Letter to the editor – reduce annual budget

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Dear Editor,

Being one of the numerous taxpayers living in Ontario and subject to paying both provincial and federal taxes, I believe that our tax dollars should be spent to achieve the maximum return.

When Doug Ford was elected, he asked the people of Ontario to help him reduce the annual budget and I believed him, and sent an outline of what could be done to reduce the budget by approximately one hundred million dollars. I had originally tried to contact my local Ontario MPP to avail the Premier of this and actually never heard back from either one of them. At one time or another, I worked with both provincial and federal governments, and have some personal knowledge about how things are done when it comes to procurement and deciding how to spend taxpayer money.

The Federal Government, on behalf of the Department of National Defense [DND], is going through another kibosh with the supposed refurbishment of the Griffon Helicopter, otherwise known as the Bell Helicopter B412 FAA, which is certified as a commercial helicopter and can be sold on the commercial market.

Again, DND is spending money on a lost cause, remember the S61 replacement (almost as old as the DC-3)? I was personally involved with DND in the replacement of the original B212 (military), and one Colonel, at a meeting to decide on the replacement, said there was a company in Winnipeg that was willing to convert them to FAA-approved B212 and sell them for $1M each.

I advised the Colonel that we did not actually own the B212, as they were on loan from the US State Department and could only be sold to another Allied country approved by the State Department. The fact that the Colonel did not know this basic fact is significant. We paid $400,000 per B212, and received the same in return, once they were returned to the US.

Bell Helicopter is taking a modified Vietnam-era airframe to make another modified B412 FAA Griffon, which has not been proven, even with modifications, to serve the purpose of DND. But who cares, its ONLY TAXPAYER MONEY.

There are Helicopters on the market right now that can outdo anything that Bell can produce to replace the Griffon. What is wrong with DND requesting what they actually need, including performance specification to ten thousand feet? DND must-have specifications should be provided to Bell to carry out the modifications.

There are modern helicopters available to carry out any conceivable mission that DND wants, using the same airframe and totally lowering maintenance and manpower. DND should send out an RFQ, now, with their known requirements for the end of 2020, and Bell Helicopters should state the actual cost for the modification to the Griffons, including FAA approvals.

I have seen too many examples of unthinking and pointless procurements made by the various government departments, particularly DND, to feel hopeful about their ability to acquire the right replacement helicopters.

Regards,
Donald J McDougall

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