Saturday, May 05, 2012

Snake Oil Salesmen

Do you remember the photo ops, Conservatives standing in front of military hardware, on site at aerospace companies, trumpeting the "12 billion" in benefits the F-35 would bring to Canada? Here's a beauty release put out by the PMO in 2011, wherein the Prime Minister mentions the 12 billion in benefits, as well as strangely arguing we've already "spent 400 million" dollars on the plane, something you'll never hear again from a Conservative. Start around the 5 minute mark, where the hilarity begins with Harper accusing others of playing politics with this plane, just as he was hiding costs and overstating benefits to gain political advantage. BAHAHAHA: There are so many more now comedic snippets, Peter MacKay, Laurie Hawn all exaggerating the benefits to Canada, in an effort to buffet criticism in the name of economic salvation. And now, it turns out that SUDDENLY this government is revising their figures, in light of that Auditor General report:
Industry Canada is dampening expectations of how much the aerospace industry could reap from the troubled F-35 program, chopping more than US$2 billion off the Harper government’s estimate. A senior official told a House of Commons committee Thursday that Canadian companies can bid on as much as US$9.85 billion in production contracts for U.S.-built stealth fighter... The auditor general also said the rationale to cabinet for the numbers was unclear. “We found briefing materials prepared by departments for decision-makers and ministers did not explain the basis for the projections, or the consequent limitations involved in on those projections for decision-makers,” said Ferguson’s April 3 report, which set off a political fire storm. “Moreover, in the majority of cases, only the most optimistic scenario was put forward, rather than a range of potential benefits that reflected inherent uncertainties in the projections.”
Relevant here, when Flaherty puts out a budget he routinely takes the "average" forecasting from economists, he draws from as wide as possible sampling to come to realistic targets. Why then did this government not use the same methodology to ascertain true benefits to Canada? Why did the Conservatives ignore data which foresaw a smaller benefit and instead knowingly mislead Canadians with the highest outlier opinion? The fact that Industry Canada has now revised the benefits downward in such SHORT ORDER after the AG report, a testament to the absurdity of former predictions, a confirmation that the figures were based on flimsy evidence. And YET, Canadians were routinely given these erroneous numbers, consistent with every deceitful and disingenuous presentation we've had with this plane. That industry benefits have been "revised" downward will get lost in the general haze here. But, we now have the amazing spectacle of a government actively misleading on the true costs of this aircraft, while simultaneously actively misleading on the true benefits to Canada, the concurrent sales pitches disturbing and unethical.

Snake oil salesman: Speech or writing intended to deceive .


weeble said...

But to give higher projections of benefits, especially during an election campaign would have the added leverage of scaring Canadians. You cancel this project and you are costing the jobs of 5,000 Canadians, or taking 12B from the economy. During the last election campaign this was a large factor, there was tremendous fear about the world economy and all of the 'government' ads spoke to staying the course.
I suspect the message will change back to this, back to the F35 generating jobs for Canadians more so than any other fighter. Others are built, they don't need Canadian people to assemble.
Just my take....we will end up with this fighter, somehow...

weeble said...

Actually, thinking about it over the day. Its all about fear, this party is all about fear. Its like an evangelical church....drives fear.
Its a scary time for our country.