The Canadian defence establishment wants to spend up to $4.6-billion to buy 17 new C-130J Hercules transport aircraft from Lockheed Martin. One of Lockheed's competitors, Airbus Military, wants the Canadian government to buy its new plane, the A400M. As I report tonight, the favourite, Lockheed, as well as the process chosen by the government, is coming under a bit of fire.
“…Underneath the billion-dollar battle between Lockheed and Airbus is a tangled web of professional and personal relationships in Ottawa's political and lobbyist community.
For example, before he became Canada's top soldier, Hillier was on the staff of General Patrick O'Donnell. O'Donnell retired to head up a consultancy, CFN Consultants, and is now the registered lobbyist for Lockheed Martin. The firm Hill and Knowlton is the registered lobbyist for Airbus. It's chief executive is Michael Coates, who worked on the last two Conservative election campaigns, including coaching Prime Minister Harper for the leaders' debates. Gordon O'Connor, before entering politics, worked as a lobbyist at Hill and Knowlton and one of his clients was Airbus.
Both Hillier and O'Connor have scrupulously avoided even mentioning either aircraft by name in public for at least the last six months for fear there may be any accusations of conflicts-of-interest…”
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