Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Multiple choices

Take your pick as to the saddest part of the Cons' latest evidence that after three and a half years in power, they still don't have the faintest clue what they're doing. Is it that they're bothering to hold presentations to advise of the possible purchase of they don't know what at some unspecified point in the future?
A $3-billion project to buy new search-and-rescue aircraft kicked off Tuesday in Ottawa amid complaints from aerospace industry officials that government representatives can't even say how many planes will be purchased or when.

The industry day, signifying the start of the much-delayed program, left aerospace representatives puzzled and at times, frustrated.

Government representatives who called the meeting couldn't answer questions on how many planes would be bought, when they would be purchased, whether they would be equipped with sensors or how they would be maintained.
Is it the fact that the minister responsible for the prospective purchases has wasted his time publicly pleading for bidders to violate his government's own rules?
Secrecy around equipment programs and how the Defence Department spends tax dollars has grown significantly under the Conservatives.

In May, (Peter) MacKay pleaded with industry representatives to get out the word that military purchases were good for the Canadian economy.

But industry officials note that it is often MacKay's office and other government representatives, such as the Privy Council Office, who prevent firms from discussing projects.
Or is it the farcical way that the media who had originally been invited to the presentation was summarily ejected not only without an explanation, but with a concerted effort to avoid stating who (if anybody) made or enforced the order?
The Defence Department had approved a request from Canwest News Service to be allowed to listen to the search-and-rescue presentation by Brig.-Gen. Greg Matte, but at the last minute, that invitation was cancelled on orders from "higher up" in the Harper government, according to various officials.

A supervisor at the Government Teleconferencing Service, which was involved in broadcasting the meeting, said the order to ban the media "just came down" Tuesday morning. "We're doing what we're told," said the supervisor who declined to provide his name. "They've said to disclose nothing further."

He also declined to provide his name, confirm whether he was a public servant or discuss who "they" were.
Of course, one's preference may vary: for substantive impact the lack of a clue what the Defence Department actually wants would seem the most damning, while for sheer absurdity the unexplained, anonymous media ban likely takes the cake. But one way or another, all indications are that the Harper failing state is getting more dysfunctional by the day.

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