The country’s education in how to buy a fighter jet continues. Last night, just before Christmas lights lit up Parliament Hill, Postmedia’s Michael Den Tandt lit up Twitter with a big scoop. The federal government cancelled plans to purchase F-35 fighter jets, he wrote. Den Tandt said the cabinet operations committee made the decision on Tuesday. Andrew MacDougall, the Prime Minister’s director of communications, responded—on Twitter, naturally—that cabinet “has not taken a decision on the F-35,” and that the Postmedia story was “inaccurate on a number of fronts.” The government would clarify things in due course, McDougall added, all before the House rises for the Christmas break.
The PMO has made no such complaint about The Globe and Mail‘s story this morning, which reports the saga slightly differently: Steven Chase makes no mention of any cabinet committee, but he reports the feds are looking at other options and will tap four “independent monitors” to “vet the process” of finding a replacement for the air force’s fleet of CF-18 jets. Among that quartet are retired lieutenant-general Charles Bouchard, the man who oversaw NATO’s mission in Libya; and Philippe Lagassé, a University of Ottawa prof who’s written and spoken a lot about F-35s. Lagassé, as it happens, wrote a column in yesterday’s Ottawa Citizen that listed ongoing problems with defence procurement in Canada.
Friday is, traditionally, the quietest day of the week on Parliament Hill. We’ll see if these revelations can change all that.
What’s above the fold this morning?
The Globe and Mail leads with the federal government’s decision to scrap plans to purchase F-35 fighter jets. The National Post, which broke the F-35 story last night, fronts Michael Den Tandt’s scoop that the cabinet operations committee turfed plans to buy the jets. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with the Toronto public school board’s intent to reform its operations. The Ottawa Citizen leads with Den Tandt’s F-35 scoop. iPolitics fronts the provincial NDP’s troubles in Nova Scotia. National Newswatch showcases a CBC News story with federal officials denying the F-35 plan is dead, but adding the government is considering other options.
Stories that will be (mostly) missed
|1. Cluster munitions. Senator Remeo Dallaire says the House of Commons should amend a Senate bill that allows Canada to use cluster munitions during joint operations.||2. Northern telecom. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission will investigate the effectiveness of existing telecom services in Canada’s north.|
|3. Reservist coverage. Treasury Board recently approved plans to increase insurance coverage for reservists who lose limbs in the line of duty. The change was recommended years ago.||4. Pickton report. The long-awaited final report from the inquiry into Robert Pickton’s killing spree will be released on Dec. 17. Postmedia writes the report will have no shortage of critics.|