A few days ago I said “I do not believe Minister Qualtrough when she says that the Liberals plan to start a competition in “early 2019.”” But she’s repeating it and I still don’t believe her. The CBC News says that “While launching its long-awaited fighter jet competition on Tuesday, the Liberal government also revealed its intention to evaluate all future defence purchases in part through the lens of whether individual companies have helped or hurt the overall Canadian economy.” But she hasn’t really launched the “long awaited fighter jet competition,” the Minister has just said that there will be one, someday, and it will have rules that no one, including it seems her, quite understands, yet.
The CBC article says that “Carla Qualtrough, minister of public services and procurement, said the government is still hammering out what the criteria for the new requirement will be and how heavily it will be weighed when deciding who ultimately will make Canada’s next fleet of fighter jets … [and] … “We’re going to work over the next year to really flesh that out with industry, with suppliers, with experts,” she told host Chris Hall on CBC Radio’s The House … [but, she added] … “We haven’t come down to the technical details.”” If the government hasn’t “come down to the technical details” then there is no competition … Minister Qualtrough is “blowing smoke” as soldiers might say. A competition is ALL about details, technical one, financial ones, legal ones … if you you aren’t discussing “technical details” then you are not in a com petition. I don’t care what she or the PM says … this government has NOT launched a fighter jet competition and it is not going to in the foreseeable future … not until it sorts out ALL the details.
My guess is that Minister Qualtrough’s successor, Conservative or Liberal, maybe even NDP, will begin a competition sometime around 2020.
What the Trudeau Liberals have done is open a public discussion about one new, and potentially troublesome aspect of its ever changing procurement policy: one which caused one observer to opine that “unless the government comes up with some “mathematical formula based on market evidence,” the policy would inject a “degree of subjectivity” into contracts that companies can contest either in court or before international trade tribunals.“
The minister is quoted in yet another CBC News article, as saying that ““We cannot, of course, stop anybody from engaging in litigation with us should they not think this is appropriate … But we would not be sitting here with you today if we hadn’t jumped through hoops legally and otherwise and have a level of confidence that we are here announcing to Canadians that we want to move forward with this policy.”” In fact I suspect that Team Trudeau would actually welcome court challenges … it delays the date when the government must make a decision to spend big on something it really doesn’t like.
Canadians must come to grips with the understanding that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doesn’t want new fighter jets; most likely he doesn’t want any fighter jets at all. He just hopes that the whole business of national security and defence and foreign threats would just fade away … sunny ways, and all that, you know.