Saturday, April 30, 2011
王，李，張，劉，陳，楊，黃，趙，吳，周， 徐，孫，馬，朱，胡，郭，何，高，林，羅， 鄭，梁，謝，宋，唐，許，韓，馮，鄧，曹， 彭，曾，肖，田，董，袁，潘，于，蔣，蔡， 余，杜，葉，程，蘇，魏，呂，丁，任，沈， 姚，盧，姜，崔，鍾，譚，陸，汪，范，金， 石，廖，賈，夏，韋，傅，方，白，鄒，孟， 熊，秦，邱，江，尹，薛，閆，段，雷，侯， 龍，史，陶，黎，賀，顧，毛，郝，龔，邵， 萬、錢、嚴、覃，武，戴，莫，孔，向，湯。...."
為了作更深一步的硏究,我在此貼上兩集 YouTube 視頻,以供各位讀者參考。不知道您能不能夠像片中那小學生一樣,將400多個《百家姓》順序一字不漏地唱讀出來!!
References / Related links:
* Wikipedia: The Hundred Family Surnames(百家姓) is a classic Chinese text composed of common surnames in ancient China. The book was composed in the early Song Dynasty. It originally contained 411 surnames, but was later expanded to 504. Of these, 444 are single-character surnames, and 60 are double-character surnames. About 800 names have been derived from the original ones.
* Wikipedia: 中文姓氏羅馬字標注
**** UPDATED ２０１１０５０１ ****
Thursday, April 28, 2011
当日天朗氣清,溫度大約是12 deg C,因為是季末,滑雪場已關了門,我不能坐鋼纜拖的吊椅上山,就只好把雪屐扎在肩上,一步一步地爬上高約200米的Skyline Heggtveit 雪坡,上到山頂已是滿頭大汗,坐下休息透了一口氣,之後穿上雪屐,風馳電掣朝斜坡下衝,初春的涼風撲面,溶雪在腳下飛濺,好不刺激!!
* All photos were taken on Apr 24, 2011 by Haricot at Skyline / Heggtveit, Camp Fortune, Chesea, Québec.
(Note: I tinted the bottom pictures with a cool blue :)
UPDATED 2011-05-01: YouTube Video clip "Last Run Down Heggtveit" posted by "davewoodbridge" on March 1, 2011 - with thanks !!!
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
There are two official public beaches at Meech (I said official because there are other unofficial places where nude bathers let it all hanged out). Plage Blanchet is shown in these photos. But my favourite is O'Brien Beach where I used to do my open-water mile-swim training.
Btwn Blanchet and O'Brien is the length of Meech Lake, a stretch of water that measures 5 kilometres long. With adequate training, one should be able to do a non-stop beach-to-beach swim. I have never attempted it but would like to try one of these days. Sigh! So many challenges, so little time :(
When I took the photos, there was still a thin crust of ice out in the lake and the public beaches were not yet open. The fence and flags were there to keep the Canadian geese off the water-front property. Apparently, the fowls were fouling the environment!!!
I can hardly wait for the ice to disappear so I can put on my wet suit and start swimming. The water does not get warmed up until late June. After that, the place will be jam packed with sun bathers.
I took these photos on Apr 22, 2011 at Meech Lake with my BB.
Sent from BlackBerry
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
It is a sunny day. The air temp is abt +14C but I feel hot from the brisk walk. There are not too many cyclists or runners on the trail as many Ottawans have a habit of leaving town on long weekends.
As you can see from the photos, the water level is fairly high from all the melting snow at this time of the season. Rain is forecast for the weekend and there is a flood warning in effect for low-lying areas.
Venturing to a spot near the water's edge, I try to keep my balance while holding onto my BlackBerry. I notice that the current is moving really fast and there are metre-high standing waves not far from where I am standing. I recall several years ago, some teenagers were swimming in the area and one was caught by the strong under-tow and drowned.
Further downstream, there are more rapids before the Ottawa River tumbles down the rocky Chaudiere Fall (near the building complex in far side of the photo). That section of the Ottawa River is fast and there is actually a small waterway on the Ottawa side that you can do white-water kayaking.
After the Chaudiere Fall, the river slows down and flows past Parliament Hill where boaters from the Rideau Canal take the lock "steps" to enter into the Ottawa River system. From here, one can travel to Montreal and Gaspe via the Fleuve (St Lawrence Seaway), and exit into the north Atlantic Ocean.
* I tool the two photos on April 22, 2011 with my BB
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UPDATE 20110501 以下「新鮮」「微豆」浪花之作:
Sunday, April 24, 2011
* UPDATE 20110428 說文解字: 「 執 到 襪 帶 ， 累 冇 身 家 」
「雞肋」食之無味,棄之可惜,是比喻做無多大意義,而又不忍捨棄的事情。根據《百度百科》,此語源自《三國志．魏志．武帝 紀》,裴松之注引晉司馬彪《九州春秋》: ".... 時王欲還﹐出令曰: 『雞肋!』,官屬不知所謂。主簿楊修便自嚴裝﹐人驚問修: 『何以知之? 』修曰: 『夫雞肋﹐棄之如可惜﹐食之無所得﹐以比漢中﹐知王欲還也。』...."
「襪 帶」本身無用,但棄之可惜,於是執物者要大破慳囊,又要費錢買panty, 又要費錢買silk Stocking,倒頭來, 執到的襪 帶可不便宜!! 故曰: 『 執 到 襪 帶 ， 累 冇 身 家』,又暗示:『都係無Q用!』
* Garter Belt: A garter belt or suspender belt is a woman's undergarment consisting of an elastic piece of cloth worn around the waist to which garters are attached to hold up stockings. Nowadays, women usually wear pantyhose or tights, a one-piece pair of elastic stockings that continue up the body into a foundation garment; individual stockings, held up by a garter belt, are rarely worn as part of everyday dress. Nevertheless, garter belts and stockings continue to be sold in many department stores as well as more specialized outlets. They are considered a reflection of their enduring role in erotic fantasy.
* 程咬金，是一個家喻戶曉的小說人物。他原名程（粵音咬）金，後稱程知節，是隋末唐初的人，在小說《隋唐演義》中，寫成程咬金。程咬金是隋末農民起義軍領袖，在隋末投瓦崗寨,失敗後歸順唐朝。他是一個帶兵官,曾跟從李密、王世充等，後來跟隨李世民，討平隋末群雄，功勞赫赫,到唐高宗時，官至大將軍，後因率軍西征無功而罷官，正史中有傳。 在小說中，他是一員福將，用一對板斧為武器，武藝不太好，但運氣卻好。打仗時，遇到不強的對手，三板斧已經奏功，遇到強的對手，耍完三十六道板斧，仍無法取勝，便拍馬逃去。故現在也有「程咬金三板斧」、「三十六道板斧」之說。程咬金憨厚耿直，手執板斧，常伏於半路殺出，「半路殺出個程咬金」等諺語，也出自這歷史小說人物 。
Friday, April 22, 2011
1. "系統": 系統思維/ System Thinking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systems_thinking)
2. "臥虎藏龍": Chinese proverb - Just like lions crouching low in the grass and dragons hiding behind clouds, you never know who are out there waiting or observing in silence. It is made famous in the western world by the movie based on a 1920 kungfu story of the same name. 中國北京1920年代武俠小說作家王度廬的【鐵鶴五部】中的第四部。【臥虎藏龍】以九門提督之女玉嬌龍和沙漠大盜羅小虎的愛情悲劇為主線。玉嬌龍出身名門，身懷絕技，為父兄官譽不能不嫁給魯翰林，卻始終深愛大盜小虎。她偷了【九華秘笈】而處處受江湖人物圍攻堵截，只好切斷貴族家庭關係，跑去和小虎一溫綺夢，然後又孤劍單騎，遠走大漠。(臥虎藏龍http://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-hk/%E8%87%A5%E8%99%8E%E8%97%8F%E9%BE%8D) (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crouching_Tiger,_Hidden_Dragon)
3. "貂不足,狗尾續!": "狗尾續貂" is a Chinese proverb that literally means when you run out of expensive mink fur, use cheap dog fur and hope nobody can tell the difference. 西晉八王之亂,趙王司馬倫矯詔晉惠帝禪位，自稱皇帝，專惠帝為太上皇。改元建始。由於濫封爵位過甚，時人為之諺曰：『貂不足，狗尾續。』 (司馬倫http://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-hk/%E5%8F%B8%E9%A9%AC%E4%BC%A6)
4. "機關算儘": A poem in the Dream of the Red Chamber that foretells the character王熙鳳 is too smart for her own good. 【紅樓夢】批死了王熙鳳的名句『機關算盡太聰明，反算了卿卿性命。生前心已碎，死後性空靈。』
5. "問鼎": In Chinese history and culture, possession of one or more ancient dings鼎 is often associated with power and dominion over the land. Therefore, the ding is often used as an implicit symbolism for power. The term "inquiring of the ding" (问鼎) is often used interchangeably with the quest for power. 【晉書•王敦傳】『既素有重名，又立大功於江左，專任閫外，手控強兵，群從貴顯，威權莫貳，遂欲專制朝廷，有問鼎之心。』(鼎http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ding_(vessel))
6. "先斬後奏": The privilege bestowed by the Emperor to kill/execute first and report later.大臣官員若持有皇帝御賜的粗尚方寶劍則享有先斬後奏的特權，不但代表着無上權力，也是大臣官員的殊榮。(尚方寶劍http://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-hk/%E5%B0%9A%E6%96%B9%E5%AF%B6%E5%8A%8D)
7. "狡兔死,走狗烹": Historical quote from 范蠡, who upon successfully helping Emperor 越王勾踐 to regain his empire, submitted his resignation based on the observation that "When all the birds are killed, the bow will be put down; and when the last cunning rabbit is dead, the hunting dog will end up in the pot." 西元前494年，吳王夫差為報父仇與越國在洞庭山決戰，越王勾踐大敗，僅剩5000兵卒逃入會稽山,。范蠡進諫：「屈身以事吳王，徐圖轉機。」勾踐臥薪嘗膽,夫婦在吳國為奴三年。范蠡是越國「十年生聚，十年教訓」的策劃和組織者。為了實施滅吳戰略，他與文種擬定興越滅吳九術之一的「美人計」，在薴蘿山浣紗河訪到德才貌兼備的巾幗奇女——西施，西施深明大義獻身吳王，裡應外合興越滅吳。范蠡事越王勾踐二十餘年，卒於滅吳，成就越王霸業。但范蠡認為在有功於越王之下，難以久居，「飛鳥盡，良弓藏；狡兔死，走狗烹」。他深知勾踐為人「長頸鳥喙」，可與共患難，難與同安樂，遂與西施一起泛舟齊國，變姓名為鴟夷子皮，帶領兒子和門徒在海邊結廬而居。(范蠡http://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-hk/%E8%8C%83%E8%A0%A1)
8. "僧道草石之緣": Again, I am quoting from The Dream of the Red Chamber 紅樓夢, which was originally known as The Story of the Stone 石頭記. The Story was told supposedly by a couple of travelling Buddhist monk and Taoist priest 一僧一道。In the preface (a story within a story), a sentient Stone, abandoned by the goddess Nüwa when she mended the heavens aeons ago, begs a Taoist priest and Buddhist monk to bring it with him to enjoy in the worldly world. It could have been an ordinary vacation story, except that when in heaven, the Stone (Divine Attendant-in-Waiting 神瑛侍者) kindly rescued a withering plant that was dying of thirst. Feeling eternally grateful, the sentient plant (The Crimson Pearl Fairy 絳珠仙子) has promised to repay the Stone with her earthly love and womanly tears. So once a promise is made, the universal mechanism of 因果緣份 is set in motion and the debt must be paid in full so the cycle can be completed. An otherwise ordinary vacation story is thus turned into a heart-wrenching love story with a tearful beginning, middle, and end. The main story begins with the Stone, Divine Attendant-in-Waiting, being reincarnated on earth as the main character, Jia Baoyu 賈寶玉 (賈is phonetically equivalent to "假fake", and Baoyu means "precious jade＂, a stone). The Crimson Pearl Fairy (絳珠仙子) is incarnated as Baoyu's sickly cousin, the emotional 林黛玉Lin Daiyu, who loves Baoyu. The Stone, however, is predestined in this life to marry another cousin, 薛寶釵Xue Baochai. This love triangle against the backdrop of the family's declining fortunes forms the most well-known plot line in the novel. As promised, Lin Daiyu has to repay the Stone with all the womanly tears and love she embodies during their earthly journey. Well, it is a heavenly complicated novel .... 女媧鍊石補天，剩一塊石未用。這補天頑石（通靈寶玉）經過修鍊已經有了靈性。一僧一道攜它變幻為美玉帶入塵世。適逢神瑛侍者對一株絳珠仙草有澆灌之恩，又動了凡心下凡遊歷人間。絳珠仙草後修鍊成女體，聞訊亦隨之下凡，打算把一生所有的眼淚還他。僧道二人欲了結這段公案，並將石頭（通靈寶玉）夾帶其中。元宵時節，霍啟不慎丟失了英蓮。葫蘆廟失火禍及甄家，落魄的甄士隱被一僧一道點化，解出《好了歌注》出家。窮困的賈雨村反而由貧入官。賈府是金陵四大家族之一，受有功勛，分為寧榮二府，族中最長者為賈母，最疼生來口中就含有一塊通靈寶玉（補天頑石）的孫兒賈寶玉（神瑛侍者）。賈寶玉生來不喜讀聖賢書，卻愛與青春女性玩耍，為此與其父賈政關係緊張。林黛玉（絳珠仙草）此時入居賈府。劉姥姥為了生計，也一進榮府。學堂內發生一場大混戰，賈府男子眾人，醜態盡出 ....... 。（紅樓夢http://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-hk/%E7%BA%A2%E6%A5%BC%E6%A2%A6）
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Across the street is the laundromat with the "coin wash" sign that brings back memory of my Dad. Upon seeing the sign for the 1st time after immigrating to Canada, my father asked me why Canadians liked to wash coins!! Well, he doesn't need to worry abt neither coins nor laundry now.
And not far away is the Lebanese bakery. This shop too has been at the same location for years. I love their pita-bread which are hand-made and oven-baked on-site. Oh, they smell so wonderfully good when the baker takes the fresh bread out of the oven !!
But then I remember what my HK friend Space said in his blog Mind Necessity, that small neighbourhood mom-and-pop shops are disappearing fast. The trend is true here in Ottawa too, with chain-stores opening up in the suburbs, forcing the closure of many small operators!! The two above-mentioned landmarks are the exceptions rather than the rules these days. Just like many Chinatowns in major Canadian cities, the traditional neighbourhood has undergone some major changes in both appearances and characteristics. Most Chinese now live outside of Chinatown and the vacuum is filled by SE Asians and other ethnic groups recently immigrated into Canada.
For example, the owners of Umi Cafe Mr. and Mrs. Cho are from Korea and they are relatively new to the Chinatown neighbourhood. Just like the Chinese immigrants of previous generations (not the loud, newly-rich Chinese), they work long hours, from around 8 am to 10 pm. They do all the sandwiches, baked goods, and beverages and make an honest living selling them.
As consumers, we have a choice of where to shop. Many choose to shop at big-box stores in the 'burbs' because they sell by volume and are cheaper. But for me, small local neighbourhood shops such as Umi Cafe in good old Chinatown will always get my support.
Photo credit: All photos taken by Haricot in Chinatown, Ottawa, except the old street-view picture of Umi Cafe taken by Google Earth.
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011
While you and I can quickly bounce back and pick up where we have left off, many seniors have problems remembering where they were before hospitalization. What used to be standard operating procedures have become new challenges. Routine activities have to be re-learnt and re-remembered. Weakened joints and muscles need to be re-strengthened. The mushy brain needs rejuvenation, stimulations and mental exercises.
In retrospect, I am glad I took Mom to Italy to visit K and S when she was still in her Golden Years. I mean how many seniors are like Betty White, still performing, earning an income, and out-living others?
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Fast forward to 2011. The CF-18s are approaching the end of their extended shelf-lives. But just like human resources management, we should not staff a position just because it has become vacant. The same applies when it comes to replacing the CF-18s. We need to (re)assess emerging needs and (re)define new functions in the context of our current geopolitical realities and future military theatres. For examples: What are our current and foreseeable security threats? Is aerospace hardware the best measure to mitigate these risks? If yes, what are the specs/price/options and how many? What are Canada's military obligations under NORAD, NATO, UN, etc, etc. I have no doubt we need to replace the aging CF-18s. But as voter, I am not clear as to the link btwn the proposed CF-35s (which will last 25-30 yrs) and our foreign affairs agenda (which usually last 3-5 yrs).
UPDATE: "Pentagon kills project to develop alternative engine for F-35 fighter" by The Associated Press – Mon, 25 Apr, 2011 6:06 PM EDT
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon has notified the maker of an alternative engine for the next-generation F-35 fighter aircraft that its contract has been terminated.
Work on the engine was stopped a month ago, saving $1 million a day on a project that Defence Secretary Robert Gates has called wasteful.
When Congress passed a long-delayed 2011 defence budget this month, it contained no money for the engine, and the Pentagon then made the decision to kill it. In congressional testimony Gates said the second engine would require another $3 billion to develop.
Congress and the General Electric/Rolls Royce group that was developing the engine were notified of the decision Monday.
Related Links / References:
* Wikipedia / The Cold War Peiod 1979–1985
This period of the Cold War from 1979 to 1985 was a part of the the Cold War when relations between the superpowers became cooler, arising from the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. A corresponding change in Western policy from détente to more confrontational posture against the Soviets emerged, as US President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher made clear their philosophical undertaking to counter Soviet expansionism in the developing world. There was a return to the costly arms race, with the issue of the stationing intermediate range nuclear missiles in Europe remaining unclear, and US proposals for the Strategic Defence Initiative introduced a new paradigm that threatened the equation of Mutually Assured Destruction. This phase of the Cold War ended shortly after Mikhail Gorbachev assumed leadership of the Soviet Union and demonstrated a clear commitment to reduce East-West tensions.
* Wikipedia / The Cold War period of 1985-1991
This period began with the rise of Mikhail Gorbachev as leader of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev was a revolutionary leader for the USSR, as he was the first to promote liberalization of the political landscape (Glasnost) and capitalist elements into the economy (Perestroika); prior to this, the USSR had been strictly prohibiting liberal reform and maintained an inefficient centralized economy. The USSR, facing massive economic difficulties, was also greatly interested in reducing the costly arms race with the US. U.S. President Ronald Reagan's policies of aggressive confrontation and arms buildups through much of his term prevented the USSR from cutting back its military spending as much as it might have liked. Regardless, the USSR began to crumble as liberal reforms proved difficult to handle and capitalist changes to the centralized economy were badly transitioned and caused major problems. After a series of revolutions in Soviet Bloc states, the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
* Wikipedia / ICBM Intercontinental ballistic missile
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Even before the writ was dropped and federal election called, many critics have concerns over the Conservative Govt's spending priorities in general, and the huge price tag of the jets in particular. One ex-ADM (assistant deputy minister) of DND Alan Williams was quoted as saying the actual cost could be much higher, given the expected high maintenance (specialized hi-tech parts and labours) cost of these sophisticated, state-of-the-art aircraft. News media also reported that the govt might have low-balled the price tag. According to CBC News/Powers and Politics, there is a gap of CAD$11.7 billion from two official estimates from Parliament Hill:
Conservative Government: The Government estimates that the total acquisition and maintenance cost will be approx CAD$17.6 billion over 30 years for the 65 CF-35 fighter jets
Parliamentary Budget Office: Parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page estimates in the March 10, 2011 report that the acquisition cost for the fleet is approx CAD$9.7 billion and the ongoing sustainment cost for it at $19.6 billion, for a total of CAD$29.3 billion.
The sustainment cost breaks down as follows:
Acquisition cost for the fleet: $9.7 billion
Initial logistics set-up cost: $1.7 billion; Operating and support cost: $14 billion; Overhaul and upgrade cost: $3.9 billion.
While I have a science and technology background, I have absolutely no expertise in fighter jets. But as voter, I do have a policy question:
What is the game plan with these fighter jets in the context of defending the interests/agenda of Canada, North America/NORAD, NATO, UN, and of implementing foreign affair policies of this country? In another word, why does the govt think air-power hardware is the best option to defend Canada AND Canada's interests, and to fulfil our international roles and obligations, as opposed to spending money on the navy, army, or soft-power such as diplomacy?
Please don't get me wrong. Based on my experience with DND, I have a lot of respect for the military and civilian personnel of the department. I do not doubt their loyalty and love of this country. Nor am I asking anyone to disclose any military and foreign affairs secrets. I just think that Canadian voters need to better understand the govt's need assessment of the fighter jets if they are to make informed decisions.
Just like the photo I posted here, even with the stormy clouds hanging over the DND building, there is a silver lining in all these democratic debates !!!
Sent from BlackBerry
References / related links:
* Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, Parliament of Canada: "An Estimate of the Fiscal Impact of Canada’s Proposed Acquisition of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter" (March 30, 2011 report) (Source: http://www2.parl.gc.ca/sites/pbo-dpb/documents/F-35_Cost_Estimate_EN.pdf)
* Wikipedia: Dropping the Writ
* Wikipedia: CF-35 Fighter Jet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Martin_F-35_Lightning_II
* DND / Airforces website: (source: http://www.airforce.forces.gc.ca/v2/equip/f35II/index-eng.asp )
"..... Canada’s next generation fighter jet, the F-35 Lightning II, is being produced as part of a multi-national initiative to build an affordable, sustainable, multi-role and stealthy fighter aircraft. The Canada First Defence Strategy identifies Canada’s need for a next generation fighter aircraft to protect the safety and security of Canadians, while supporting foreign policy and national security objectives. The acquisition of the F-35 helps the Canadian Forces defend against the threats of the 21st century at home, across vast distances and in harsh environmental conditions, and abroad.
The F-35, a 5th generation fighter, is less visible to radar, providing very low observable stealth, has integrated sensor fusion that provides the pilot with all available information at a glance, and high-capacity, secure net-enabled operations that allows all F-35 aircraft to communicate with each other and share data in a secure environment. The F-35 Lightning II has been developed by Lockheed Martin and partners through the Joint Strike Fighter program, a multinational effort to build and sustain an affordable, multi-role, next generation stealth fighter aircraft. Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Turkey, Denmark, Norway, and Australia are all partners in the program. Canada is acquiring the conventional take-off and landing variant.
The CF-18 Hornet, a 4th generation fighter, will remain Canada’s front line fighter until the 2020 timeframe, when it reaches the end of its life expectancy. The first F-35 is slated for delivery in 2016. The timing will allow for phase-in of the Lightning II, ensuring the Air Force can re-train its personnel and while avoiding a gap in operational capability. ....."
* CTV News: "Fact Check: How much will the F-35s really cost?"
Philip Mascoll, Special to CTV.ca, Mar. 29, 2011
One of the pry bars that allowed the Opposition parties last week to force the election was the revelation that the cost of the 65 new generation warplanes would apparently be much more than reported. The Stephen Harper government had said the F-35 warplanes - they will be called CF 35s here - will cost Canada about $9 billion to buy, at about $70 million each and about $250 million to $300 million a year to service over twenty years. However, Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page calculated that the cost would be more like $30 billion, which includes a service contract over a 30-year span.
And last year, Pentagon officials in the United States disclosed that the F-35 program has overrun its original cost estimates by more than 50 percent. A report from the Government Accountability Office to United States Senate Committee on Armed Services released in March 2010 projected the overall unit cost of an F-35A to be US$112 million in today's money.
In Canada, Parliamentary Budget Officer Page, who challenged the Harper government estimates, said that to arrive at his estimate of $29.3 billion, he used a "top-down" model that considered historical trends on the cost of aircraft and key cost drivers. Page estimates the acquisition cost for the fleet at $9.7 billion and the ongoing service cost for the 65 planes at $19.6 billion.
The government, however, said it stands by its figures. The difference in numbers prompted accusations from opposition parties that the Conservatives are being dishonest with Canadians about the fighter jet deal that was announced last summer. This in turn was one of the factors that led to the vote of no-confidence
After all three opposition parties indicated that they would not support the Conservative party budget presented on March 22, 2011, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff moved a motion of non-confidence in the government. The motion declared that the government is in contempt of Parliament over its withholding of costing information for prison construction and the F-35 purchase. All opposition parties supported the motion which triggered the 2011 federal election. The Liberals say they would cancel the memorandum of understanding and hold a new competitive bid for the plane contract if they win the election. The NDP is also opposed to the purchase, and Bloc Quebecois have said they no longer support the deal. The Liberals say the Conservatives are wasting millions of dollars on the planes. But the Conservatives say the F-35 program would benefit nearly 100 Canadian companies and support thousands of technology jobs. They say that canceling the deal would kill jobs for Canadians and that the procurement is going to bring billions of dollars in economic benefits for the aerospace industry through maintenance and other contracts. They also argue that that the F-35 is the best plane available for the Canadian Forces and scrapping the deal would not only endanger their lives, but Canadian sovereignty.
The 65 planes are eventually intended to replace the country's fleet of 138 CF-18 fighters that have seen service all over the world since 1982. There are 79 of the refurbished ones left in service. The CF 18s cost $4 billion for the 138 aircraft and a $2-billion upgrade has been completed that will extend the life of the aircraft through 2017. They were chosen in part because they were a twin-engine aircraft, which was considered essential for flying in the high Arctic and over water. The plane also won the competition for a new Canadian Forces fighter because it had what Canada needed and for less cost. In Canada, the U.S. F-18 is called the CF-18, because it is produced to Canadian specifications. According to Department of Defence documents, the CF-18 has a searchlight on the left-hand fuselage side to aid Canadian Forces pilots in night-time identification of intercepted aircraft, and a painted-on false canopy on the underside of the fuselage intended to disorient an enemy in air-to-air combat. Many of the features on the U.S. F-18 version intended to operate off aircraft carriers are included on the Canadian version. The arrestor hook, heavy duty landing gear, and the folding wings are all on the Canadian version. These features proved to be an assistance operating the CF-18s from smaller airfields, especially in the Arctic. The CF-18 has a top speed of 1,911 kilometres per hour at 40,000 feet and a range of 3,700 kilometres.
The Canadian CF-35 will differ from the American F-35A through the addition of a drag chute and a special type of refueling probe. It is a single-engine aircraft, although it will operate in similar roles to the CF-18. It has stealth capabilities, which the CF-18 does not. The top speed is 1,773 kilometres an hour at an altitude of 40,000 feet and has a range of 3,700 kilometres. The plane was developed under the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, with nine countries, including Canada, funded development. Canada has been involved in the program from its beginning, investing US$10 million to be an "informed partner" during the evaluation process. Once Lockheed Martin was selected as the main contractor for the JSF program, Canada elected to become one of the top participants. An additional US$100 million from the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) over 10 years and another $50 million from Industry Canada were dedicated in 2002, making them an early participant of the JSF program.
The plane is regarded by some military observers as the most advanced combat aircraft ever devised and would be Canada's first stealth fighter-bomber. However, critics note the F-35 has yet to enter regular service in any air force and its development program is running two years late and 50 per cent over budget. Officials from two European companies have told the Commons Defence Committee that their firms could also produce planes that would meet the strategic needs of the Canadian military. It was a previous Liberal government that signed a memorandum of understanding with Lockheed Martin to develop the fighter, though it didn't commit Canada to buying the jets. The Conservatives say their government has invested $168 million in the Joint Strike Fighter program, which has resulted in over $350 million in contracts to Canadian companies. Ten countries are participating in the F-35 development program, under which more than 3,000 of the jets are expected to be built. Canadian companies will have a chance to bid on contracts to help build the entire fleet, not just the 65 aircraft under consideration by the federal government. As of April 2010, the United States intends to buy a total of 2,443 aircraft for an estimated US$323 billion, making it the most expensive defence program in U.S. history. The United Kingdom has said it will buy 138 and Italy has said it wants 131 F-35s. The Netherlands wants 85 planes, Australia 72 or more F-35As; Denmark is considering the F-35 as a possible replacement for 48 of its aging F-16 fighters. Israel has said it intends to buy over 100 F-35A fighters at an estimated cost of over $5 billion to replace their F-16s over time. Singapore could be buying up to 100 F-35s and India, Brazil, Finland, Spain, Taiwan, Japan and the United Arab Emirates are also expressing an interest.
( Source: http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20110328/fact-check-stealth-fighters-110329/20110329?s_name=election2011 )
* The Citizen April 10, 2011 "Harper still thinks fighter jet purchase 'a good deal'"http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Harper+still+thinks+fighter+purchase+good+deal/4591796/story.html#ixzz1JApjJV8k
* The Citisen: "Canadian Public Has Been Provided With F-35 Information, Says Harper. Conservative Leader Says Stealth Fighter Purchase a "Good Deal" For Canadians" (http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/archive/2011/04/11/canadian-public-has-been-provided-with-f-35-information-says-harper-conservative-leader-says-stealth-fighter-purchase-a-quot-good-deal-quot-for-canadians.aspx)
Monday, April 11, 2011
The Federal Election will take place in less than a month. So far, there have been lots of promises (aka platforms) from politicians. Whether these pledges will be kept or not is anybody's guess. But it has not escaped un-noticed by voters that many politicians are like chameleons, they change colours.
To be fair, Canadian voters and the media must bear some responsibilities. Many ppl and interest groups are looking for promising promises and cast their votes accordingly, forcing politicians to make them up on-demand. So what if these pledges are empty and half- true, one can always change the tune later. And if power does change hand, one may conveniently put the blame on the previous regime for "leaving the cupboards empty".
In this age of photo-ops & sound-bites, woe are the politicians who don't "commit". We all remember Canada's one-time Prime Minister Kim Campbell, who, upon being asked abt her position on a certain policy, responded that more analyses were needed. She was turfed out.
Never mind abt analyses and rationality. Voters want promises !!!
Sent from BlackBerry
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Spring is the season of growth and regeneration. So it is with this feeling of optimism that I will be moving my mother out of rehab and back into her apartment. Having broken her femur and ended up living in a hospital, a convalescent residence and a rehab centre for 4 months, she is looking forward to sleeping on her own bed and cooking her own food again. More importantly, she will be able to speak Chinese with her friends, neighbours, and shopping buddies instead of feeling alienated in an English/French speaking environment.
Let there be hope !!!
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Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Photo Credit: Ottawa's Opera Lyra http://www.operalyra.ca/Related links / videos: