An explosive independent report on the Harper government’s controversial purchase of new fighter jets estimates their full cost, including maintenance, could hit $29.3-billion (U.S.).
That’s about $12-billion more than what the Tories have been telling Canadians it would cost.
The report by Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page comes at a bad time for the Conservative government, which been dogged by controversy over the acquisition and faces a possible defeat in the weeks ahead.
So, let's see if we've got this straight. Not only did the government sole-source this contract - and in doing so, violated the public tender process that is intended to ensure that Canadians pay a reasonable price for the capital goods our government purchases, but they've been short-changing the long term costs of this program.
Figures released by the government have suggested the total cost of the planes would be $17.6-billion, which includes about $9-billion to purchase them plus decades of maintenance bills that the Tories say would not exceed the annual costs of maintaining the current CF-18 fighters.
Hmmm...let's see - the Conservatives want to minimize the costs, so they are quietly 'underestimating' the costs involved. What do they gain by it? The ability to claim that they are being fiscally prudent - and hopefully retain a few votes.
His report was independently peer-reviewed by non-partisan experts at the United States Congressional Budget Office, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, and Queen’s University.
Somehow, I'm thinking that the government's numbers are overly optimistic. Any other guesses on how badly the Conservatives have mangled this country's finances?