Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Harper: The cheque is in the mail, (and other even less savory promises)

So Harper, gushing all over the Manley Report, ( Didn't we he do a lovely job on that!), tells us that he is pretty firm on the idea that Canadian expeditionary forces in Afghanistan need to have helicopters and surveillance drones as one of the conditions for keeping a Canadian combat force in Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper twice said yesterday that crucial new helicopters and drones for the troops in Afghanistan are "on order."

However, government officials later said the Prime Minister jumped the gun and that they are still trying to find the best way to obtain the equipment quickly.

Yes, Harper did say that. And he's a fucking liar.

One only has to go to this site to see what the state of materiel acquisition is in the Canadian Forces. ADM Mat is the "shopping authority" for the Canadian Forces. Everything "new" goes through them.

Let's take a look at the Medium-to-Heavy-Lift Helicopter Project. Do you see what I see?

At best there has been a no-bid contract offered to Boeing for 16 Chinook helicopters. They have not been ordered; no milestones have been established; and, no production schedule has been laid down.

Let's look at the surveillance drones.

Oh no.

There isn't even a project for the surveillance drones.

Harper is lying through is teeth and he's hoping you are too dumb to know it. The earliest a CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopter could be delivered, if we placed a firm order tomorrow, would be in 2012.

Drones? Forget about them. The air force hasn't even decided who might be the best supplier.

Would you like a little juice with that toast?

The Netherlands has seven CH-47D Chinook heavy-lift helicopters. They had eight until one crashed. Where did they get them?

From us. Canada sold them to the Dutch.

Go back. Go back to the Mulroney Conservative government. They eliminated the Canadian Ch-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopter fleet, for the money.

Now, if I may, allow me to show you how passionate Harper is about getting heavy-lift helicopters for the Canadian Forces. If the only barrier to saving the lives of our troops is the "worldwide demand" as Harper is stating, the problem is solved... in a heartbeat.

Boeing did an upgrade on the Chinook to make them last past 2030. In the process of upgrading, and building new ones, they ended up with a surfeit of the CH-47D (the same variant we used to own). Boeing has a program known as Cargo Helicopter Procurement and Support or CHAPS. Essentially it is a means of selling off used US Army CH-47D Chinooks and using the income to further upgrade other Chinooks. Upgrades to that model (the one we used to own) would come with it. Oh yeah, they're cheap to buy.

The CHAPS program provides for the sale of flight-ready CH-47D Chinooks under "Exchange and Sales" regulations. Under this program, select D-Model Chinooks from the U.S. Army fleet are available to military users and service organizations worldwide providing them affordable aircraft fully capable and easily up-gradable to include any future system provided in the CH-47D. CHAPS provides countries affordable alternatives to more advanced aircraft and enables users to support military operations, medical and disaster relief, search and rescue, fire fighting and civil support with reliable, cost-efficient helicopters.
You want heavy-lift helicopters? There they are. And what is Harper telling you? They're on order.

This is such a typical Conservative promise to upgrade the military. Smoke, mirrors and the man behind the curtain.

If Mulroney hadn't sold the Chinooks we had, this whole point would be moot. But we have to move past that and look at today.

Harper is not only lying, he is quite prepared to watch Canadian troops roll back and forth on roads over land-mines and IEDs rather than buy used helicopters to prevent them being killed - right now.

Can you feel the passion? Can you feel the fucking support?

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