10.29.2010 10:20 AM

So what

Ignatieff is right, and the unelected Senator is not.

We won the 1993 election partly on a helicopter purchase that was for a lot less money, and which had a lot more transparency.  So go right ahead, Reformatories.  Buy ’em, and see what happens to you on the campaign trail.

We’ll see how far unelected Senator few have ever heard of gets you, won’t we?

From the archives:

Chretien sets out his priority list Jobs program would come first, then cancelling 2 Tory contracts
13 October 1993
The Globe and Mail


An increasingly confident Jean Chretien laid out for a student audience yesterday the first three things he will do if he becomes prime minister after Oct. 25.

His government will immediately put into place its infrastructure program so municipalities can start projects and create jobs, he said. That will be accompanied by the cancellation of the EH-101 helicopter program in order to finance the public-works program.

Next, Mr. Chretien said, he will apply the brakes to the controversial privatization of Toronto’s Pearson airport.

“Everything that we will do as a party will be in relation to job creation. That has to be the priority of the government,” he said.


  1. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Namesake says:

    The con-bots are probably trying to make a lot of the Lib. Sentator’s Colin Kenny breaking ranks on this and Don Martin’s rather over blown conclusions, but the Senator’s remarks there hardly “shred” anything.

    The Liberal caucus has posed three questions they want properly researched and defended answers to before endorsing the largest military procurement this country has ever made:

    – What Planes do we actually NEED?
    – How much will the F-35s actually end up COSTING (including the arms, training & maintenance packages)? and,
    – Could we get a better DEAL on them by having a new competition?

    From what Don Martin reports, the Senator has completely ignored the (other) Libs’ first 2 questions on this deal here, and is just begging the question on the last.

    Kenny submits we probably did get the best deal, ‘cuz why would Lockheed gouge us if we know what others are paying?

    But the thing is, we don’t know what kind of deal everyone else will get or if we’ll get the most equitable one, ‘cuz thanks to this govt’s over-eagerness, we’re one of first to signal a definite order, and we waived any spin-off contract guarantees.

    But there’s ALREADY evidence that other countries are getting a
    better deal: we’ll receive spin-off contracts worth 75% of our total purchase & maintenance contracts, AT BEST; but Israel will be getting about 175%, and Norway is holding out for 100%.




    the Libs’ latest releases on this are at:



    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      Ronald O'Dowd says:


      I’m your wingman. Now let’s get at crashing this plane before all Canadians get royally burned. Apparently, the skies are no longer the limit…

  2. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    JH says:

    I’m old, I’m slow and I know that I should be warehoused in a senior citizens home and not even allowed out to vote ( at least according to TO’s latte drinkers this week) but I dare to ask one question. Since Mr. Ignatieff has said definitively he will cancel the plane deal, no ifs ands or buts, what is the point of worrying about the Liberal caucus’s 3 questions?
    It seems to me they are a non-starter are they not, since the leader says he’s cancelling the deal anyway. Or maybe that’s not what he said and my hearing/vision/brain cells are fading as well?

    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      Ottlib says:

      First of all no contract has been signed. The Harper government has only indicated that they would be going forward with acquiring the F-35 in the future, without bothering to put the contract to tender. So, Mr. Ignatieff will not be cancelling anything.

      Second, Mr. Ignatieff has acknowledged that the CF needs to replace the current CF-18s, but he is saying that it should be done after a competative process that can be used to maximize the economic benefits for Canada, used to be certain that the replacement fighters that we finally do acquire meet the current and future needs of the CF and to perhaps reduce the cost per unit thus allowing Canada to save money or to acquire more than just 65 new planes.

      In that context those three questions are very reasonable as is the position of Mr. Ignatieff.

      • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
        JH says:

        How can you call Mr. Ignatieff’s position reasonable when he has declared this week he will cancel the contract period! All the obfuscating in the world won’t change that. He said he’ll cancel it – end of discussion. Therefore what relevance do the caucaus’s 3 questions have. He’s by-passed them by the cancellation decision. Answering the questions or even attempting to is a waste of time if this decision on the part of a future Liberal government is a foregone conclusion.
        Please just address the point.

        • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
          Namesake says:

          But they’re not moot q’s now, nor incompatible with cancelling the hasty, and as yet unsigned, deal the Cons. keep announcing;

          those three q’s are still part & parcel of what the Libs. — and the Auditor General — are saying should be done, and will be done by them, if given the chance; viz.:

          “* Identify Canada?s defence needs and the operational needs of the military before proceeding with any purchase;
          * Open the procurement to competition;
          * Account for full life-cycle costs; and
          * Sign maintenance contracts in advance of the purchase, before all bargaining power is lost.”
          (from the “Liberals will cancel F-35 deal and hold an open competition” news release on this)

          Note, they’re not saying they won’t buy the F-35s, full stop: just that they won’t buy them under these terms (which is essentially a ‘blank cheque’ order for 65 units with no guarantees of development contracts).

          I.e., they may very well still buy them, but only after there’s satisfactory evidence of:
          – whether we need that particular set of features/capacities in a plane;
          – what the total costs of that particular model will or are most likely to be;
          – whether we are getting the best possible deal in terms of reciprocal deals for that price.

          There’s no flip-flop or contradiction, here, just an evolution and firming up of the position: No to this foolish deal; maybe yes to that plane, once a proper review of our current and foreseeable needs and options is completed.

  3. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Lance says:

    You’re absolutley right. What does the former chair of the Senate’s National Security and Defence Committee know?

    “So what”, indeed.

  4. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Ted says:

    And there are plenty of non-Liberals on his side on this that DO carry more weight: right-leaning columnists like Ivison and Ibbitson, the Auditor General herself, the UK is also rethinking its commitment on F-35s.

    And no one is saying we shouldn’t buy new planes so the standard MO fearmongering of the PMO about losing jobs (jobs they didn’t think were important enough to protect in the contract!) is total BS. $16 BILLION will create Canadian jobs no matter what and with a better contract and competitive process we could fix it as a requirement, as is completely normal/standard for such things. (Why the Harper Conservatives cared so very little about Canadian jobs when they were writing this thing up is beyond me.)

  5. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    wilson says:

    When the British and US buy the new F35s,
    Canada can buy the old airplanes they replace,
    like the 4 British rusted out scrap submarines Chretien bought. (sarc)

    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      Dave says:

      You mean we get to buy the F22’s from the USAF? sweet

  6. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Springer says:

    The cancellation in 1993 of the EH101 replacement for the Sea Kings, along with it’s half billion dollar penalty fee, was just about the worse decision ever taken by a government with respect to national defense. It’s now 17 years later, Sea Kings that went into service starting in 1963 are still in active duty with our navy. The Martin government signed a contract for replacements in 2005 that have never seen military duty, for a damn sight more money than the EH101s, and we’re still waiting for the first one to land…expected now in 2012. That would be at least a decade after the best before date expired on the Sea Kings.

    It just does not get any worse than this ridiculous fiasco!

    And now Iggy wants to brings us: CF-18s – The Sequel.

    Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant!

  7. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    David says:

    You often write about your sadness at service persons deaths and that you support the CF. I do have trouble believing that given that the Sea King helicopters replacement, the EH 101 was canceled, by a government you worked for, 17 years ago in 1993. Now Canadian Forces members continue to fly Sea Kings off of Canadian Warships,on which I serve, around the world at considerable risk to aircrews and the crews of the ships on which they are based. Just one example of the risk of which I speak is the fact that in 2000 a Sea King, which should have at that point already been replaced by an EH101, crashed while operating from HMCS PROTECTEUR in the South Pacific and sank in 2000+ feet of water. Thankfully in this case no one was hurt but to say that the fact that the EH 101 which was canceled for clearly political reason did not play a role in the crash would be untrue given that all Sea Kings would have been take out of service prior to 1998. Also let use not forget that the first Sea King replacement is still not in service some 15 years after the first EH101 was to be delivered. Now the same liberal party once again would cancel a aircraft replacement project can’t you understand the mistake it was in the case of the Sea Kings is repeating itself. Whether a CF member dies from an IED or in the crash of a 45 year old Sea King they are still dead so would all parties stop risking sailors, soldiers and Airmens lives playing politics with CF equipment purchases as Mr Chretien did in 1993.

    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      Bell says:


      Good perspective. I guess supporting the troops is important only if it doesn’t conflict with a political strategy which gives your leader a mindless talking point that goes over well when polled against the masses of uninformed voters out there.

      • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
        David says:

        I see Warren has moved on and does not seem to want to rebut my post. I wish he would because he is advocating going down the same road as the Sea King. I find this bothersome as no who seems to support the cancellation of the F-35 seems to want to mention anything to do with the 45 year old Sea Kings that are still being used everyday.

        • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
          Ronald O'Dowd says:


          I will say this: respectfully, between black and white, one can blend grey. Regrettably, in politics, extreme positions one way or another are the order of the day.

    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      Namesake says:

      Let’s not get too Whiggish about our history, shall we? Lest we forget,

      “back in the 1990s, Stephen Harper was policy director of the Reform Party, which opposed the Mulroney Conservative?s purchase of Sea King military helicopters precisely because they didn?t think Canadians were getting the best deal, and that the Mulroney government should have negotiated a lower price.

      ?We agree that the Sea King must eventually be replaced, however, we also feel that deferring this procurement and re-allocating the savings to provide a balanced, combat-capable deployable force for peacekeeping operations should now have a significantly higher priority that anti-submarine warfare.? (Reform Party?s March 1993 policy document) ”


      • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
        David says:

        Does it make a difference member who would or would not have canceled the EH 101? The fact is that members of the CF are flying 45 yr old aircraft. Maybe the former reform party member learned a lesson from Mr Chretien’s error or maybe not. I frankly don’t care either way what I want is not to be put at risk because any party thinks they can gain political points from asking CF member to do their jobs with sub standard equipment. In effect what namesake and I assume the liberal party are saying is it was a bad decision to cancel the EH101 purchase but since the current PM agreed with the bad decision it is OK, well no it is not. It was a bad decision which no matter who agreed with it and at least the current government does want to repeat the mistake. Namesake I would ask you do you want to fly off a Canadian warship in the North Pacific in a 45 yr old helicopter as I have had to do? You will likely say yes as it will never happen but I will likely have to do it again so I think my opinion in this matter has more wieght.
        Dave a Canadian Sailor

        • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
          Namesake says:

          I do sympathize with what’s been a long national embarrassment, Dave, and am sorry that people have been put in jeopardy over this.

          But there’s two issues here which you seem unwilling to disentangle:

          1) Is it a good idea for the gov’t to have an unthinking ‘The Sky’s the Limit!’ or ‘Gee, whatever you guys say’ position on certain types of military procurement (esp. aircraft, which appear to be the most expensive & with the most shenanigans among the actual suppliers & purchasers) — esp. since that means we WON’T be able to afford other things down the road (like, proper disability pensions for the military, as well as enough for OTHER types of military equipment, as well as for lots of other departments who of course have billion dollar wish lists, too); and,

          2) What should be done next, after saying “No” to the above?

          The thing here is, in 1993, both the Lib. & the Reform Party & most impartial & disinterested observers & indeed the electorate wisely agreed that there have to be some prudence and controls to decide what to buy, and for how much, and when;

          and, except for the now-defunct Reform Party, increasing numbers of smart folk agree that’s still the case, today.

          But I gather what happened next after deciding we needed to go back to the drawing board was that there was a contest of wills with some bad faith on BOTH the govt’s and the DND’s part about what the specs had to be for the ‘copters (with the latter jerry rigging it to insist that it had to be what they wanted in the first place, and the former saying to Hell with that noise), plus there was a lot of BS on the manufacturers part about what it could get done, which is why it’s taken 5 years longer to deliver once they finally did get ordered — i.e., that you have your own Brass to be blame for why it took so long to get the replacements (for its stubbornness, lack of political savvy, and lack of due diligence/naivety), as much as the previous gov’t.

          • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
            David says:

            You are correct that the gov’t should not say to the CF ‘have what ever you guys need” if they did we would have alot better stuff than we do. That said don’t try to blame the military for this. Once the EH101 was canceled by Mr Chretien as the replacement for shipborne and Search and rescue (SAR) helicopters and open bid process was started to solely replace the SAR helicopter so what was the result? The EH 101 was the winning bid! So 5 years on when a open bid process was undertaken the result was the Helicopters which we could not “afford” were then purchased for more money and a 500 million dollar penalty. The silliness does not end there, in order to avoid more egg on his face Mr Chretien then refused to move forward on the shipborne portion of the Helicopter replacement program at all. It was only PM Martin who finally moved forward with the maritime helicopter replacement program in 2005, 12 years after the cancellation of the EH 101, and the military was forced to tailor the requirements so the EH 101 could not win the process. The result is the helicopter selected 1. cost more than the EH101, 2. still can not meet the requirements laid down which were written for it to win, and 3. is plagued by delays. Further the gov’t has been forced to paying for costly repairs to Sea Kings because despite not replacing the Sea Kings the gov’t still sends us on operation that require the use of ship borne helicopter.
            So according to namesake, the liberal party and the “increasing number of smart folks who agree” it is a good idea for the GoC to cancel a contract, pay a penalty, restart part of the program that was canceled. This then results in the bidder who was canceled in the first place winning, and the GoC paying more per unit cost than the canceled contract. Wait it get better, then in order not to look even more foolish effectively rigging the remainder of the process so a unproven helicopter can win and again paying more per unit cost. Finally 17 yrs on the GoC ends up paying more for ship borne and SAR helicopter combined then it would have from the original canceled contract and still the 28 helicopters for use on ships are not delivered.
            Namesake if you and the rest of the “smart folks” who aspire to run this country think that the EH101 contract cancellation was the smart to do we are really in trouble.
            Dave a Canadian Sailor

          • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
            Namesake says:

            This is about to be a ‘dead thread,’ but the topic will surely come up again, so for now I’ll just say:

            – the fact that the military won half of this test of wills when the EH-101/Cormorant won the SAR bid doesn’t show there wasn’t any jerry-rigging of the process on the military’s part (to keep on insisting on features they wanted & refused to budge on, but didn’t necessarily ‘need’): that just begs the question.

            – indeed, the cost overruns, delays and on-the fly redesign of the MH-92 Sikorski’s once a more compliant gov’t came into power shows that tendency is still very much in play.

            – the fact that there are lots of break-downs in the Sea-Kings isn’t necessarily just a function of their advanced age: the successors — the British Merlins, Danish AW101’s and Canadian CH-149 Cormorants have all had their fleets of BRAND NEW EH-101’s sidelined at various points for things like broken drive shafts and cracked tail rotor hubs. (Indeed, at one point, only 30% of the Dane’s fleet were available to use at any one time due to mechanical issues: or, whoopee, 50%, once they starting stocking more spare parts & bring in more mechanics).

            – I’ve just started looking in to this, but the preliminary indications are that even with the penalty on the EH-101s (and you can’t pin the latest delays on the Libs. since they’re cuz the Cons. let the DND completely redesign the specs again after the fact, sending Sikorski back to square 1), the MH-92’s will be a better deal because it includes 20 years of full maintenance costs, which the EH-101 deal did not.

            – there is no cancellation penalty for the F-35s, since there’s no contract yet.

            – however botched up ‘Part 2′ of the processes I outlined above has been on the helicopters, the current problem is that the Conservatives didn’t do Part 1 — follow a proper procurement process — which is what the Libs’ want done in a timely fashion.

            If it’s done right, instead of getting 65 of one type we don’t even really deed at all, we may end up getting a range: say, 10 of those stupid F-35s to keep our end up with NATO to go on, sigh, bombing missions; 40 Super Hornets to play war games with the Russians, do air shows, and shadow suspicious mail packages on cargo planes or commercial airliners; and 30 unmanned drones to patrol the Arctic and shoot down Alaskan aircraft after Sarah Palin finally _really_ goes rogue.

  8. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Sean says:

    So what? Apparently it is important enough to put it on your website. Most importantly, Liberals, ever increasingly don’t give a damn what their leader thinks on any issue at all. The flip flops and embarrassments are adding up every day. Lastly, I would contend that it is impossible to prove that Ignatieff actually has a “position” on this at all. One day its “cancel the planes”, the next day we have “three questions” and on and on it goes. Meanwhile Liberals are about be eclipsed by the NDP in fundraising and get their asses kicked in the bi-elections.

    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      terence says:

      Sean, at least liberal MP’s are allowed to speak w/o getting their leader’s permission. Libs do car what their leader thinks by are also free to voice their own opinions…………its called the big red tent for a reason!!!

      • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
        Alfred E. Newman says:

        You mean like with the gun registry?

  9. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Joe says:

    The F-18 Hornets that we currently use were first ordered when TRUDEAU was in power. Good lord, what do you want our men and women flying — WWII era Spitfires? Or should we just fire spitballs at the enemy? The reality is that Canada is a first world nation, and we have certain responsibilities as part of NATO and NORAD to have the best possible aircraft for our armed forces. We have already invested hundreds of millions of dollars into R&D for this aircraft (started by the liberals). The alternatives are the Super Hornets which the Australians ordered and are proving to be a financial boondoggle in terms of maintenance, costing substantially more than the F-35 Lightning II’s. Or we can go with the French Raphael, which costs more per unit. The Lightning II is a joint-effort by numerous countries and will lead to hundreds of high-paying jobs in Canada, which are vital during a recession. Bottom line, we need these planes.

    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      Springer says:

      The Aussies bought 20 of the Super Hornets only as an interim measure until their F-35s start showing up. They also use the original F-18, same as Canada.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.