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Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Harper's conflicted Jets and Helicopters
Raymond Sturgeon is a Conservative candidate in northern Ontario. He is a senior partner at the Ottawa-based lobbying firm CFN Consultants. It specializes in defence and security and Lockheed Martin is one of several clients that sells aircraft and equipment to government departments.
The registry shows he was an active lobbyist for Lockheed Martin until December 15, 2010. Shortly after his registration as a lobbyist for Lockheed Martin ended, Sturgeon was selected as the Conservative candidate in January.
Lockheed Martin has won a number of contracts with DND over the years, but the big one that has proven to be a divisive issue on Parliament Hill is the F-35 fighter jet deal — the largest military procurement in Canada's history.
Michael Forrestall claimed that Raymond Sturgeon was also involved with lobbying Ballard Power Systems and the purchase of Sea King Helicopters. But of course the CONservatives once again pulled the Privacy act card and refused to answer the question. Deja vu. Didn't they also hide and black out most of the documents that tied them to torture in Afghanistan over a claim of national defense privacy?
Lost: Honest transparent government.
Meanwhile back on the campaign trail Harper is kissing babies and handing out free candy. Well not exactly. He's handing out IOU's for free candy. He's promising he'll reduce taxes for families at some later date in the future while he posed with a family and their children. Tell ya what. Instead of handing out free candy during an election only to rip away the bread and butter from working families across the country, keep your tax break. If we have a budget surplus, stop the HST and keep lowering the GST until it hits zero. That is what's best for all of Canada.
BTW US sources claim the jets cost more like $100 million each. Why did the Harper government refuse to tell the real cost to the House when it was supposed to be debated? That's not very... honest.
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Curious about your reference to the Seaking...ReplyDelete
As far as I know, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) was authorized to purchase the SeaKing fleet in 1963, when Lester Pearson was the Prime Minister (with a minority govt). At the time, the SeaKing was a good helicopter, and met the needs of the RCN. However, by the 1980's, the air frames of the helicopter were deteriorating and needed replacement: enter the SeaKing Replacement Project of 1983, followed by the New Shipboard Military Aircraft project. In 1987, Muhlroney's govt announced the purchase of the EH-101 helicopter, considered by military personel and pilots as the only appropriate replacement to the aging sea king fleet. Costs for this program increased however, due to the need for replacement of SAR helicopters. The liberals made scraping the helicopter purchase their top priority for the coming election, and did just that in 1993. Which cost canadians $500M. The liberals then ordered a new fleet in 2004, which wouldn't even be ready until 2010...
wow. that was long winded. My point is that the harper govt had nothing to do with the purchase of seakings, and nothing to do with the privacy act that was passed in 1997 (by liberals). The same rights of privacy apply to all registered lobbyists, not just conservative affiliated lobbyists. It should be noted that the liberals left Canada's Naval air fleet crippled as a result of its blind opposition to the Conservative initiative to replace the aging, and obsolete seaking. Several embarrassing crashes, and millions in maintenance were wasted due to the liberals in action.
The seaking blunder, and purchase of F-35's are apples and oranges. With the SeaKings, the lobbyist's payment and details were hidden. Not the govt's, And it was done fully and totally lawfully.
You are quite right in that the Harper government had nothing to do with the purchase of the Seakings. Much. That was the Mulroney government who the Reform Party broke away from while the Harper Government merged with to get elected.ReplyDelete
The key thing with the hidden payments of the lobbyists with the Seakings is that it involved Raymond Sturgeon who is a current Harper candidate and was also tied to the lobbying for the F-35s. Hence the déjà vu.
I might add that although everyone was in an uproar over Mulroney’s helicopter purchase, the old ones did need to be replaced. The point was the insider trading conflict of interest which always seems to go on like it did with BC Rail. However, the intent behind purchasing so many F-35s reeks of Oil Wars.