It’s all about buying jobs–and hopefully votes. Jeffrey Simpson of the Globe and Mail lays out the simple truth:
This morning [March 17], Defence Minister Peter MacKay will make an “announcement” (in the words of a press release) in Shearwater, N.S.
This “announcement” follows one in New Brunswick yesterday, and several in Manitoba last week. More will come this week as the Harper government sprinkles defence spending across the country.
Defence spending is always like this. Ask any former minister, especially from the Defence portfolio, what discussions about defence are like around the cabinet table.
Ministers are seldom schooled in defence, foreign policy or technology. They worry less about what the military needs (the military always needs a lot) than where what the military needs will be procured [emphasis added].
And that’s where the fun begins: how to spread money around the country for job-creation purposes and maximum political exposure, as in the announcements of the kind now being made.
Whenever a contract is given offshore, for usually very plausible reasons, you can count on opposition MPs [or union leaders] getting into high dudgeon. Why isn’t the work being done in Canada? How can the government neglect the (fill in the blank) workers of (fill in the blank)? That we might be a member of the NATO alliance, that other countries can do the work better and/or more cheaply, and that we have a defence procurement agreement with the Americans is seldom remembered.
A week of sprinkling defence spending announcements across Canada was not invented by Mr. MacKay and this Prime Minister’s Office.
It’s part of the politicking and pork-barreling that accompany all defence spending, regardless of government [emphasis added]…
Or as I put it: