F-35 Scandal: The Tories Are Leaving On A Jetplane
So, as you may have heard, the Canadian government is trying to buy a bunch of very expensive fighter jets. Only, they’re much more expensive than they’d originally stated while campaigning - like, $10 billion more - which has understandably got a lot of people pissed. These jets have been a contentious issue for a number of years due, in large part, to the secrecy surrounding the deal. But you know how people get when they’re spending BILLIONS OF DOLLARS of other peoples’ money? They turn into a teenage boy at the school dance: They get shy, clam up, and when confronted about their uncontrollable boner they run out of the gymnasium. However, people only recently started paying closer attention to the deal after the Auditor General stated the government had always known about the TEN BILLION DOLLAR cost discrepancy (the operational costs, apparently), stopping just short of saying that they’d intentionally misled parliament and the public.
Since the story broke, there’s been tons of the expected deflecting and finger-pointing from the government, even outright admission - Defense Minister Peter MacKay stated he did know about the extra operational costs but he didn’t think they had to disclose it. The fact still remains, the government knew about the higher price tag, but kept touting a lower one. Many a re already calling for cabinet resignations while questioning the government’s ability to control public spending. And rightfully so, the cost discrepancy associated with these jets makes the nearly $100 million spent on the sponsorship scandal - the one that unseated the Liberals in 2006 - look like dog piss. Assuming that dog piss is worth $100m, of course. For example, the sentence “the Edmonton Oilers are worth dog piss” would technically be correct using this analogy. But it would also be correct as just a statement.
So where does that leave us? The cynic in me says that it’s just another complicated scandal that people will ignore because it’s way too much work to care about anything that’s not the Big Bang Theory or whatever garbage normal people care about. But it’s better not to be cynical, right? If the sponsorship scandal was any indication, this means there’s the potential for another government to be unseated over the misuse of public funds. Which would be the second time in six years. Making a scandal-plagued Canadian government more likely than the World Cup. Ole!
Some might say this is just the cyclical nature of politics: The governing party fucks up so everyone votes for a different one, and so on to infinity. But, we’re not talking about governments being unseated because they’ve taken the country in the wrong direction, they’re being unseated because they’ve lied to Canadians. Everyone has a type, and Canadians keep dating the kind of asshole that takes our money and then lies to us about it. And then after we break up with them we find out they gave us HPV.
Our country needs to take a deep breath, step back, and figure out what kind of government we really want. And I don’t mean a big government that’ll tax us right up the dickhole for social programs, or a small government that’ll leave our well-being in the cruel hands of the free market. I’m talking about our desire for a government that won’t fucking lie to us. Or give us HPV. It’s really not that hard either. Here are some tips: If you realize that you might have to resort to illegal or unethical means to shape the country, just don’t. I don’t care if working with the other parties is difficult or inefficient, it’s your fucking job, you ADULTS! And more importantly, it’s legal.
I feel kind of retarded even writing about this. I mean, I’m trying to make a case for more honesty in politics. (Don’t steal my idea, first year political science students!!). But this isn’t just about the government being honest, it’s about Canadians being honest with what we value in a government. Are we really willing to let a party do whatever they want while in power as long as they’re pro-union or pro-business? Or that they’re committed to fighting climate change or getting tough on crime? It’s true that political parties should be about ideas, but above all they should be about accountability. It’s fine to be a die hard liberal or conservative, but if you have unwavering support for a political party regardless of what they do, it’s hard to accept that you actually believe in anything. It’s okay for a mom to support her child’s decision to become a professional clown as long as it makes them happy. But that doesn’t mean you’re a good parent, it just mean you’re the mother of a clown.
If this scandal results in another election, it's not a win for the left or a loss for the right. It's a loss for all Canadians. If a government isn’t accountable to the people they govern, it just reaffirms the idea that no matter who we vote for this kind of cycle will continue. When the public loses faith in a government, they don't just temporarily lose faith in that party, they lose faith in actual government. We’re headed down a very dark path and in desperate need to have our faith renewed. Or else we’ll always just be waiting for the other shoe to drop, regardless of who’s in power.