8 & -55.6. So, only b/w +4 and -65-B off!)

In late 2008, they tempered that, to be: balanced for that year, then falling to just a 10-B deficit for the first 2 recession years, then half that, and again, to approach balance by 2013.**

(Except, oops, the first 3 actual no's turned out to be: -5.8, -55.6, and, maybe, -39.5. So, only b/w -6 to -45 B. off!)

Then five months ago, in Oct 2010, they went totally the other way, & projected whopping deficits of around 50-B for the first couple yrs, then 30ish, then rapidly dropping off.

But now they've decided that they were wrong about this current year, and, er, Kevin Page was right, and it'll only be -$39.5, not -49.2, like they thought.

So, only $10 B off, there, in, um, the projection they made about the CURRENT year, about halfway INTO that year.

And yet you think we should believe that THEY'RE right, & the PBO is wrong, about what the actual deficit will be in 5 years?! And that the Star is remiss in not taking the PBO to task on that?!

* +9.0, 9.3, 8.4, 8.1, for fiscal '06/07 thru 9/10;

** 0.0, -10.4, -9.9, -5.5, -2.4 for fiscal '08/09 thru 12/13;

*** -53.8, -49.2, -27.6, -17.5, -8.5, -1.8 for fiscal '09/10 thru 14/15;

Steve V said...

Well done WW. Did you delete your own post, or did something happen?

WhigWag said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve V said...

For some reason, they were going into my spam comment file, I put them back in here. Same with one of your comments Tomm, but in that case blogger probably made a good call ;)

Tomm said...


Good to hear from you, even if we do disagree on Canadian politics. I am quite certain there are many other areas where we actually would have a high level of agreement.

I trust you are doing well.

Tomm said...


Good joke... sort of...

Steve V said...

Sorry, couldn't help myself ;) No idea how your comment ended up in there. Anyways...

Gayle said...

"Sorry you don't like Conservative's speaking their minds."

Is a lie. Nothing I said would suggest this, however by saying it you get to play the victim card again.

Scotian - good to hear from you. I missed you!