Smart move

Just as I said, about a month ago, that the Trudeau government was right to add Chantier Screen Shot 2019-08-18 at 06.55.00Davie, in Quebec, to the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, so I think that the Trudeau regime is right, today, to award a sole-source contract to General Dynamics Land Systems, in London, ON, spending, according to CTV News, “$3 billion for 360 LAVs as well as associated infrastructure upgrades and testing, which will replace two of the army’s aging armoured vehicle fleets.

I agree with “Defence analyst David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute [who] said he believes the pending deal with GDLS, much like the government’s decision to add a third shipyard to its national shipbuilding plan, could have been announced months earlier.” Of course, both deals could have been announced earlier; my guess is that very senior officials made both recommendations in mid-2018. But this is election season and the Liberals are milking good policy choices ~ ones Prime Minister Trudeau was not, naturally, inclined to make ~ for votes.

The CTV News report says that “Conservative defence critic James Bezan blasted the Liberals over the timing of Friday’s announcement even as he expressed his party’s support for GDLS and the purchase of needed equipment for the military.” He’s right about the timing being crass political opportunism, which is what one might have said about the previous government’s decision, in 2014, to broker a deal to sell GDLS light armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia. Trying to support industry, even trying to save a few thousand jobs at SNC-Lavalin even as hundreds of thousands of jobs in the energy sector are destroyed by government policy fumbles, is part of the political process … and remember what Bismarck didn’t say* about making policy and making sausages:

Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.

The Conservatives are right to decry the timing but they need to stand four-square behind both:

  • Renewing the military vehicle fleet; and
  • Using a sole-source contract when it makes sense.

Both are good policy choices.

The Trudeau Liberals have made a smart move. It’s good for London, ON, it’s good for the Canadian Army, and it’s good for Canada. I applaud them.

—–

* It was the 19th-century American poet John Godfrey Saxe who did say that. Saxe also authored the still well-known poem about the six blind men in Hindustan who went to see an elephant and then described it, as Saxe said: “each was partly in the right and all were in the wrong.

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