By Scott Feschuk - Friday, September 14, 2012 - 0 Comments
Some vacation highlights as politicians get down to business
Parliament is about to resume, and I for one could not be more excited. The pomp! The legislation! The third thing I’ll eventually think of!
But before our MPs get back to the serious business of braying like jackasses at one another’s sub-moronic rhetoric amid an appalling display of puerile partisan obstinacy that would make democracy—were it a living being—shoot itself in the face with a cannon, let’s look back on the summer that was.
People in and around politics grasp that even reporters can space out during the months of sun and heat. I’m pretty sure there’s an annual bet to see who can say the most outlandish thing and have it taken seriously by the media. So let’s congratulate the summer 2012 winner—retired Maj.-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie! He got loads of ink this week for proposing that Canada revive the Avro Arrow fighter, because nothing says 21st-century jet warfare quite like “airplane designed before Sputnik was launched.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 2:34 PM - 0 Comments
General Lewis MacKenzie concludes his condemnation of the F-35 and argument for the Avro Arrow thusly.
Critics of this author will opine, “What does a retired Infantry general know about fighter aircraft?” I can only remind them that a significant number of gynaecologists are men and to the best of my knowledge not one of them has ever given birth.
The Prime Minister’s Office says the Arrow won’t fly.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, September 10, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
Maj0r-General Lewis MacKenzie says a new Avro Arrow should be considered, but figures the fix is in for the F-35.
Tom Clark: Do you think the fix is in for the F-35?
General Lewis MacKenzie: I do. I do. I think…I worked in a bureaucracy for a while; only one year here in Ottawa but I know how these things work and when a submission or a request comes in, it goes down to the sharp end, sharp end comments and then it comes back up and you get your answer. This feasibility study was in the hands of the PMO, the Minister of National Defence; General Lawson, congratulations now the CDS when he was deputy commander of NORAD. I kept getting the same feedback. It was like talking points coming back. I’d like somebody outside the military family and those that support the military family from within the government to at least pass judgement on it and give us an opinion.
By Andrew Coyne - Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 6:03 PM - 106 Comments
I’ll have lots to say about this Nortel nonsense in a bit, but for now let me just deal with the inevitable Avro Arrow analogy. Appearing before the Commons industry committee the other day, Research in Motion co-CEO Mike Lazaridis trotted out the well-worn Arrow story to pressure lawmakers into blocking Nortel’s deal to sell its wireless operations to the Swedish telecom giant Ericsson.
He told MPs that allowing Nortel’s next-generation wireless patents to go to a foreign-based company would be similar to Canada’s notorious decision to cancel development of the Avro Arrow aircraft in 1959….
Lazaridis noted that he has a model of the Canadian-designed Avro Arrow on his desk and that 2009 marks the 50th anniversary of its cancellation. “Fifty years later we consider the disposition of another beachhead built by Canadian ingenuity,” he remarked. “Let us learn from our history and not make the same mistake again.”
There are any number of things wrong with RIM’s case, but the first and worst is the notion that killing the Arrow was some sort of terrible mistake. Indeed, if the best RIM can do is cite the Arrow, darling of every nationalist drama queen and high-tech trainspotter who never bothered to actually inform themselves of the reasons for its demise, that tells you just how weak their case is — though it was enough to send the Toronto Star into one of its patented teenage swoons.
For those in need of a refresher course, let me point you to Michael Bliss’s classic history of Canadian business, Northern Enterprise, pgs. 474-477. I’m going to quote it at some length, because, well, it’s just so damning…