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Ottawa Perspective: New Challengers will Show Worth

Optics and timing are everything in politics.

October 3, 2007  By Ken Pole

Optics and timing are everything in politics. A case in point is the
recent decision – ostensibly by the federal cabinet but really by Prime
Minister Jean Chrétien, as the full cabinet apparently was not
consulted – to acquire a pair of new Challenger 604 executive
transports at an all-up cost of $101 million.To put it in the
vernacular, both the optics and the timing sucked like a turbine!

The timing was bad in that confirmation of the purchase came on the
eve of a two-week parliamentary recess. It appeared as though the
government was hoping that a fortnight would be enough time for critics
to cool off. Not! "The prime minister just found $101 million … so
that his fat-cat cabinet and he can fly around in luxury!"Alliance MP
Grant Hill complained in the first House of Commons question period
after the recess."At the same time, our Sea King helicopters are over
40 years old!"The link to the shipborne Sikorskys had a whiff of
apples-and-oranges, but it also was a graphic example of poor optics –
more of which in a minute or two.


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