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MPs blast `closed-door' plan to buy military hardware






OTTAWA—Canada's military is set to buy new Chinook helicopters and Hercules transport aircraft without seeking competitive bids, a move that has opposition MPs crying foul.


Defence Minister Bill Graham has been engaged in high-level lobbying in recent days to win the support of senior decision-makers, including Prime Minister Paul Martin, sources say.


In those discussions, military brass are pitching a plan to issue "sole source" contracts for the new fleets of aircraft — purchases worth hundreds of millions of dollars — to avoid a drawn-out tendering process.


And they're pushing ahead with the plan even though commanders have yet to finish their so-called capabilities paper, a document outlining what equipment the military needs to fulfil missions around the globe.


That research won't be released until sometime around Christmas.


Conservative MP Gordon O'Connor (Carleton-Mississippi Mills) accused Graham of planning big-ticket military purchases "behind closed doors."


"Who will benefit financially as the government skirts the checks and balances of competition?" O'Connor asked in the House of Commons yesterday. Military officials have refused to comment on the proposed purchase.


NDP MP Bill Blaikie (Elmwood-Transcona) called on Graham to appear before the Commons' defence committee to explain his purchase plans.


"If there's any truth to this, Graham should be straightforward about it...he should `fess up, come before the committee and say this is why we're doing it," Blaikie said.


With Canada set to send an additional 1,300 extra troops to Afghanistan in February, the defence department has its eyes set on the newer version of the Hercules, the C-130J, which can fly faster, further and haul more cargo.


In a separate plan, the military has gone to Treasury Board seeking approval to buy equipment for Canada's mission in Afghanistan, including armoured vehicles. That too raised hackles on Parliament Hill, with MPs suggesting the troops already in Afghanistan were sent without adequate gear.

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Here we go....****...where is that soapbox of mine?? Here it is!


Rant On.


Another example of the hypocricy of politicians. In the last election campaign, the Cons pounded the table on how, if elected, they would take quick and decisive steps to properly equip the Military. Well, since the appointment of the new Chief of Defense Staff, that has become more the agenda of the present government, and the Cons are slamming them and trying to slow down the process at the expense of the troops.


To go through the whole acquisition process for this hardware would take literally a decade. The replacement process for the Hercs should have been started years ago. Many times over the past years, the Military has tried to start up projects to replace aging equipment and acquire equipment that is needed for what the Governement has wanted them to do. Over and over again, the government squashed these plans. Now, they want to give the CF missions they have repeatedly refused to let them prepare for. Now they have to "fast track" the process in order to do so. It's unfortunate that they operate this way. The CF has managed to get the job done DESPITE the politicians.


Rant off.

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Intrepid, agree with you, BUT, "you are not allowed to hold any politician accountable for anything said during electioneering"


i don't see what the problem is - if you need a new herc, whats with the bid process ??


is there some other aircraft that can fulfill it's role while maintaining some parts and maintenance compatability ??


are they wanting to replace all the hercs ??

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Yes...what was I thinking?? You can't even hold politicians accountable for whatever they say anytime!!


All captial projects for the federal government must follow the rules laid down by Treasury Board. Purchasing additional Hercs would fall under that. To purchase something that is new to the inventory such as the Chinook, would be a longer and more drawn out process. There is, however, provision to sole-source a purchase if it can be reasonably proven that the equipment you are after is the only type that can do the job. If that can be proven, then you can get the go-ahead to sole source. Urgency of need also plays a factor here. So when it comes to the Hercs, it should make sense that the military could get some more sole source. (Parts, infrastructure, training of aircrew and engineers, etc.) For the Chinooks, you would think it would make sense too. For that kind of lift, there aren't many options out there. But you also have to consider availability, supportability regarding parts, compliance with military specs for a combat aircraft, etc.


Like I said, a case can be made and I would think that the MOD and the military would make sure they have these bases covered before it got to Cabinet level and before the word got out.


It's just the political bull that gets under my skin.



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-- In a separate plan, the military has gone to Treasury Board seeking approval to buy equipment for Canada's mission in Afghanistan, including armoured vehicles. That too raised hackles on Parliament Hill, with MPs suggesting the troops already in Afghanistan were sent without adequate gear. --


what REALLY bothers me is the circular arguments, bitching about procurement procedures that take forever,, as intrepid has stated, then stating that the troops are sent without proper equip --- sh*t or get off the pot !!


sad part is the politicians are playing with peoples lives, literally

:down: just a game for them to get their voices heard (election coming you know) :down:



don't really want to get started on this, blame it on Elvis for starting this thread :up:

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Yeah, that's it....complaining about the procedure. Whatever works. This type of thing has been going on for years. There wasn't much strife over the 412 contract that was, as correctly stated by Widgeon, awarded without tender and at the objection of the military. (I could get into regional benefits at this point, but I won't!)


As far as alterntatives for the Chinook, Russian hardware could be in the mix as well as the 53. Although the 53 might be a tad overkill and I don't believe it has as good a servicability and supportability record as the Chinook. Russian...you're back into politics.

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