Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his cronies are trying to downplay the F-35 fighter-jet scandal.
It's a bit tough to swallow when you compare it with other financial boondoggles in recent history.
As has been widely reported, the auditor general revealed that the Conservative government lowballed by $10 billion the cost of buying and operating 65 of these planes over 20 years.
To put this in perspective, here are the costs associated with other major political controversies in recent history:
• Montreal's Olympic cost overrun in 1976: $1.5 billion.
• The cost of Air Canada purchasing 34 Airbus planes in 1988 in a sale arranged with the help of lobbyist Karlheinz Schreiber: $1.8 billion.
• The difference between the initial cost and final price tag of B.C.'s fast ferries, which were ordered by Glen Clark in 1994: $250 million.
• The difference between the initial cost and final price tag of Vancouver's new convention centre, which was ordered by Gordon Campbell in 2003: $388 million.
• Then-auditor general Sheila Fraser's 2004 estimate of the amount paid to communications and advertising companies on the federal sponsorship program: $100 million.
The Conservatives' $10-billion jet-fighter whopper sets a new standard.
Normally, this is the type of thing that causes members of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation to set their hair on fire.
But apart from one news release—which doesn't include the names of Harper or Defence Minister Peter MacKay—the taxpayers federation hasn't exactly been in the media's face about this scandal.
We're sure it has nothing to do with the following connections between the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and the Conservative government:
• Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is a former CEO of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
• Conservative MP John Williamson is a former national director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
• Stephen Harper's former press secretary, Sara McIntyre, is a former B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
• Canadian Taxpayers Federation federal/Ontario director Gregory Thomas used to work for cabinet ministers in Brian Mulroney's Progressive Conservative government.
To claim that the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has a double standard when it comes to Conservative politicians would be to suggest that this fine organization has a political bias. Banish this thought from your head immediately!
Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.