As Minister of Defense, Peter MacKay is charged with the responsibility of procurement of equipment for our military. He has been a tireless salesman promoting the acquisition of the Lockheed-Martin F-35 JSF (Joint Strike Fighter).
This fighter aircraft has been surrounded in controversy, cost over runs and technical problems throughout its development. The controversy that now rages is how much this aircraft is going to cost and the stark reality is that nobody really knows; especially so when it will not come into service in Canada for another eight years.
The acquisition of this aircraft comes at a time when all Western governments including the US are under severe economic restraints.
There is also the daunting question as to whether such high tech weaponry is needed in this day and age, when terrorism is touted as the most serious threat to our national security.
By his recent actions MacKay shows contempt for the public purse and we are left wonder to if this same extravagance extends to the acquisition of the F-35. Canadians should be deeply skeptical regarding Mackay’s obsessive selling of the F-35 as the only choice.
Mackay has been so brazen as to use military aircraft as his personal taxi even when military personnel advised against it as politically unwise.
He showed no consideration for the operational costs of this equipment (a Cormorant helicopter costs $32,000 an hour to operate), but he was only concerned with satisfying a personal whim. Nor did he consider that he was taking essential, and very expensive, search and rescue equipment out of service that could at any time be called out to deal with a real emergency.
This is not the first time MacKay has shown poor political judgment and a lack of personal integrity. He has by his own actions impeached his trustworthiness in managing a major procurement of new aircraft for the RCAF; especially so in a time of economic austerity when Canadians must feel assured the right aircraft is purchased for the right reasons and at a reasonable cost.
Canadians must hold an arrogant and spendthrift minister to account and insist on his resignation.