The Conservative government is downplaying a report that the Afghanistan mission will run $1 billion over budget this fiscal year after a series of cost over-runs.Is there anyone anywhere who didn't expect this?
The Tories did not deny the budget blowout for 2007-08 reported Tuesday in Montreal's La Presse newspaper.
They simply warned that the figure cited by the newspaper was based on preliminary estimates that cannot be confirmed until after the end of the fiscal year later this month.
Documents obtained under the Access to Information Act indicate the mission has cost Canadian taxpayers at least $7.5 billion since 2001.
Half of that total consists of annual cost over-runs.
The documents say the mission cost $538 million more than expected over the first six months of the current fiscal year, and is projected to overshoot its budget by another $539 million by March 31.
"These are numbers that of course the government wasn't telling us about, wasn't telling Canadians about," NDP Leader Jack Layton said.No, the government didn't tell anybody about it. Did you expect them to?
"It's the mismanagement of the war. The costs are spiralling out of control just as we've seen by the Americans in Iraq and the government didn't deny this."
It's a combat operation. Equipment and personnel are subject to harsh environmental conditions which accelerate wear and tear at a rate not considered during normal life-cycle management, ammunition is expended as required for each operation, (sometimes well beyond forecast allowances) and casualties, both human and material, cost a fortune.
War is expensive. Way expensive. You can financially manage it to pennies and it will still cost more than you budgeted for.
The question for MacKay, Harper and Flaherty is how they plan on paying for it. Another tax cut perhaps? That's the Bush method.