If Auditor General Michael Ferguson's word is to be believed — and there is no reason to think that it isn't — then the federal cabinet and by extension the prime minister, and not just the anonymous gnomes in the Department of National Defence, are directly on the hook for the F-35 boondoggle, in the most egregious sense.
They knew before the last federal election that the jets would cost billions more than had been stated by DND — at least $10-billion more, around $25.1-billion. They allowed the department to publicly table an estimate of $14.7-billion.
"I can't speak to individuals who knew it, but it was information that was prepared by National Defence," Ferguson told reporters Thursday. "It's certainly my understanding that that would have been information that, yes, the government would have had."
He continued: "That $25-billion number was something I think that at that time was known to government." And, critically: "It would have been primarily members of the executive, yes."
So, this is no longer a matter of "it happened on their watch." It's a matter of whether there was outright deception, deliberate and premeditated, during an election campaign, on an issue of great national import, by the prime minister and members of the cabinet.
Thursday, April 05, 2012
Harper and all his cabinet ministers involved in the F-35 deal are liars.