On the surface, this appears to contradict reports Quebec senior cabinet minister, Sen. Michel Fortier, whose signature is needed to finalize any deal, would not sign the papers unless 40% went to Quebec firms. These suggestions raised the spectre of the CF-18 affair -- an episode in pure pork barrel politics from a Conservative government in Ottawa with Manitoba at the losing end over Quebec.
Following that point in time, even mentioning Brian Mulroney's name in this province could cause fisticuffs for years to follow.
However, today's news would seem to vindicate Tom Blowback’s recent column asserting forcefully (particularly forcefully) that the reports of Fortier's interference were just that -- made up, invented reports by malicious media types.
"Just a media "report" alleging he's "reportedly" doing it (that's media-speak for we don't really know but we'll say it anyway), regurgitated by other media and splashed on the front page like a cow's breakfast at dinner time."Slap down time, Tom! Nice one. Hit 'em agin'.
Of course Tom went on to extensively quote Vic Toews about how the whole thing was nonsense and after all, Fortier was never quoted anywhere saying anything like that.
But isn't it odd that several national media had attributed in separate stories comments like that to Fortier at the same time, quoting senior, yet anonymous, federal government sources? Did they really just make it up? Or could they have been just repeat something some idiot told them without checking?
What's the deal?
Consider this from the Globe and Mail this past Tuesday, by reporter Daniel Leblanc:
"Public Works Minister Michael Fortier, who is also the minister responsible for Montreal, had been fighting behind the scenes to obtain the "maximum for Quebec," a government source said. But Mr. Fortier failed to secure benefits in the 40-per-cent range for Quebec as he had hoped, and the government is now publicly thwarting any effort to increase benefits in favour of a specific region...Seems like it maybe wasn't all nonsense now, does it? A quick Google search of Daniel Leblanc and you find out he's a veteran on Parliament Hill and one of the journos who broke the sponsorship scandal (whut dat?).
"The issue has created touchy relations between Mr. Fortier and the Department of National Defence, which wants the planes as soon as possible and feels that his demands for benefits in Quebec are unrealistic."
So, you decide who's more likely to have had the goods: an investigative journalist with serious sources in Ottawa, who stands by his story even after official government denials; or a cartoonish Winnipeg columnist who regularly does steno work for Vic Toews?
So why did Fortier actually lose? Because of the great power of Vic Toews?
Or maybe the PM remembers all-too-well CF-18 and how it served to alienate the West from not just Eastern Canada, but from Mulroney's Tories, giving rise to the Reform Party.
He should remember it very well, yes?
ANNOUNCEMENT: We're introducing a new feature called Kevvie Watch. In today's instalment, we merely want to extend our well wishes to the soon-to-be-former-(again) MLA for Inkster who plans to pay for an observer seat at the NDP convention this weekend. Enjoy yourself, sir. We're sure the party will gladly take your money. (Try a few raffle tickets while you're there.)