This is part 1 in an ongoing Western Standard feature examining leaked F-18 fighter replacement program documents.
OTTAWA, ON: The Western Standard has received an 800-page leak from the Department of National Defence revealing a bureaucracy defying the elected arm of government over the CF-18 fighter jet replacement. With tens of billions of taxpayer dollars on the line, the documents raise serious questions about Cabinet’s ability to manage major procurements.
The leaked Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP) draft was received with a simple question attached, “does this look rigged for the F-35?”
The short answer is “yes.” The request for proposal (RFP) in the documents was rigged to benefit the Lockheed Martin F-35. This is another regrettable example of “Yes Minister” style antics in Canadian defence history, with top Defence bureaucrats leading the Defence Minister at best or openly defying his orders at worst. This could have been avoided if the younger Trudeau only followed his father’s example instead of repeating his mistakes.
The selection of the CP-140 under Pierre Trudeau in the 1970s did not go smoothly. Then Liberal Minister of Supply and Services Jean-Pierre Goyer accused one of the senior civil servants running the program of “gross negligence” and of “misinforming” cabinet before the minister had the civil servant removed from the project. Unwilling to repeat the mistakes of the CP-140 procurement, Pierre Trudeau put in place several checks and balances on the New Fighter Aircraft (NFA) program. The NFA was designed with the clear goal of replacing the fighter jets we had with a new jet that met the technical requirements of the missions we flew at the best value with full industrial offsets.
While the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) leadership insisted that the large and expensive F-15 was the right jet for Canada; the CF-18, the least expensive jet in the competition that met the minimum requirements, was selected as the winner. As history is fond of repetition, today’s RCAF clearly favours the F-35, the most expensive jet in the competition.
The new RFP demands capabilities far beyond what the CF-18 can deliver, both at home and abroad. The strike mission scenarios represent an unreasonably high number of points, include missions we have historically left to the Americans, and are clearly biased towards the F-35’s passive stealth advantages. In short, this RFP looks like it was written with inflated requirements to minimize the points score of the least expensive jet in the competition: the Saab Gripen-E. I believe this was done so that the Gripen can’t win in Canada like it won in Brazil.
In Brazil’s fighter competition, the Gripen-E was rated as slightly less capable than the first place French Rafale, but the Gripen won because it offered full industrial benefits, would be assembled in Brazil by Embraer, and was the best value with a total cost of ownership half that of the Rafale. The Brazilian contest clearly demonstrated that the Swedish Gripen is the least expensive jet that can replace the CF-18, saving the Canadian taxpayer billions of dollars.
During the 2015 election, Trudeau promised to purchase a less expensive alternative to the F-35 and said that the savings would be directed toward Navy shipbuilding. While the CF-18 replacement program is ongoing, the Liberals have already increased shipbuilding commitments by tens of billions of dollars.
Originally five manufacturers were invited to participate. Thus far, the French (Dassault Rafale) and the British (Airbus Eurofighter) have walked away from the competition over issues with the RFP being biased towards the American F-35. With a minority government, the opposition will have to hold Trudeau and the bureaucrats at the Department of National Defence (DND) accountable.
The Green party made it clear that they would oppose any F-35 purchase. Early in the campaign, the NDP said that they would only support a fighter that was made-in-Canada. With the other Europeans out, the Saab Gripen is the only jet in the competition that would be made in Canada. Saab has an existing partnership with Bombardier and it’s likely that the Bloc represented riding of Mirabel would become home to a multi-billion-dollar Saab/Bombardier Gripen factory. With so many jobs on the line in Quebec, the Bloc has every incentive to pay close attention to this file.
Defence scholars Anton Bezglasnyy and Douglas Ross warned that the F-35 has the potential of being “the plane that ate the Canadian Navy.” Respect for the taxpayer and respect for the military are not mutually exclusive concepts in Sweden. They shouldn’t be in Canada.
This is part 1 in an ongoing Western Standard feature examining leaked F-18 fighter replacement program documents.
Alex McColl has a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Calgary, where he wrote his capstone thesis “CF-39 Arrow II: A Swedish Solution to the CF-18 Replacement Problem” on the CF-18 replacement procurement.
Is ‘Paw Patrol’ capitalist propaganda? This professor on the CBC thinks so.
Is the children’s show is turning our tikes into tiny-tea partiers & miniature minarchists?
Everyone with a Netflix account and young children can sing most of the introductory title song of Paw Patrol, however much we wish we couldn’t.
“PAW Patrol, PAW Patrol. We’ll be there on the double!… No job’s too big. No pup’s too small! PAW Patrol, we’re on a roll!” etc.
I put it on for a few hours a day to distract my toddler while I try to get something – anything – done around the house. But while I thought that she was learning about teamwork, friendship, and helping her community, lo and behold, she was learning to support the capitalist patriarchy. Or so says a professor interviewed by the CBC’s Rebecca Zandbergen.
In an interview with criminology professor Liam Kennedy, he lays out – much to my surprise – how the repetitive children’s show is turning our tikes into tiny-tea-partiers and miniature minarchists.
“He [my son] has now internalized my feelings about the series and knows that we don’t in fact watch Paw Patrol in our house,” said the professor on the CBC’s London Mornings show.
The professor didn’t just stop his own son from watching the capitalist cartoon. He published an entire report on it: ‘Crime, Conservation and Corporatization in Paw Patrol’. In it, he lays out just how this pack of pups is brainwashing Canada’s children.
“I’ll start with the depiction of the state. Mayor Humdinger and Mayor Goodway — kind of the representatives of the state or the government – are portrayed negatively. Mayor Humdinger is portrayed as unethical or corrupt. Mayor Goodway as hysterical, bumbling, incompetent.”
Ostensibly, the professor believes that any portrayal of government officials as anything other than ethical, calm, collected and competent, is dangerous.
“She immediately calls the Paw Patrol…and so I would argue that the Paw Patrol – as a private corporation – is used to help provide basic social services in the Adventure Bay community…That’s problematic in that the Paw Patrol creators are sending this message that we can’t depend on the state to provide these services. That private corporations – private enterprise – can provide these services to the community.”
Kennedy also felt that the fictional children’s cartoon was not overly realistic in its portrayal of Chase, the German Shepherd police dog.
“It was a show, kind of emphasizing the benevolence of police officers, and, that struck a chord with me. You know, I felt that that wouldn’t speak to a lot of radicalized and marginalized communities, families and children.“
With two German Shepherds in our home, it’s not surprising that Chase was my two-year-old’s favourite character. She even calls their collars “Pup Tags” now. But our dogs have not yet engaged in any racist brutalization of the minorities living in our neighbourhood. To help our toddler see Chase for the capitalist pig that he is, we will consider starting a “Poodle Lives Matter” campaign the next time we’re at the dog park.
To be fair to the CBC’s Rebecca Zandbergen, she didn’t appear to buy the theory hook-line-and-sinker.
“So even if what you’re saying is true…how susceptible might a three, a two, a four-year-old be to these underlying messages that you say exist?”
The professor seems to think very susceptible.
“Some children may internalize messages about mistrust of the state. Or, this show puts a lot of responsibility on individuals to go out and recycle, to protect the environment. It places a lot of faith in private corporations…”
What a libertarian hellscape, where individuals are expected to take responsibility for their impact on the world, and not rely on the government to do everything for them.
Zandbergen thought this line of argument a bit much even for a CBC audience.
“There are some good messages, in encouraging people to recycle, right?“
Professor Kennedy wasn’t having any of it.
“I mean I think everybody should recycle, but I think we should also depend on the state to facilitate that recycling process…”
Zandbergen to her credit pressed on, asking if there was “anything redeeming about the show?” What about, “No job is too big, no pup is too small?”
“To me that’s an individualist message. Pull up your boot straps. You can do it if you just try hard enough. That kind of message ignores structural barriers in our society and not everyone can do it.”
Zandbergen’s interview has been widely shared in Canadian conservative and libertarian online circles, possibly because the CBC’s headline, “Does Paw Patrol encourage our kids to embrace capitalism?” appears to be an implicit endorsement of the professor’s thesis. At most news outlets, headlines are written by editors, and not authors, and this appears to be most likely the case here. In fact, Zandbergen appears to be politely holding back her laughter during the on-air interview.
But if Zandbergen wasn’t particularly convinced by the professor’s post-modernist intersectionalism, someone at the CBC appears to have been.
But maybe the professor does have a point. Paw Patrol – much as it annoys me as it plays in the background – is teaching our children something: mistrust of state, individual responsibility, and voluntary community mindedness.
So I’ll keep on a little longer today. With any luck, my daughter won’t grow up to be a professor writing intersectional nonsense on the government dime.
You can watch the full CBC interview HERE.
Derek Fildebrandt is Publisher of the Western Standard, and President & CEO of Wildrose Media Corp.
SELICK: Coronavirus’s asymptomatic carriers
Reports of coronavirus patients who show none of the usual symptoms – fever, coughing, or shortness of breath – are both good news and bad news.
First, the bad. The existence of these so-called asymptomatic carriers will undoubtedly bolster arguments for wholesale violations of civil liberties. Wuhan – China’s seventh largest city with 11 million inhabitants – has already been quarantined. That’s more than a minor inconvenience. Prohibiting the movement of people into and out of so large a city will quickly wreak economic havoc not only on those 11 million, but also on the millions they customarily trade with.
History’s most famous asymptomatic carrier was probably Typhoid Mary. Born Mary Mallon, she migrated from Ireland to the U.S. in the 1880s and held a series of jobs as a live-in cook for affluent New York families. Everywhere she went, people fell ill with typhoid fever. Some died; many were hospitalized; but Mary herself remained healthy. She was imprisoned from 1907 to 1910 as a public safety measure, but eventually won her freedom by promising to cease working as a cook. However, being a laundress didn’t pay very well, so she soon adopted a pseudonym and returned to cooking. For another five years, typhoid epidemics broke out wherever she went. She was re-arrested in 1915 and quarantined until her death 23 years later.
Scientists of Mary’s day tried to establish what made her immune. Typhoid bacteria were found in many of her stool samples and in her gallbladder after her death. But the research tools available 82 years ago were primitive compared with today’s.
So here’s the good news. The existence of asymptomatic carriers presents a golden opportunity to determine what makes some people impervious to the virus while others succumb. Will the opportunity be used effectively?
There’s a 125-year-old controversy that many people, including doctors and scientists, are unaware of. French scientist Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) is well known as the father of modern germ theory—the belief that illness occurs when foreign microbes such as bacteria and viruses invade the body. However, his colleague, Claude Bernard (1813-1878), held a somewhat different theory – the terrain theory – which held that the determining factor in who became ill was the state of the patient’s internal “soil” or terrain.
Pasteur, incidentally, was no angel, despite his historical glorification. He has been described as an unlikeable person and an unethical scientist who falsified data to produce the results he wanted from experiments. But he was apparently a great self-promoter, unlike Bernard and another French scientist, Antoine Béchamp (1816-1908) who agreed with Bernard. Both B’s died in obscurity.
Reportedly, Pasteur recanted on his deathbed, saying: “Bernard avait raison. Le germe n’est rien, c’est le terrain qui est tout.” (Bernard was right. The microbe is nothing, the soil is everything.) Writer Susan Dorey tried to trace this story back to its source but was stymied by her inability to read French and consult original French sources.
The terrain theory makes sense when you consider that North Americans who travel to third world countries frequently get gastrointestinal upsets that the natives seem impervious to. Likewise, farmers who routinely drink raw (unpasteurized) milk often aren’t troubled by the digestive symptoms that strike some people trying it for the first time.
Regardless of whether Pasteur recanted or not, coronavirus and its asymptomatic patients now present us with an excellent opportunity to examine why some people are vulnerable to its ravages while others aren’t, despite their exposure.
There are several possible explanations. Maybe immunity is genetic. Maybe it depends on the state of your nutrition. But a third possibility is that it depends upon the state of the infected person’s terrain, primarily the gut microbiome. This is turn might be affected by what a person eats, what nutritional supplements he takes, what toxins or antibiotics he has been exposed to, whether he was breast- or bottle-fed, and even whether he was born by Caesarian section.
Scientific interest in the microbiome, and the interaction between bacteria and viruses, has exploded in recent years, with the development of gene mapping technology. Let’s hope it will be applied intelligently to the coronavirus challenge.
Meanwhile, I’m planning to take extra care of my gut, by increasing my consumption of sauerkraut (unpasteurized, of course), kefir, kombucha, and prebiotic and probiotic supplements.
Karen Selick is the Copy Editor and a Columnist for the Western Standard. She has previously written for he original Western Standard, National Post, Canadian Lawyer Magazine. She is the former Litigation Lawyer of the Canadian Constitution Foundation and is the owner of KeenEyesEditing.ca.
Top Ten Good News Stories: 2019 Edition
Western Standard brings you the top 10 stories sure to make Westerns smile back on 2019.
2019 was not a good year for Western Canada. With a few exceptions, most news concerning our half of the country was unrelentingly negative. But good things did happen (most of them elsewhere), and the beginning of a new decade seems a suitable time to reflect back on the stories that made Westerners smile.
10. Don Cherry’s private podcast received the highest listenership in Canada shortly after being dismissed by Sportsnet-CBC for his politically incorrect soliloquy on Coach’s Corner. Debate raged over if his comments were genuinely racist, or just the latest example of puritanical cancel culture censoring anything controversial. Lost in most of the debate was the hypocrisy of most left-leaning Canadians voting to keep a man who engaged in the unquestionably racist act of blackface, while demanding that Canada’s uncle be fired for speaking his mind.
9. Western Canada is more united than it has been in years, with the notable exception of BC. The bloc of blue on election night spoke more loudly than all the rallies or convoys ever could. As it was in 1980 under Trudeau Sr., the Liberals do not hold a single seat between Winnipeg and Vancouver. It’s unlikely the voice of the West will be listened in substance, but if they don’t get the message now, they likely never will.
8. Western Independence is back with a vengeance. While federalists might not view this as positive, it has got the attention of the Laurentians and as every negotiator knows, to be successful you need an ‘or else’. The question is, if the federalists don’t take the ‘or else’ seriously, can the sovereigntist movement move beyond shouting, to become a serious threat?
7. Teck Resources’ Frontier oil sands mine (sort of) approved. It took ten years and still requires approval from feds, but it’s good news and would create 7,000 jobs if Justin Trudeau allows it to go ahead. If he chooses to side with the climate extremists, it’s likely that the still rag-tag sovereigntist movement will see a flood of new recruits.
6. Polar bears are back. Long the symbol of apocalyptic climate predictions, the polar bear has increased in numbers to the point where they are causing problems for northern communities. Good news for the bears, bad news for the climate extremists in search of a new icon.
5. The world is growing greener. According to NASA, leaf cover on Earth has increased by two million square miles since the early 2000s. That’s more than half the size of Canada and a five per cent increase from two decades ago. The two primary factors causing this are hyper-efficient agriculture and increased CO2, which depending on your worldview is either plant food, or earth-ending pollution.
4. ISIS was defeated and its leader Al-Baghdadi is dead. It’s difficult to tell exactly how much of this is responsible for a 52 per cent worldwide reduction in deaths from acts of terrorism, but it has surely played a significant part. After 20 years of chasing terrorists in never-ending foreign wars, its finally some good news.
3. Boris Johnson destroyed Corbyn’s Labour Party in the UK election. Brexit will go ahead, the outcome of the referendum respected. Since Britons voted to leave the EU, globalists have lamented the push back against centralized political and economic control, while patriotic movements have looked to it for hope.
2. Hong Kong still stands strong against all odds, and has not (yet) been overrun by China’s nouveau-communist regime. The courage of freedom fighters in Hong Kong is inspiring, and the sight of its students standing up against tyranny contrasts with students in Western countries demanding free tuition and safe spaces.
1. The NDP lost their bid for re-election on April 16th, making them Alberta’s first one-term government in its history, and ending the province’s socialist experiment that arguably began with Alison Redford. As Rachel Notley failed to gain “social license” from her green allies, Albertans had little time for punishing economic policies with little gain in sight. It remains to be seen if Jason Kenney’s tough talk with Ottawa can produce anything but headlines, or if more drastic measures will be required.
Bonus: An aspiring modern Michelangelo duct taped a banana to a wall and sold it for $120,000, presumably as art. In front of a crowd of stunned onlookers, another artist ate it claiming his snack was an ‘art performance’ titled ‘Hungry Artist’. The Western Standard does not endorse vandalism, but we struggle to place this in the same category.
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