Chris Alexander is unimpressed

The parliamentary secretary to the Minister of National Defence has posted a link to this blog post on Facebook with the following note (which I can see because Mr. Alexander just added me as a “friend” on Facebook).

Check out this remarkably skewed blog from Aaron Wherry, which does not even mention the government’s new seven-point policy on fighter jets, released on April 3 and heavily discussed inside and outside ever since. Where has he been? Should we not expect better from Maclean’s?

One of Mr. Alexander’s Facebook friends added a note seeking clarification.

Chris, could you clarify how this is skewed?  With all due respect… all that Wherry has done here is contrast the Government’s attempt to revise history with their own quotes on the record going back as far as early 2010. Senior government officials repeatedly made it clear in high-profile public statements that a decision HAD been made — to suggest that the public “misunderstood” as you did is simply incorrect. The public understood perfectly. You can change your communications strategy, but you cannot re-write history.

Mr. Alexander then responded as follows.

“Inside and outside parliament” is what I meant to write above. Really though, since when do year-old quotes on an issue have more weight than a seven-point plan issued in April of this year that has been repeatedly supported by the government in Question Period, in Committee of the Whole and in dozens of interviews since then. Does Aaron Wherry simply not remember Chapter 2 of the Auditor General’s report, and the government response to it?

Aladdin, he has reported on an issue in August 2012 using quotes from 2011 and 2010 when in fact the plan that represents government policy was announced on April 3 of this year. That will be deeply confusing for his readers….

I do appreciate Mr. Alexander’s concern for my readers.

If any of you find yourselves deeply confused, allow me to explain. In the previous blog post, I was merely comparing Mr. Alexander’s comments about there having been a “misunderstanding … in the Canadian public opinion” so far as a decision, contract or obligation to purchase the F-35 is concerned with what some of Mr. Alexander’s colleagues said previously about a decision, contract or obligation to purchase the F-35.

In responding to the auditor general’s concerns, the government announced a new plan to guide the procurement of new fighter jets. The debate around the F-35 has been covered fairly extensively in this space (see here). This particular matter of tone and wording has been previously covered here, here and here.

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