The F-35 is not like a minivan

Tabatha Southey finds ten ways that Peter MacKay’s minivan analogy fails to explain the government’s accounting.

If the people who hired me to buy them a minivan were working with a finite budget and asked me to follow the written procedure they use in these situations. Supposing they said to me, “Please determine for us as best as possible the true cost of minivan ownership. Not the price, but the cost. Do it the way you promised you would, after that kerfuffle with those Cyclone and Chinook helicopters you picked up for us a few years back.” I would do that. Because I wouldn’t want to be fired, which is eventually (okay, after only four hours) what happened at the Pita Pocket.

Nonetheless, here is another attempt to explain military procurement as analogous to the purchase of a new family vehicle, this time to lecture the auditor general about what he should have been looking at.

Expanding on comments we noted last week, Liberal MP Marc Garneau questions the entirety of the F-35 process.

To this day, Canadians have not been shown a clearly stated set of requirements for the CF-18 replacement. Instead, they have been told that Canada needs the only “fifth-generation” aircraft available — a requirement which, as the Auditor-General points out, is not an operational one. The government has failed to tell us what mission capabilities it expects from the CF-18 replacement. It has failed to hold on open competition in order to select the best aircraft possible based on performance, cost, availability and industrial benefits. Finally, it has failed to accept any accountability whatsoever.

The CBC has colour-coded charts (including an estimate that the 30-year cost of the F-35 could be $33.19 billion).