Friday, October 08, 2010

Liberal Strategy: Attack Manitoba?

Groundhog day in Calgary and repeated in Winnipeg.
On the ONE day that Ignatieff is in Alberta,  the Liberal leader completes a trifecta of errors: Wearing a black hat, Ignatieff states that Quebec makes the best cowboy boots and insinuates that Albertan voters support the Devil. I was not at the event, but the Calgary Sun article suggests to me that Ignatieff gave Alberta the Trudeau salute in his own smarmy intellectual way.
Is Ignatieff or his remaining advisers clueless in Winnipeg?  Liberals hold only one seat in Manitoba. They came in second in only five contests. In twelve of the fourteen contests their percentage of the vote went down. In two ridings the margin of victory was smaller than ten per cent. NDP Jim Maloway and Liberal Anita Neville.-Pundits Guide for information on the fourteen ridings and contests in 2008 here. In both of those ridings the Conservatives finished second. Thanks Mike!
Minister of Justice Vic Toews vs Liberal Critic Bill C 25
“Today in the House of Commons the Coalition voted to keep the long-gun registry,” the Tories said. “Twenty Coalition MPs originally supported the simple and straightforward bill to scrap the long-gun registry, but under pressure from their Ottawa bosses they turned their backs on their constituents and voted to keep the registry.” 
A poll conducted exclusively for the Winnipeg Free Press by Probe Research Inc. found Jack Layton's New Democrats lost six per cent of voter support in the last three months, and just 18 per cent of Manitobans said they would vote for the NDP. Overall support for federal political parties among Manitoba voters (Winnipeg and rural):
The poll found Conservatives added to their huge lead, and are up two per cent in both Winnipeg and rural areas. Conservative, 47 per cent (up from 44 per cent in June) Liberal, 25 per cent (up from 21 per cent in June)
NDP, 18 per cent (down from 24 per cent in June)
Ignatieff is reduced to visiting a High school to draw 150 people to hear him threaten high paying jobs in Winnipeg? After allowing it to pass in December 2009 they are still complaining about it. Bill C-25: Truth in Sentencing Act the elimination of 2 for 1 the Liberals are unhappy additional beds are required?  
Contrast this with a group of 900 people at Canad Inns Polo Park, Thursday night to meet the PM. Julie Javier introduced him to the full room.
He used the platform to call the Liberals the party of evidence, reason and science, and not simply "ideology," like the Conservatives.-
Unless the experts are in the military or Aerospace Industry.see below
“Uncertainty about this decision is hurting us,” said the association’s president Claude Lajeunesse. “It is jeopardizing investment decisions. It is jeopardizing the creation of value-added jobs that Canadians need. Any uncertainty around Canada’s decision or signals to our partners in the program that Canada may not proceed with this acquisition will jeopardize our sector’s ability to secure our maximum share of this enduring and value-added work.”
As a former commander of Canada's air force, I am not surprised by the intense controversy generated by the selection of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as the next fighter aircraft for Canada. However, it is a courageous decision by the government that will help to protect Canada's sovereignty well into the future.
A potential contract of this size will always generate intense interest, but I believe many of the pundits and recent commentary are misinformed. Some relevant points:
- This is a fifth-generation fighter with stealth, high speed, precision weaponry, and advanced sensors. This is important not because the Canadian Forces wants sexy new aircraft, but rather because we will have this aircraft until at least 2050. Who knows what the security challenges will be over that time?
Chances are good we will have to face some threat or contribute to an international operation. A fifth-generation aircraft has the growth potential to keep this capability relevant for decades to come.
- The F-35 is the only fifth-generation fighter on the market that will be produced in significant numbers in a wide international consortium. It is expected that more than 3,000 of these aircraft will be produced, shared among at least a dozen countries, including many of our closest allies. This will keep costs down and enhance interoperability.
No other potential aircraft comes even close. This point is often ignored in the public debate.
- A public "competition" for this contract would result in a circus. The alternatives have all been closely examined. The other aircraft are not in the same league. There are no real competitors. A forced competition would take years, cost millions of dollars and generate intense lobbying that would contaminate the process. In the meantime, many industrial opportunities would be lost. It is a myth that such a competition would produce better value for taxpayers. The F-35 is the best choice now. (By the way, I have no personal association with Lockheed Martin, for those who would question my objectivity.)
- The affordability of this aircraft is also under attack. A contract is years away. Furthermore, large military contracts like this are now amortized over the entire life of the aircraft -at least 20 years -just as when businesses make large purchases. It is affordable.
- Finally, there is the old tired debate about whether we actually need a fighter aircraft. Do your police need patrol cars? Do your firefighters need fire trucks? Yes, they are expensive. What is your country worth? If you do not have fighter aircraft, you have absolutely no means to enforce your air sovereignty or provide air support to your troops on overseas missions. I would suggest that is unacceptable to most Canadians.
In summary, this is the right choice for Canada and I am pleasantly surprised that we have a government that is willing to make such a tough decision in the face of shortsighted and misinformed criticism.
I am particularly appalled at the Liberal announcement that they would cancel this contract at the first opportunity. As a former Sea King squadron commander earlier in my career, I know only too well the consequences of such political games.
Lt.-Gen. (Ret.) Angus Watt is former chief of the air staff (2007-09)
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

  • Attack high paying jobs in Winnipeg with a threat to fight the F35 purchase. (Planes)
  • 30 Liberal MPs to skip vote to stop Bill C 25? It becomes law December 2009. (Prisons)
  • Attacked G8 Maternal Health Initiative with tax funded abortion motion MB is 77% Christian. (Photo ops)
What do you think?

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