Dan Ross on the F-35

by Aaron Wherry

Dan Ross, the former assistant deputy minister of defence materiel, tells Postmedia that the Harper government is to blame for the handling of the F-35.

Ferguson said officials failed to communicate the F-35’s risks, including escalating costs and schedule delays, to Parliament and decision-makers. Ross says National Defence had all the information — but the Harper government wouldn’t let officials go public with it. “For seven and a half years, whenever a journalist asked to do an interview, it was denied,” he says. “The Defence Department doesn’t communicate and it asks the (Prime Minister’s Office) for permission and they say no, and no one ever communicates. If we’d had a tech brief bi-weekly that had the good news and the bad news, the facts, went through costing in great detail, I don’t think you’d be in the same place,” he says.

In the lead-up to the 2011 federal election, Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page asked officials in Ross’s section to discuss the true cost of the F-35 program as he prepared a report about the stealth fighter’s pricetag for Parliament. Ross says he never received approval from above for the meeting. “At the end of the day, communications in federal governments is a political decision,” he says. “Bureaucrats don’t get to decide.”

Lee Berthiaume previously detailed how defence officials avoided the Parliamentary Budget Officer in 2011. Mr. Ross appeared at a news conference in March 2011 to attempt to counter the PBO’s report on the F-35.




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Dan Ross on the F-35

  1. Figures, so much for the cons’ promise of “accountability” and “transparency”, more like lying and cheating if you ask me.

  2. I never believed that bureaucrats had not told Ministers about the F 35 costs. I am sure countless briefing notes with all the relevant info were written or as a minimum drafted. Either the Ministers’ offices asked officials not to send them or they ignored them when they received them.

  3. Well, it doesn’t get much clearer than that.

    Over to Rick Omen…..

  4. This may all be very well and true, however given the rapidly escalating issues that the F-35 program is having within the US Military, perhaps the review and probable cancellation of the CF-35 is a blessing in disguise. I for one look forward to our Ikea Gripens.

  5. Of course, there’s also this quote from the end of the article:

    “Still, he firmly believes the Harper government’s decision to restart the process of choosing a successor to the CF-18 will vindicate the decision to choose the F-35 in 2010 — unless politics get in the way.”

  6. The Spec sheet was fixed. The intention was to buy the plane no matter what. The rest is an indication of how stupid the leadership of this country thinks its citizens are.

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