It all started with the Conservatives promising things four or five years out, that is how this "platform" came to be. Rivals mocked the 2015 pledges, and I'm pleased to say the ideas didn't get the media traction I had feared. To square this optical irritant, the Conservatives massaged their deficit projections, SUDDENLY we were a year closer to a balanced budget, all those promises closer on the horizon, they look fiscally prudent as well as reasonable moving forward. What we have here is a Conservative war room making it up on the fly, aware their budget lacked "buzz", they moved the goal posts, offered future goodies, then presented new numbers to bring their promises closer to fruition. The platform leaves two choices, either the government is incompetent, their budget an utter joke, or they are making up new numbers trying to pull a fast one on the Canadian people. Neither is flattering, neither can insulate the Conservative from criticism, both arm Ignatieff for the coming debate.
The other issue, the F-35 is finally coming to a bit of a head as Harper digs himself an illogical HOLE. Faced with no independent backing to support his failing credibility, Harper has turned to this letter, a document that confirms Canada is "exempt" from any cost overruns, we have some special deal. There is one problem with Harper's letter, it hasn't been produced and American law demands it can't be true:
"United States Code preventing the Americans from selling military equipment to a foreign country at a lower price than what the United States government pays"
The idea of an American government trying to come to grips with out of control overruns and Canada outside of these considerations is simply absurd, it defies the most basic logic, it makes a fool out of any Conservative apologist. US law precludes it, common sense betrays it, Harper's letter is fantasy and he is now cornered on this file. All Harper has left is a romantic vein of wrapping himself in the flag, because on substance he is finished for all intent and purposes.
You add up the expenditure shortfall on the F-35, then calculate the sudden deficit chasm, and a convincing story of outright deception finds new resonance. I will never under-estimate the Conservatives ability to wiggle off the hook with distractions and double talk, but this campaign is reaching a critical mass on the "utter bullshit" scale. I sure hope so...