Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Profiles in Accountability, Part the Next

The Montreal Gazette has a piece today about the spending plans for the Department of Defence. The NDP defence critic, Jack Harris, was able to get this information in the past, but now?
In 2007, NDP researchers asked for and received the year-by-year spending estimates stretching out to 2050 that the military has for all of its new weapons programs, infrastructure and equipment. But Defence Department censors blacked out the annual spending estimates when the NDP asked for an updated version.

And David Akin has a good idea of what's going on here:
Since taking office in 2006, the Conservatives have committed to spending $240 billion over the next 20 years on new equipment for the Canadian Forces.

Those spending commitments are at the heart of one of the Conservative government's most important narratives, that they are finally re-building a military that had been neglected by previous Liberal and Progressive Conservative governments. That narrative is more political rhetoric than political fact. In fact, the three biggest year-over-year percentage increases in military spending in the last decade were made by the Liberal governments of Jean Chretien and Paul Martin.

But, you know, AdScam and such. And what's behind it all? What's motivating the sudden secrecy around defence spending? I think Akin may have an idea:
In any event, the Conservative political rhetoric on military spending is now in conflict with a political imperative that is taking on new importance for the Conservatives: fighting the deficit.

Sounds about right to me. So the conservative governance model is once again proven right:

1. Cut taxes
2. Cut taxes
3. ???????

Result: More money for everyone!

Now, it could be that the spending changes are being "recalibrated" -- whatever that means -- in preparation for the next couple of years, when our international commitments will nosedive to almost nothing. But this government doesn't seem to think that mere opposition MPs, let alone mere members of the public, ought to get a say in any of that.


Mark Francis said...

I thought it was

Step 1: Cut taxes
Step 2: ???
Step 3: We all realize how right conservatives always have been, and start worshiping Friedman and Hayek instead of God... or flying spaghetti monsters.

Metro said...

Chyeah--Like the HarperCons are going to ditch God ...

Well, since they know it's the right one and all ...

sooey said...

I suspect recalibrating is code for shredding.

Cameron Campbell said...

Ok, let's leave aside the reasons for this and ask a more important question:

Is it even legal for the governing party to refuse to give other members of the government (because that's what the NDP are)numbers on expenditures?

M@ said...

This government thinks it can refuse to give parliament information it asks for, Cameron. It's not likely that a mere request from a mere MP for some mere budget information that should be available to the mere public would be considered a priority for them.

And if they are actually compelled to release the numbers, I assume the military budget will suddenly become a matter of national security. And you don't want the terrorists to win, do you!?

ForestP said...

even the list of unanswered questions from question period are getting long. Government thinks the entire electoral body is for shit. The friggin guy wrote about benevolent dictatorships as a good shouldn't come as a surprise that he's not acting in good faith or for the good of the country - he thinks otherwise. Mainly from his years with Imperial Oil/Esso.