Thu, Nov 17, 2005
Move Made To Avoid Political Fallout
The Canadian government
has delayed a $12-billion purchase of military aircraft until after
the next election, in order to avoid political backlash for
purchasing foreign equipment. The purchase came under fire from
Canada's conservatives, who said the government of Prime Minister
Paul Martin was rushing the deal.
According to the Canadian Press, earlier this week cabinet
ministers faced "passionate" aerospace lobbyists -- representing
companies such as Toronto-based Bombardier -- who claimed the
government was favoring aircraft from Italy and the US,
intentionally shutting out entities closer to home.
The government responded by asserting Canadian manufacturers
just don't have what they're looking for. "If you don't have it --
sorry... you can't design it," said a government official,
commenting on the aircraft needed by the military.
Government officials maintain the decision to purchase such
aircraft as Italy's Alenia C-27J SaR, and the US-made C-130
Hercules (below) and CH-47 Chinook helicopter, was based on such
factors as performance, need and ability -- not on favoritism.
Critics charge military officials wrote the specifications for
those aircraft so narrowly that only one or two vendors in each
category would be able to respond.
Canadian authorities have now delayed the purchase until after
the next election, which could be as soon as January for the
current minority Liberal government, if defeated in the House of
Commons by the opposition.
"It's unanimous - we're not moving with it now," an anonymous
government official told the Press. "We're not moving with this
before an election. It's all on the basis of the ferocious lobbying
by industry. It's all Toronto-Montreal-Bombardier politics."
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