… And if you don’t like those figures, we have different ones!

In honour of yesterday’s announcement by Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page, a brief trip down Afghanistan budget memory lane, courtesy of The Commons (originally posted on June 6, 2008):

Question: Why can’t you provide a cost for the war in Afghanistan?  The NDP say that they’ve been asking questions and they can’t get a figure, not even on the equipment, the military equipment, how much is being spent.

Hon. Peter MacKay: Well, I don’t know why they’re having such a hard time figuring it out. We’ve made numerous attempts to explain the spending over Afghanistan. Clearly we’ve made commitments consistent with the motion that was passed in the House to have more equipment, to protect our soldiers, to help them to do the job, to protect the Afghan people. We’ve had 27 technical briefings. We’ve asked—we’ve answered dozens of questions in the House. We’ve had 19 or 20 committee appearances. The NDP had an opportunity last evening, if they were objecting to the budget implementation, to file some sort of an objection. They did nothing.

Reporter: So can you give us a figure?  How much is it costing us, say per month?

MacKay: Well, I’m not going to get into the specifics because we have added, as you know, additional equipment and there are additional procurements happening now in response to the recommendations of the Manley Committee that were endorsed by the House of Commons.

Moderator: One more question, folks.

Reporter: They’re saying you don’t have a cost, you don’t have a figure.

MacKay: Well, we do. Of course we do.

Reporter: Well what is it?

MacKay: Well, we have all kinds of figures.

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