Monday, February 07, 2011

Better disclosure on the F-35 advocacy required

Courtesy of the Sixth Estate blog, we discover there was some additional information missing from that now infamous Ottawa Citizen op-ed a few weeks ago, "The truth about those jets," the one written by two retired former military officers, General Paul Manson and Lt. General Angus Watt. In addition to the failure to mention Manson's past association with Lockheed Martin Canada, the op-ed also failed to mention that both are currently on the executive committee of the Conference of Defence Associations. That association is funded in part by the Department of National Defence and the contract between DND and CDA specifically requires that the CDA do the following in each fiscal year, inter alia, in consideration of receiving $100, 000 per year in funding:
# “Attain a minimum of 29 media references to the CDA by… journalists”
# “Attain the publication of a minimum of 15 opinion pieces (including op-eds and letters to the editor in national or regional publications)”
# “Attain a minimum of 100 requests by media for radio/television interviews and materials”
Again, it's not that such individuals can't write op-eds and voice their opinions. But ties such as this should be disclosed by them or by the media who publish their views so the public can fully assess the information before them.

See also Scott Taylor today on the lack of disclosure in the Ottawa Citizen op-ed and with other salient points on the F-35 ongoing debate.