In the latest salvo in the battle of talking points for the supremacy of the skies
, the Tories are saying a reported confrontation involving two CF-18s and two Russian long-range bombers
this week has left Michael Ignatieff "embarrassed" for their opposition to the Joint Strike Fighters purchase.
Last week, the Liberals called on Parliamentary Budget Officer to investigate the government's
$9-billion purchase of 65 new F-35
from Lockheed Martin without a single competing bid.
But the Tory talking points sent out early Friday (full text below) counter that Ignatieff is trying to take the Canadian Forces back to a new "decade of darkness," and incidents like Wednesday's interception "underscore why our men and women in uniform need modern equipment to do their jobs."
It comes after someone used a Department of Defence computer
to alter a Wikipedia page entry about the Joint Strike Fighter jet, removing passages outlining criticism of the jets and the the government's decision to buy them, as well as inserting a line saying Ignatieff has six toes on each foot.UPDATE:
Marc Garneau, the Liberals' science, industry and technology critic, called me up before he boarded a flight at Vancouver International to fire back at the talking points, calling them a "new low in terms of crude and primitive propaganda."
He also says Wednesday's incident is "nothing unusual" and pointed out the CF-18s involved were recently refurbished to be operational until at least 2017.
"The reality is the Russians have been coming over our territory since the Cold War," he says.
The Liberals had to make "tough choices" in the 1990s, including on
defence spending, he says. But he counters the Conservatives have
started their own "decade of darkness" by creating "fear and paranoia"
over the Russian flights, as well as their claims that Canadians have
the looming spectre of jail time hanging over them if they don't fill
out the mandatory long-form census.
Garneau then pointed to his National Post editorial on industrial benefits
for the Canadian aerospace industry and the F-35 procurement process and
his previous role in it when he was in the navy, which you can read here
instead of me typing it all out for you. From: Alerte-Info-Alert <Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2010 07:33:01 -0700To: Alerte-Info-Alert<Subject: Ignatieff Liberals Embarrassed by Russian Bomber Flights Over Arctic
Mere days ago Michael Ignatieff pledged to cancel the new fighter jets the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces urgently need.
Embarrassingly for him, Russian bomber flights over the Arctic -- just two days ago -- underscore why our men and women in uniform need modern equipment to do their jobs.
On Wednesday two CF-18 Hornet fighter aircraft quickly responded when two Russian TU-95 Bear aircraft entered the Canadian buffer zone in front of our airspace.
Canadian pilots visually identified the aircraft as Russian and shadowed them until they turned around.
This incident demonstrates why it is vitally important for the Canadian Armed Forces to have the best technology and equipment available. This is true whether we are asserting our Arctic sovereignty, fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan or aiding reconstruction efforts in Haiti.
For too long, the Canadian Armed Forces suffered under Liberal budget cuts and the Liberal failure to adequately equip our men and women in uniform -- a shameful period known as the "Decade of Darkness."
Sadly, Mr. Igantieff is planning to take Canada's Armed Forces back to this disgraceful period by cancelling our government's purchase of the F-35 Next Generation Joint Strike Fighter.
Perhaps because he wasn't in Canada at the time, Mr. Ignatieff is unaware of how past Liberal governments gutted our military.More proof that Michael Ignatieff isn't in it for Canadians. He's just in it for himself.