Roundup: MPs head home while the F-35 storm rages on

The House has risen, and the MPs are all headed back to their ridings. Not the Senate though – they’re still sitting, and I’ll be heading up their for Senate QP later today.

Okay, so now the big news from yesterday – the KPMG report on the F-35 procurement process. With a cost now pegged at $46 billion over 42 years, the government says that it’s officially pushing the reset button on the process – or is it? The former ADM of procurement at National Defence, Alan Williams, says that it’s meaningless unless the department redraws the Statement of Requirements to make stealth a “rated feature” with a point value rather than a pass/fail and it then goes for open tender. There’s also the problem of attrition and the additional costs of buying replacement aircraft, which is outside of the $9 billion procurement envelope being set. John Geddes rips apart Peter MacKay’s remorseless performance yesterday, and notes that the officials noted that it will be difficult to keep the aerospace contracts for supplying F-35 parts if we don’t end up going with that plane. John Ivison goes through the process and finds that if the Conservatives still end up going with the F-35s, it will look like incompetence. Andrew Coyne takes offence that the government continues to spin the numbers and calls bullshit – it’s not 42 years, but $46 million over 30 years, and that the government tacked on those extra 12 years to cover “development and acquisition,” which costs a few hundred million, but by making it look like a little over a billion dollars a year, the government is trying to make it look more palatable. Paul Wells notes the Conservatives’ tendency toward hubris when they should be listening to their critics, who do have a point. Of course, the US “fiscal cliff” may end up killing the F-35s as it would slash their defence spending.

Over in the Commons, Speaker Scheer quashed Peter Van Loan’s attempt to use procedure to limit the number of votes that the opposition can force on government legislation. As well he should have.

That private member’s bill on union disclosures passed the Commons, despite a handful of Conservative MPs voting against it. I look forward to it being eviscerated in the Senate for its particular constitutional lapses.

John Baird is holding off from supporting the new Syrian opposition coalition, in part because of concerns of some of the groups who make it up.

The Liberals and NDP spent their last-day press conferences trying to prove who was the better opposition party.

In the court case around those six ridings and robo-call allegations, the complainants’ lawyer argued there was clear voter suppression, while there it was a day also marked with arguments over abuse of process and Twitter use.

Over in the Liberal leadership race, Marc Garneau laid out some economic policy about tax breaks for innovation. William Watson at the Financial Post, however, is less than impressed.

Here is your recap of last night’s political shows, in which Chris Alexander was so obnoxious that he actually got his mic cut at one point.

And to celebrate the season, here is Liberal MP Rodger Cuzner’s annual Xmas rhyme in the Commons yesterday.