Thursday, May 31, 2012

Today in secret deliberations

Something to watch for today as the Conservatives keep digging their democratic deficit, the Commons public accounts committee meets to decide the future of the F-35 hearings. Not in public, mind you! Where do you think you are?
The committee is scheduled to meet again Thursday behind closed doors. The effort to shut down the hearings, led by Conservative MP Andrew Saxton, comes after about seven hours of testimony from witnesses.
Liberal and NDP members of Parliament had expected the hearings to continue this week, but Saxton introduced a motion during the committee’s May 17 meeting to stop calling witnesses and have the panel prepare a report.
Seven hours to assess one of the biggest so-called "accounting errors" in Canadian political history, i.e., the $10 billion gap between the cost of the F-35s that was represented to the public during the federal election by the Harper Conservatives and the true cost set out in the Auditor General's report. Seven hours is all the Conservatives want to devote to this, less than a full day's work. If they are successful, they will be preventing Conservative ministers and key witnesses from appearing. That is scandalous.

Meanwhile, at DND:
There are some in the Canadian Forces who see the Harper government’s move to shut down House of Commons hearings into the auditor general’s report on the F-35 project as a public relations windfall for those opposing the jet purchase.[...] At DND the talk is that the Conservatives have given the opposition MPs another PR windfall on the F-35 file. There has been widespread disbelief that the poor communications strategy has allowed the purchase to become a major political issue. This latest move will not help the situation at all, say NDHQ insiders.
They're on to something!