By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 0 Comments
John Ivison detects discomfort over the government’s latest back-to-work legislation.
Some Conservative MPs who voted through back-to-work legislation were also uncomfortable about the rush to get involved. “This is quite different from Air Canada, which could have gone bankrupt and stranded tens of thousands of people,” said one MP. “We should let the process run its course. If they don’t find a solution in the medium term – say two to three weeks – then step in. It’s only been a week.”
The House is scheduled to vote this afternoon on yesterday’s motion to limit debate on the CP Rail bill. The House will then proceed to the actual bill and is expected to sit through the night to pass the legislation.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
While a number of department officials—including the deputy minister of defence and the assistant deputy minister for materiel—are set to appear before the Public Accounts Committee this morning, Peter MacKay told a Senate committee yesterday that the federal cabinet approved the decision to release a $15-billion projection for the F-35. And John Ivison reports that the “F-35 Secretariat,” created in the wake of the the auditor general’s report, has been renamed.
And on those notes, Philippe Lagasse has more questions.
So, the other question: why did Cabinet allow DND/CF to avoid due diligence and go ahead with a questionable sole-sourced procurement? Cause, it’s worth repeating that the lack of due diligence was at the heart of the AG’s report…and it promises to be a recurring problem.
Interesting to hear that it will no longer be the ‘F-35 Secretariat’. But will DND/CF be told to write a new, more flexible SOR?
And who has the expertise necessary to keep an eye on the CF if theyre told to re-write the statement of requirements?
Will DND begin to exercise a more robust challenge function?
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, April 5, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
As noted yesterday, the idea of there being a “contract” to purchase the F-35 seems to have changed. (Here and here are other examples of Mr. Harper using the c-word. And here is Michael Ignatieff using it. And here is Bob Rae using it five months ago.)
When the Prime Minister was confronted about his terminology last month, he explained that he was referring to a “memorandum of understanding.” That MOU was signed in December 2006. The decision to acquire the F-35 was announced in July 2010. And here is a handy fact sheet explaining the MOU.
Canada is buying the F-35 is through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) versus signing a contract…
Signing the MoU in 2006 did not commit JSF partners to buy the F-35, instead it laid out the terms and conditions should a partner country decide to purchase the aircraft.
Peter MacKay did refer to an “MOU” on two occasions in 2010, here and here. Tony Clement managed to describe it as both a memorandum of understanding and a contract. But that a contract had not been signed seems to have become a point of emphasis five weeks ago, when Julian Fantino stood in the House and said so.
But that is not quite the end of it. Understandably, the memorandum of understanding is referenced numerous times in the Auditor General’s report. Here is how Postmedia’s Lee Berthiaume summarized the relevant findings earlier this week.
The report says that in convincing the Conservative government to sign onto the MOU, the military talked up the potential billions in contracts Canadian industry could secure if the country continued to participate in the project. However, “while ministers were told, correctly, that signing the 2006 MOU did not commit Canada to buy the F-35, we did not see evidence they were told that retaining industrial benefits depended on buying the F-35 as a partner in the [Joint Strike Fighter] program.”
… Defence Department officials also did not tell ministers that by signing the memorandum of understanding, the government would be hard-pressed to run a fair competition in the future to replace Canada’s ageing fleet of CF-18s.
And now, quite interestingly, here is John Ivison’s latest column. He turns to an October 2010 meeting of the defence committee and an exchange between Dan Ross, the assistant deputy minister for material at National Defence, and former Liberal MP Bryon Wilfert. Mr. Ross apparently argued that holding an open competition to replace the CF-18s would require withdrawing from the memorandum and that would result in penalties and loss of benefits. But Mr. Wilfert was not convinced. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 8:30 AM - 0 Comments
Whoever the next leader of the opposition is, he or she will apparently soon receive something of a gift from the auditor general.
The Auditor-General has both National Defence and Public Works in his sights when it comes to the troubled F-35 stealth fighter program, senior government sources say.
A draft copy of the scathing review, circulating in Ottawa for weeks, suggests the air force didn’t do its pricing homework and government officials failed to follow procurement rules, those who’ve read it say.
The Globe says the auditor’s findings are behind the Harper government’s recent change in tone. John Ivison has reported that a draft of the auditor’s report accuses the defence department of misleading Parliament.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, March 16, 2012 at 3:25 PM - 0 Comments
John Ivison traces Pierre Poutine to a variety of Ontario area codes.
The call that claimed to come from Elections Canada was sent out to 5,053 recipients in the 519 area code that covers Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Windsor and Sarnia. But it was also received by 35 people in downtown Toronto, 74 in the 905 suburban belt surrounding the GTA, 14 in the 613 area code that includes Kingston and Ottawa, 22 in the 705 code area that includes Barrie, Sudbury and North Bay and one person in Thunder Bay.
By my count, 21 of the 40 ridings on our list are in Ontario: Dufferin-Caledon, Guelph, Haldimond-Norfolk, Hamilton East-Stoney Creek, Kingston and the Islands, Kitchener Centre, Kitchener-Conestoga, Kitchener-Waterloo, London West, Mississauga East-Cooksville, Nipissing-Timiskaming, Northumberland-Quinte West, Ottawa-Orleans, Ottawa-West Nepean, Parkdale-High Park, Peterborough, Sarnia-Lambton, Thunder Bay-Superior North, Windsor-Tecumseh, Windsor West and York Centre.
Using MP constituency offices as a guide, those ridings cover six area codes: 519, 905, 613, 705, 416 and 807.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 11:17 PM - 0 Comments
He said he was first contacted during the election last year by someone who identified himself as Pierre Jones, who said he was a student completing a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Ottawa. He claimed he was studying advertising effectiveness and wanted to look at the operation of call centres. “He never was Pierre Poutine,” said Mr. Meier.
… Mr. Meier said he had his “Eureka” moment at 3 a.m. one morning, and by 5 a.m. had written a 22 page report for Elections Canada. “He [Pierre Jones] screwed up. Just for a fraction of a second but it was enough for me to find him,” he said. The information supplied to Elections Canada should expedite the investigation and offer some clues as to whether the robocall was the work of one individual or was the result of a more co-ordinated effort, as the opposition parties have alleged.
The Citizen is unable to find any evidence of a Pierre Jones studying commerce at the University of Ottawa.
By Paul Wells - Monday, October 19, 2009 at 3:45 PM - 23 Comments
And it isn’t me! Or Jeff Simpson! No, it’s colleague John Ivison, who does a bang-up job of summarizing the conversation that ensued when UofT president David Naylor came to Ottawa last week, where he ran into freelance provocateur Alex Himelfarb. The topic was brains and money. Ivison’s column is worth your attention.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, May 1, 2009 at 4:58 PM - 30 Comments
Canadian Press, April 29. The Tories need to stave off defeat in confidence votes until then and are considering ways to secure support from the NDP and Bloc Quebecois on a case-by-case basis … One senior Conservative said there will be plenty of ways for the parties to work together. ”We’re hopeful they’d want to work with us. … Maybe cooler heads will prevail,” he said.
John Ivison, April 30. Senior Conservatives say they rate the prospect of an election before next spring’s budget at less than a fifty-fifty possibility, after coming to a nod and a wink understanding with both the NDP and the Bloc.
Stephen Harper, today. “That is absolutely untrue … the Bloc Quebecois stands for the break-up of this country. We will not govern this country in a pact or arrangement with the Bloc Quebecois …I don’t know where that is coming from but there is no contemplation of that, let alone the possibility of that.”