Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Denis Coderre and the Definition of Insanity

Liberal Defense Critic suggests we do the same things, the same way, and somehow expect a different result

It's said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing, in the same way, expecting different results.

That's precisely what the Denis Coderre, the Liberal party's Defense critic, has suggested the Canadian government do inregards to Canada's aging fleet of Aurora patrol planes.

"Those planes have a capacity to be perfect up to 2025," Coderre insisted at a press conference attended by fellow Liberals Scott Brisan, Geoff Regan and Michael Savage. "If we are replacing them... and we're stalling those other [upgrades], you will have kind of a gap in some years when Canada won't be able to fulfil its own military duty. That's a problem in itself."

To sum the matter up in short, Coderre, the Defense Critic for the party that has historically cut corners with Canada's military hardware in order to save a couple of bucks, has suggested Canada's sitting government do exactly the same.

Somehow, presumably, the results will be different.

The previous chapters in this sad little chronicle are pretty well known to Canadians.

Upon taking office in 1993, the Liberals (under Jean Chretien) cancelled the previous Tory government's purchase of helicopters to replace Canada's decrepid fleet of Sea Kings. What ensued was nothing less than years of helicopter crashes, and, more importantly, pilot casualties, precipitated by Liberal negligence.

In 2004, a Canadian submariner died of injuries sustained in a fire aboard a submarine purchased second-hand from the British Navy.

Now Coderre suggests Canada should continue to pursue the Liberal policy of overhauling obselete equipment in order to squeeze every last operating hour out of it. Perhaps when the Canadian forces resort to spending 30 hours of maintenance for every hour in the air on the Auroras will they finally admit the planes have had enough.

Coderre has even suggested that replacing the planes instead of upgrading them will leave Canada with a significant gap in its surveillance capabilities -- obviously a blow for Arctic sovereignty. Yet, Defense department officials disagree, noting that replacements for the Auroras can be in place by the time the refit of the existing planes would be finished in 2013.

As a potential compromise, a portion of Canada's Aurora planes could be refitted, then used as backups in case of an emergency.

But Canadians have already seen what happens when the government bends over backwards to extend the operating life of aging hardware.

It looks a little something like this:

That's reason enough for Defense Minister Peter MacKay to tell Denis Coderre the government already has other plans.

The last thing Canadians need is for its sitting government to buy into Coderre and the Liberals' institutional insanity.

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