F-35: Like Buying a Car?

The excuses that Defense Minister Peter Mackay is providing to explain the “accounting difference” between the F35 costs tabled in Parliament and those delivered by the Auditor General make me wonder whether this Minister was intending to mislead Parliament, or if he is simply incompetent. Who in his/her own right mind, whether in public life or not, would not consider the costs that fall outside of the purchase price of a vehicle? Is one able to conceive of the idea of purchasing a car without accounting for insurance, upkeep and gas? The answer is no. While these outlying costs are not part of the purchasing price of a product, they are nonetheless essential for its effective use.

The real, overarching cost of the F35 is much more pressing, given that both the purchasing and added costs of the equipment will be paid with taxpayers money, and had to be fully explained before Parliament. It is true that the conservatives wield a majority in the House of Commons, but this mathematical fact does not exempt them from their ethical obligations with the Canadian electorate, most of which did not vote for the conservatives in the first place. Accountability must be at the core of public administration, and our public servants, as the title suggests, must ”
serve” in the best interest of the “Public”.

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