Defence hides high costs–again

DND officials reportedly didn’t disclose $600-million reno


Senior officials at the Department of National Defence made sure references to the $600-million-plus cost of renovating a former Nortel research complex were removed from public statements and documents, apparently fearful of what the public and MPs might think if they knew the cost of adapting the former high-tech company’s Ottawa campus to the department’s needs. It’s not the first time Defence has seemed shockingly willing to keep true costs secret. Recently, Parliament was not informed in advance about the department’s plans to spend $477 million on a U.S. military satellite. And last fall the federal auditor general’s office slammed the department for understating the complexities of buying new helicopters, in order to obscure the likelihood of major cost overruns to outfit the Cyclone and Chinook choppers for the Canadian military. In the latest incident, according to an email obtained by the Ottawa Citizen, an assistant to Robert Fonberg, the department’s deputy minister, wrote that Fonberg was concerned about telling the public about the cost, asking: “Why are we using the $623m(illion) fit up cost? It is without context and will be a lightning rod!” That cost estimate was later removed from public documents about the purchase of the old Nortel real estate.

Ottawa Citizen

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Defence hides high costs–again

  1. It would have been nice if you’d added this tidbit from the article, “…some inside defence headquarters believe DND is
    being less than forthright with the media and public. On Nov. 16, 2009, a
    DND official made this observation in an email about the information
    being released publicly on the troubled Cyclone helicopter project:
    “There’s always the media line and then the truth.”In
    turn, DND prepared a response in case journalists asked questions about
    the offending email. “It is DND policy and part of the culture of the
    Canadian Forces to always provide the most complete and accurate
    information to Canadians, as possible,” it stated.

  2. There is but one single reason to hide the truth, it can’t bear scrutiny. Lightening rod indeed!

    I see the DND is setting the standard for their forces honour from the top down…?

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