F-35s and lifecycle accounting

While we’re looking at lifecycle costs of the F-35 program, we should look at some other costs over their “lifecycle”. The CBC (which looks like it’ll be funded until the sun goes out) will cost us $1 billion a year just like the F-35s. This means over a 45 year period, the CBC will cost the Canadian taxpayer over $45 Billion. Bilingualism costs us $2.4 Billion per year and Ontario has given out over $27 Billion in corporate welfare since 1991.

We need fighter jets, and most serious politicians agree with this assessment (even the NDP). Each platform costs roughly the same.

The procurement process must be more transparent, but politicians should be honest about what upsets them.

Politicking on procurement is part of our heritage, it seems. The opposition paints Conservatives as war-hungry and gung-ho about military equipment, yet the Liberals initiated the process, and the NDP doesn’t have a concrete alternative to propose.

Time to look at repeal

The United States of America is again reeling from the unimaginable violence of a mass shooting this week after a young man opened fire taking the lives of many innocents.

America again stands to face a so-called freedom guaranteed to it by its founding fathers in the American constitution. President Obama alluded to it in a memorial speech in the small town where the shooting took place just yesterday,

“Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?” — President Obama

Lawmakers were quick to react to the tragedy, with the bitter divisions in American politics all too raw in the wake of tragedy. “It is time to rein in this industry of death and glorification of violence,” said one Congressman in Washington. “While most use them for weekend recreation, the very few that abuse them and succumb to their dark influence destroy communities,” said another.

The deeply partisan divide shows that the view is hardly unanimous. While one Senator is proposing legislation to ban production, distribution and possession, industry lobbyists and their bought-and-paid-for representatives in Washington express a different tone, “These are inanimate plastic and metal objects, produced by hard-working Americans that are my constituents. We must address the root causes. We must address mental health.” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Is America ready to repeal the first Amendment and regulate Hollywood and the video game industry? Free speech absolutists point to their peaceful enjoyment of action-packed Blockbuster movies where protagonists of those films are often portrayed slaying hundreds of people in simulated scenes of violence.

Yet, journalists are broadcasting America’s call for an end to the tragedies through the regulation of this so-called freedom that has already killed too many. “The debate is long overdue. The mass-killing perpetrated by America’s free-speech culture is our hottest story today,” said one network reporter. “Adam or Ryan Whats-His-Name was just another face. The real problem that must be addressed is America’s sick love affair with unsanctioned ideas and unfettered access to violent imagery.”

The founding fathers could not have imagined high-capacity mass-communications networks when they wrote the Constitution. Thomas Paine was a pamphleteer, not a mass merchant of kill porn on iTunes. Indeed, in the age of quills and parchment, Thomas Jefferson could not have imagined tweeting, or using the cable news industry to launch into the superstardum of American’s celebrity culture overnight.

“I’m a free speech moderate,” said one New York Times reporter reflecting upon the recent tragedy, “I’m in the news business because of free-speech. But, I’m also here to make a difference. If, because of this overdue regulation, it becomes more difficult to speculate wildly about the identity of the shooter based on an intern’s cursory scan of social media, so be it.”

Does Justin Trudeau’s language problem reflect his maturity?

Liberal leadership candidate Justin Trudeau is in the news again for all of the wrong reasons, coming under fire from Jewish and liberal muslim community groups for his plans to attend a conference organized by a group with links to Hamas.

The International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (IRFAN) is listed on Canada’s Department of Public Safety’s website as a group associated with terrorism.

But yet, Trudeau is defending his decision to give a speech at the conference next week in Toronto,

“It’s an opportunity to speak to 20,000 Muslim Canadians about this extraordinary society based on values of openness, of respect that we’ve managed to build here in Canada. This level of engagement, this level of optimism and hope for the future is a message that absolutely needs to come out. And people trying to quash that kind of dialogue and that kind of discourse through intolerant attacks like we’ve seen is not what has made this country great.”

Speaking of terrorism and other barbarism, we recall too, that Justin Trudeau spoke out against the Conservative government’s use of the term “barbaric” to describe honour killings in the Canadian Citizenship guide,

The federal Liberal immigration critic agrees that so-called “honour killings” are barbaric, but Justin Trudeau says he doesn’t want the practice described in such a “pejorative” way in Canada’s citizenship guide.
He fears it’s too judgemental.

Has Trudeau matured as a candidate who is ostensibly running to become Prime Minister of Canada on day? Does he have the depth to comprehend the issues that affect Canadians and our domestic security? Or can he really chalk up our critiques of him to language and our misinterpretation of it?

He ran into language issues during the recent round of by-elections when a story resurfaced of a quote given two years ago in an interview he gave to Quebec’s Les francs-tireurs,

“Canada isn’t doing well right now because it’s Albertans who control our community and socio-democratic agenda. It doesn’t work.”

Regarding Canada being better off when Quebecers rather than Albertans in charge, did Trudeau agree with that assessement?

“I’m a Liberal, so of course I think so, yes. Certainly when we look at the great prime ministers of the 20th century, those that really stood the test of time, they were MPs from Quebec … This country — Canada — it belongs to us.”

When the comments recently came to light, Trudeau apologized,

I’m sorry I said what I did. I was wrong to relate the area of the country that Mr. (Stephen) Harper is from with the people who live there and with the policies that he has that don’t represent the values of most Canadians

It is an apology that re-parses his language.

When Canada doesn’t belong to the Liberals, Justin thinks about leading Quebec out of it. In an interview with Radio Canada, Trudeau explained,

“I always say that if ever I believed Canada was really Stephen Harper’s Canada — that we were heading against abortion, against gay marriage, that we were going backwards 10,000 different ways — maybe I would think about wanting to make Quebec a country.”

His supporters will attribute it to his “passion”, but does it represent a struggle with his composure and his ability to reflect on the important issues of the day? For example, in a debate over the Kyoto protocol, Trudeau called environment minister a “piece of shit”. Though the language was pretty clear, an apology was subsequently offered.

But do we have any evidence that Trudeau has given much thought to important issues since he decided to throw the fedora he inherited from his father into the Liberal leadership ring? Prompted by a local in Glengarry–Prescott–Russell on the long-gun registry, Trudeau called the program a “failure” and recounted a tale about a Greenland trek where he slung a rifle over his shoulder to protect his students from any threatening polar bears they may encounter. He went on to say that firearms are “an important facet of Canadian identity”.

Then outrage and confusion.

Liberals were left scratching their heads over this new policy which flew in the face of one of their hallmark initiatives — Liberals created the long-gun registry and had always defended it. Conservatives called the move hypocrisy as Trudeau voted multiple times to keep the long-gun registry.

Again, he had to re-parse his own language after two days of baffled interpretation.

You see, the long-gun registry was a “failed policy” because it was a defeated one, according to Trudeau. All repealed policy are failed ones, he explained. Would he vote to reintroduce such a “failed” policy and then support it? Yes.

We’re left trying to read Trudeau as if he’s a serious candidate for a serious office. We presume that he’s the former, because he’s running for the latter, but his language problem is certainly one that reflects his maturity. He either lets his emotions get the better of him, or he stumbles over words, twisting sentences — into what should be perceived as nonsense by people that write for a living — trying to fudge his way through the big test.