The sales job

by Aaron Wherry

David Pugliese explains how the government hopes to sell the purchase of new F-35s.

The plan is for DND officials to brief analysts about the value of the JSF … Defence Watch has been told that the Joint Strike Fighter PR plan envisions that the analysts will then go out to newspapers, TV and radio to spread the word about the worth of the F-35 as well as the message that the Harper government is making the right move with this proposed $16 billion purchase. Or that they will be ready with such messages when journalists come calling as they write JSF stories…

Meanwhile, a new round of visits of Conservative ministers and MPs to companies who have F-35 contracts, or the potential for F-35 contracts begins again today … Sources tell Defence Watch that the politicians aren’t highlighting new contracts (some of these were awarded years ago).

Meanwhile, sources tell Pugliese the government has kept secret millions in equipment purchases for the Afghan mission.




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The sales job

  1. The Snake Oil is already brewed and bottled.

    Keep your wallet in your pants everyone.

  2. Is the Karzai-led Afghan government more transparent than the Harper-led Canadian government? Sure sounds like it.

  3. Who do you trust – the press, or the hard working men and women of the CF who will operate our next fighter in hostile territory? You've seen the spin, the lobbying and misinformation, now you'll here the real story. At least approach it with an open mind…

  4. Do you ask firefighters what the best firetruck is? Do you aska doctor to design a hospital? Do you ask Air Canada pilots what the best airliner is? Just because they operate the jets doesn't mean they are in the best position to decide which equipment is best. Their needs and safety should be the top priority, but that doesn't mean they should be making the decision.

  5. From the original article: 'Another phase of the Harper government's public relations campaign for the Joint Strike Fighter is underway with Defence Department and Canadian Forces officials concentrating their efforts on “defence analysts” in the academic community and elsewhere.'

    Wait a sec… I thought the academic community was the community we were supposed to ignore as elitist and out-of-touch with ordinary Canadians. I'm all confused. I suppose if they're talking about the benefits of the F35s, they're worth listening to… if they're complaining about getting rid of the long-form census, they're egghead blowhards. Or something like that.

  6. This would explain Clement's recent visits (for no apparent reason) to certain companies. All politics, all the time.

  7. Actually, I think the answer to each of your questions would be yes.

  8. Input yes, decision making, no.

  9. Perhaps better decisions would be made in those cases. In the case of fighter planes for the air force, while the opinions of those who may be called on to operate the planes may not be the final decision, surely their opinions need to be taken seriously. The wrong choice, after, all could condemn them to death if called on to fly an inadequate airplane.

    The decision as to whether to have a combat-capable air force is one that has to be decided by politicians. The tenor of many comments on this Board indicates that not everyone is convinced that Canada needs an actual air force. But once that decision is made (and both the Conservative and Liberal parties support the concept of having a combat-capable air force- despite the Liberal attempts to portray themselves with their usual ambiguity) surely politicians should defer to those who will have to use the equipment when decisions are made about what airframe and weapons are needed to fulfill the role the government may ask them to carry out?

  10. Funny, the Bush-era Republicans were similar: the only thing they were good at was PR.

  11. Okay, let's heed the statisticians on census questionnaires, nuclear safety officials on reactor startups, wheat farmers about the Wheat Board, and First Nations about aboriginal health and services.

    Oh, and somewhat inconveniently, the Environmental Assessment Caucus, in place for 20 years, not only wasn't listened to, or even heard from when federal assessment was gutted as part of the omnibus budget bill last Srping, it was summarily defunded of a paltry $60,000 for meetings and research. These are environmentalists with expertise in assessment law and processes who were providing their advice as volunteers. Doesn't mean we have to do what they said, but surely government should at least listen.

    All this support our troops stuff is just crap, because no one actually supports them, including this government which just hides behind them instead of actually considering their interests.

  12. Hopefully you don't work in procurement

  13. I'm pretty sure if you asked a pilot what the best plane would be, the first respone would be "for what types of missions?" Pilots can't tell you what kind of plane to buy unless they know the decisions that will be made about deployment. I have no crystal ball, but if I had to predict the kind of missions that Canada woud face in the next 50 years these single-engine fighters do not look like the best bet.

  14. Remember, it's always backwards when we talk about defence. Huge spending and deficits are good! No price too high! Listen to the experts! Listen to those on the ground!

  15. I think if you ask the air force (as this government and the previous one actually have) they would tell you that since, as you point out, it is very difficult to know what they will be asked to do over the next forty years, they need the best multi-role aircraft available. That, at the moment, happens to be the F-35.

    It would be nice, I suppose, if we could wait until a crisis happens and then we can decide what aircraft we need. That, in practice, is impossible, given the lead time for acquisition and training. All we can do is make a determination that if we want the maximum flexibility that will enable our aif force to defend Canada and our allies, if and when required to do so, that we buy the best equipment available. Since there is a concensus in the air force that the best available is the F-35, second guessing them would seem to be inappropriate. (The single-engine versus two or more engine issue is bogus.)

  16. The government hasn't proven this is the 'adequate' plane. An open bid would answer any and all questions.

  17. What do you mean by an open bid? What would that cost and what would it accomplish? Are we really going to buy the Rafale instead of the F-35?

  18. With this freespending gang of CON incompetents, past evidence draws the following conclusions: one MP will demand to get on an airplane while it's leaving the hanger, and whine about the hick-seed conditions of the airport; a little 'elbow-grease' will become 'arm twisting' en route to subtle threats to industry to start selling this slop, and don't forget to GPS your signage!; if that fails, they'll offer a bribe to some deathly sick CEO in hopes to delay the whole fan-meets-s**t implosion and prorogate til the cows come home…

  19. So far i've heard plenty of military experts who've questioned this single-tender deal, so your own point is moot. It's questioning the politicians who seem to think your dollar was made for an impulse buy of military jets, forget about trying to get the best deal.
    But thanks for trotting out the latest lame CON defence…

  20. Foolish question but why can't Canada buy some other possibly useful aircraft, or maybe shoot something into space. Why is it F-35 or nothing? The good news is that they may never get it to fly, all the signs of a fiasco are there.

  21. It is a program that we have been participating in for ten years. The date by which the CF-18s must be replaced has been known for a long time, and every Canadian government since about 1938 has been committed to keeping a viable Canadian air defence force. So calling the decision to replace the CF-18s with a capable aircraft is hardly an impulse buy is it?
    If you want to argue for having no air force, as people like Wherry imply we should choose, go ahead. Otherwise the casting aspersions on the current government for going ahead with a project that has been in the works for a decade is simply partisan nonsense.

  22. It is the only fifth generation airplane available to us. Replacing the CF-18 with anything else means replacing it with a second-best airplane. Is that what you want for our pilots? And, of course, it is flying and going into production as the NATO standard air combat plane for the next thirty years.

  23. Right. Liberal politicians are the only ones qualified to make ANY decisions. Who would trust some shmuck who runs into fires to save lives, or some idiot brain surgeon to be responsible for making important decisions! Sheesh! </sarcasm>

  24. Indeed, why did the previous Liberal government impulsively decide to buy military jets? You'd think people would want to hold those idiots to account, but it would appear some people are most concerned with covering up their moronic blunder by blaming the current government for following through on Liberal plans. Funny that.

  25. The government is educating the academic community in this case, not the other way around. So I think it's safe to say they're being consistent.

  26. "why can't Canada buy some other possibly useful aircraft"
    Because the previous Liberal government signed contracts committing us to this particular machine.

  27. No they didn't. We are under no obligation to buy them. And we will not be siging anything until 2013. Plenty of time for a competative bid.

  28. The Liberals signed us up for the F-35. Denying it just shows how spectacularly dishonest you are.

  29. They signed an MOU. And actually it's 2012 when we have to sign a contract if we're going to buy them. You might want do a little research before you call people dishonest.

  30. Are you trying to differentiate between an MOU and a contract? If so, you're splitting hairs.

    If you're going to talk about research, start by figuring out if you're talking about 2013 or 2012. Because you seem to be using both years interchangeably.

  31. Yes, but the MOU was to support the development of the F-35, not to actually PURCHASE the F-35. They're clearly two different things and the MOU was in no way a "contract" in the sense that you mean here, and had NOTHING to do with an ultimate decision on whether or not to purchase F-35s. We have MOU's surrounding our participation in the development of the International Space Station too, for which we've contributed millions of dollars, but that doesn't mean we have a "contract" to buy the ISS!

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