By macleans.ca - Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 0 Comments
Canada’s democratic institutions performed well, and are defending taxpayer interests
By Paul Wells - Friday, November 5, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
WELLS on security and our national insecurities
So much in modern life is a combination of problems that have already been solved and problems that can’t be solved at all. Take Emirates Airlines Flight 201, which was escorted by Canadian fighter jets through Canadian airspace on Oct. 29 as it flew from Dubai to New York City. The airplane was carrying cargo from Yemen. This was a day when other airplanes were found to be carrying cargo from Yemen of the potentially explosive variety. So Flight 201 found itself sprouting fighter escorts. Out of an “abundance of caution,” NORAD said later.
Dimitri Soudas, who speaks for the Prime Minister, could hardly contain his glee. Here was a chance to show that the Harper government is spending wisely when it allocates $16 billion to buy 65 F-35 fighter planes. Soudas put out a news release: “Michael Ignatieff’s Liberals and their coalition partners would cancel the deal to buy the F-35s. They would rather use kites to defend Canada than fighter jets. Canada’s air force needs the right equipment to protect Canadian airspace.”
In examining whether F-35s would have constituted “the right equipment” on Oct. 29, it may be handy to recall precisely what NORAD was worried about. Cargo on other planes had been found to contain explosive devices. So “the right equipment” would need to sort through the cargo compartments of this plane, at a distance, while airborne, to detect, isolate and remove the explosive.
By John Geddes - Friday, July 16, 2010 at 4:27 PM - 0 Comments
The government’s elaborately orchestrated announcement today of its decision to spend $9 billion, plus undisclosed billions more in maintenance costs, to buy 65 fighter jets was heavy on touting the purchase as a boon to Canadian aerospace companies.
Interesting as the matter of defence industry jobs and profits might be, however, the more important question is surely why the Canadian Forces needs Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth fighters. After all, they’re not the sort hardware that’s obviously useful for the sorts of jobs—fighting insurgents in Kandahar’s orchards, say, or delivering emergency relief to Haiti—that seem most pressing in the post-cold war era.
So when Defence Minister Peter MacKay was pointedly asked in the news conference this morning for “specific examples of the uses of these aircraft,” I listened carefully for what I thought might be the key answer of the day.