Opinion: Questions about Canadian arms procurement

The Canadian government, stung by lack of job growth, is making ‘industrial offsets’ a key priority of for defence spending, according to Public Works Minister Diane Finley as reported in the Ottawa Citizen. According to Finley the government would make defence spending conditional on the creation of jobs in Canada by the successful companies bidding on government defence contracts.

While there is nothing new about industrial offsets, the practise has been criticised for increasing the costs of military spending on one side, and allowing arms companies to ‘bribe’ cities or regions with job claims on the other. Job claims that have a history of being bogus.

Finley ominously said that defence spending (military procurement) plans would be reviewed by ‘third party advisors’, without specifying who these third parties might be. Another layer of bureaucracy? Costly international consultants?

The announcement comes as the Conservative government has failed to deliver on most of its military procurement plans, and seems to signal the failure of its past policies and administration.

Perhaps Canadians should be grateful that Canadian arms procurement has been so inept that the military must have grave doubts about being embroiled in any more international conflicts.

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