Yesterday, Peter Mackay admitted that the Auditor General was right. Mackay and his cabinet colleagues had known that the F-35's would cost $25 billion. The difference between the $14.7 billion figure, which the government touted, and the Auditor General's number was simply a matter of accounting:
The $10-billion difference is accounted for by a "different interpretation in the all-up costs at arriving at $25 billion," MacKay told CTV's Question Period on Sunday.
"It is a different calculation than an acquisition. We have always said that $9 billion is the cost of the aircraft. There's an additional $5.7 billion then for maintenance," MacKay said.
"But the $10 billion is money that we're paying right now. That is, money that goes to pay the pilots of the CF-18 program and fuel, oil, upkeep of the existing fleet."
Ferguson's figures are based on calculations that differ from how accounting for major procurements has always been done, MacKay said.
This is an argument we've heard before. The In and Out Scandal, the government claimed, resulted from a difference of opinion about how election costs should be recorded.
Essentially, Mackay argues that the government is entitled to its own set of facts. The numbers, he says, are what we say they are. It's the same tactic the Harperites employed when they were found in contempt of Parliament. It all amounted, Stephen Harper said, to being outvoted. He needed a majority government to guarantee that his numbers were accepted.
Like the Bushies, the Harpies believe that they make their own reality.