Thursday, February 25, 2016

CABINET COMMITTEE PROCUREMENT PEOPLE


Sadly, these guys won't be in charge.
When the Liberal government took power late last year, they inherited an extremely troubled military procurement system.  To be fair, that broken system was in turn inherited by Conservative Party of Canada when it came to power back in 2006.  While there may have been a few bright spots along the way, some would argue that Chretien's "Decade of Darkness" for the Department of National Defense has lasted for an entire generation.

Thankfully, there are some signs to suggest we may soon see some positive movement.

First of all, there is finally some movement in the agonizing process to replace Canada's fixed wing search and rescue (FWSAR) fleet.

Next comes word that the government has formed a cabinet committee to look over future high-profile defense purchases.  While a committee can be a place where good ideas go to die, the high profile of the participants may suggest otherwise.

Then again, Harjit Sajjan might qualify as a "lumberjack commando".
It should be obvious that someone representing Canada's military would have a say in military procurement.  That comes in the form of Canada's very own "Badass Defence Minister" Harjit Sajjan.

Sajjan has certainly hit the ground running by changing Canada's mission against ISIS/ISIL.  He has also mentioned that Canada will not exclude the F-35 Lightning II as a possible CF-18 replacement.  While this may give the impression of backing down on the promise to cancel the F-35 purchase, it would be difficult to hold an "open and fair" competition whilst specifically excluding a contender.

Expect Sajjan to advocate for the best equipment for our military, or, more to the point, advocate for the choice of Canada's top military officials.

Navdeep Bains self-consciously hides the mustard stain on his tie.
 If Harjit Sajjan represents the concerns of Canada's military, Navdeep Bains will be representing the concerns of Canada's industry.  As Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development; Bains will be under pressure to do what it takes to stimulate Canada's depressed economy.

In short, this means Bains will be advocating for whatever option has the best chance of providing Canadian jobs.

Scott Brison holding an invisible basketball.
With Canada on course to hit a $30 billion deficit this year, someone has to keep a tight hold on the pursestrings.  That job goes to Scott Brison, who sits as the President of the Treasury Board of Canada.

Brison is an experienced political veteran, having served as a former Minister of Public Works and Government Services.  Formerly a Progressive Conservative, he famously crossed the floor  shortly after it merged with the Canadian Alliance to form the Conservative Party of Canada.

Judy Foote, showing off her microphone cozy collection.
Bringing it all together is Judy Foote, Minister of Public Services and Procurement.  This department acts as a "central purchasing agent" for the Canadian Government.

Like Brison, Foote is a political veteran having been involved in both provincial politics and federal for quite some time.  She has served as both Deputy House Leader and Whip.

The Irving Shipyards 
Given the composition of the committee, it seems quite clear that Canada's National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy is (fairly) safe for the time being.

With Sajjan representing the riding of Vancouver South (a stone's throw from the Seaspan Shipyards) and Brison representing Kings-Hants (a stone's throw from the Halifax Shipyard) it is safe to assume that the NSPS is mostly safe.

SeaSpan
Despite the flailing Canadian economy, this group will be tasked with some of the most important military procurements in recent history.  Not only will they oversee the NSPS, but they have FWSAR and CF-18 replacement as well.

Let us hope they are up for the task.





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