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The F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft. (LOCKHEED MARTIN/NYT)
The F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft. (LOCKHEED MARTIN/NYT)


A $44.8-billion bill? Please, try shopping for Louboutins Add to ...

I’ve only ever seen one episode of Sex and the City, so I’ll need a little help from my readers here, but having followed the government’s campaign to replace our aging fleet of CF-18 fighter jets, and how this shopping expedition has been carried out and rationalized by the characters involved, what I want to know is: Which one’s Samantha?

Oh my God, Peter MacKay is such a Carrie. It’s like our Defence Minister just saw those 65 Lockheed Martin F-35s and had to have them, and no one was really sure how he could afford them and he gave the impression that he got some sort of deal on them, although logic, and the Auditor-General, suggest that this is unlikely, and, much like a pair of pink suede stiletto Louboutins with ostrich feathers and silk bows on the heels, there are questions as to whether they will work in the Arctic.

We, the viewers, didn’t get many answers to our questions. We just got a picture of Peter MacKay looking glassy-eyed in a cockpit, like Carrie in her shoes. This may be why I’ve only ever watched one episode of the show.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a total Miranda. And after reading what Parliamentary Secretary and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dean Del Mastro wrote on his Facebook wall this week, I’m going to go with Dean as Charlotte, because I think she is meant to be the cheery one.

“If we were to assume that health care costs were contained to a 3-per-cent annual increase for the next 42 years,” Mr. Del Mastro wrote, “Canadians will spend roughly 10.88 trillion to provide care over that period of time. If we assume that John Ivison from the National Post is correct on his costing estimate on the F-35, then the cost over the same time period would be 0.046 trillion. That means that for every dollar spent on aerial defence and security that Canadians will spend $237 on health care, which demonstrates how perspective on these things matter [sic.].”

Ah yes, perspective. The kind that comes from comparing one apple (fighter planes are but one aspect of defence) to all the oranges, tangelos and kumquats that make up health care.

“Settle down everyone,” Minister Charlotte basically says. “Forget every number you’ve been told about what the planes will cost, that veritable times-table of figures that has come your way since the $9-billion figure was first floated in 2010. Ignore the $44.8-billion to be revealed shortly in the KPMG report – all you need to know is these planes will cost less than curing cancer.”

In fact, in the face of that same KPMG report unveiled this week, Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose announced the government’s plan to “hit the reset button” on the whole affair: new game!

But a game reinitiated by the same government that has approached the jet-procurement process with all the sobriety and transparency of those four famous fictional shoppers during a sale at Barneys.

I say let the citizen who has never bought a dress on the grounds that she did not buy a sweater, and never amortized that dress purchase over the lifespan of the Roman Empire while resisting disclosing the item’s lifetime dry-cleaning and alterations costs as the Wardrobe Auditor-General requires, cast the first September Vogue.

Unless, of course, shopping with someone else’s money is the job that person was elected, trusted to do.

The F-35s have been on reverse sale since they were first mentioned, the price escalating each time the deal-that-is-not-a-deal was scrutinized.

It’s no wonder that the Conservatives are so touchy about this: For heaven’s sake, people, stop asking about the planes! We can’t afford any more questions! To put this in festive film terms, it’s like questions are water and F-35 estimates are gremlins and every time you expose those adorable little figures to water, they double.

Yes, we need new jets. Fighter jets are a staple. Fighter jets are the little black dress of our military, except lives depend on them.

The mistake our governmental Carrie and friends made was that they instigated not the Black Cocktail Dress Procurement Process required but something like a Black Silk Lanvin, Scoop-Neck, Fitted Bodice Cocktail Dress, Currently At Holt Renfrew, Three Racks Over From the Marni Procurement Process to the inevitable exclusion of all other options.

Believe me, government, I understand how this can happen, but mistakes will be made if one shops that way so, please, in the future, don’t adopt Sex and the City women as your retail role models.

Apart from everything else, I am certain that no one, government or individual, should take lifestyle advice from anyone who wears a bra while having sex.

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Follow on Twitter: @TabathaSouthey

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