Friday, October 22, 2004

Seventeen Million Here, Seventeen Million There

So, Madame Dyan Adam thinks that Canada's official bilingualism program at $750 million per year and her comfy fiefdom as the Commissioner of Official Languages at $17 million per year should be exempt from a review of departmental spending. The rarefied air dans la tour d'ivoire where she lives must be getting to her.

I guess that, to her, it is absolutely essential that we divert not one penny away from such noble causes as trying the make universally accepted traffic sign graphics bilingual. I'm not sure what the difference is between a French turn arrow and an English turn arrow, and I don't recall them being any different in France the last time I was there. Of course, we simply must stop the assault on Canadian dignity and our national identity by criminals like Don Cherry. She is the Commissioner of Official Languages, not the Commissioner of Face Masks. She is Donna Quixote with imaginary windmills, and there is probably no end to the evil from which she would like to rescue us.

Official bilingualism is worthy of support where it makes sense, but Mme Adam and her office would have us believe that, without her diligence, the French language and culture will disappear. What self-serving and personally profitable rubbish!

$17,000,000 would go a long way towards supporting some activities that would have a lot more positive impact on the lives of Canadians. How about 17,000 additional CH-146 Griffon flying hours that could be used for search and rescue, fighting floods and ice storms, assisting in border patrol operations to stop smuggling, etc.?

How about a few thousand extra CP-140 Aurora flying hours, so that the CF could start doing patrols over the Arctic regions? These have decreased to next to nothing, and Danish, American, Russian and other challenges to our claims of sovereignty are increasing. For those who say so what; think about the resources that are probably beneath the ice and water in that area. Do we want other countries to reap the economic benefits therefrom? Worse yet for those whose priority is the environment; do we want other countries doing resource exploration and development with lower standards for environmental protection than Canada would practise?

How about one new MRI machine per province and territory with the money to operate them for a year?

Or, maybe we could just buy a couple of golf balls for every Canadian with the Prime Minister's name on them.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The Principles of Liberal Power

Have you noticed what a hard time Paul Martin is having these days? Gone is the dictatorial privilege of running a government with a massive majority. Liberals are only happy when they are in a position of undisputed power, and they simply can't stand the current reality. They have no idea how to make actual democracy work. It's hard to blame them, really; they haven't had to actually practice democracy for some time.

The only "principle" of Liberal politics and vision is the attainment and maintenance of power. This is abundantly clear in their pandering for votes to various segments of Canadian society. It was abundantly clear in their 2004 election campaign, built entirely on lies, fear and misrepresentation. The Deputy Prime Minister's principles were at their hypocritical best when she recently decried Ralph Klein's use of the politics of fear and misrepresentation. They pay lip service to core issues of nationhood, such as sovereignty, security and defence; while fostering warm and fuzzy social programs to keep Canadians dependent on government largesse and grateful to such a benevolent ruler.

Cabinet Ministers rise in the House and prevaricate with impunity. The Minister of National Defence tells Parliament that, since 1999, his government has allocated an additional ten billion dollars to national defence. What he doesn't say is that most of that money was injected to pay bills that had been run up by his government years before in assigning unplanned tasks to the Canadian Forces and making them take it out their hide. What he doesn't say is that his colleague, the former Minister of National Defence and now Revenue Minister, is about to rape DND of more core funding. The Minister of Public Works and Government Services tells the House that the Sea King replacement contract was won based on best value for money. I'll be kind and just say that he is ill-informed. That contract was run by the lowest-cost-compliant method, whereby the contender that costs one dollar less will win regardless of quality. If you set the bar low enough, you can get the winner that meets your political requirement of not putting the lie to the legacy of the former Prime Minister, even if it falls short of the real military requirement. Some would call that lying to the House and lying to Canadians. Others would call it Liberal principles.

It is educational to watch the Liberals in Question Period, as they have long since turned obfuscation into an art form. Watching the Member for Kings Hants pop from his seat to spring to the defence of the Prime Minister he was mercilessly slagging scant months ago is really quite pathetic. It does show that Scott Brison really is a Liberal when it comes to the principles of power. He just couldn't resist the temptation of the apple of a Parliamentary Secretary position (and future Cabinet post) in the Liberal Garden of Eden. It really is too bad when someone of Mr. Brison's obvious intelligence can so easily exchange principle for power.

It will be enlightening to see how Team Martin will handle allowing the "unclean" from the Conservatives, Bloc and NDP into their garden. So far, the PM hasn't seemed to figure out that he doesn't actually have a majority. When the leaders of the opposition parties perform in their constitutionally correct roles, he reacts by threatening an election. Smacks of his predecessor, doesn't it? There is a great opportunity here for Parliamentary Committees to do some good work. For as long as this government lasts, the Liberals will be out-numbered on committees and will be forced to negotiate and cooperate. Lester Pearson seemed to be able to make minority governments work, but then, PM is no LP as PM.

How long will it last? At least a year, one hopes, because voters are experiencing election fatigue, especially in Alberta, which will have had elections at all three levels this year (four, if you count the Senate election). There are some ticking time bombs out there and Paul Martin knows it. His personal conduct and knowledge of affairs will likely take a leading role in the Gomery report, and his government's gross negligence with respect to the Canadian Forces will, hopefully, remain an issue.

Government officials, past and present, could withhold information freely in front of a parliamentary committee, but they will have a much harder time doing that before a judicial inquiry. I don't think it's a coincidence that the Gomery Inquiry has ten times the information available to it as did the Public Accounts Committee. I don't doubt that the Prime Minister knows exactly what is in Justice Gomery's hands. I don't think for a minute that he will hesitate to engineer his government to fall at the hands of the dastardly opposition, so that he can go to the people before the whole truth comes out. He did it this year and he will do it again. The Gomery commission is due to report in December, 2005. We'll be dusting off the lawn signs before then.


Things That Go Crack

What appears to be the latest foul deed by the clearly grossly negligent and incompetent Liberals in relation to National Defence is the tail rotor cracking on the new Cormorant helicopters. Before anyone gets too excited, they should understand that this is not new or unusual, much as I'd like to blame the Liberals for everything.

In 1982, we received our first CF-18s and we were like kids with a new bike. It was the latest and the best, and we had a ball training the instructors, ground crew, and first operational squadron pilots. Eighteen months later, we began to discover cracks in the vertical stabilators and everyone was horrified. Some engineering analysis determined that the air flow over the leading edge extension (LEX) in high angle of attack flight (e.g. dogfighting) was hitting the tail in such a way to cause significant flexing. Anyone who flew the Hornet back then will remember being very "impressed" with view in the mirror of the two vertical stabs trying to kiss each other (some exaggeration, but you get the idea).

Significant restrictions were placed on the aircraft until the solution was found and applied. It turned out to be what we called the LEX fence, and was simply a small vertical plate on the LEX, which diverted the airflow in a more harmless direction. For the past twenty years, the CF has flown the Hornet with great effect in peacetime and wartime operations and the aircraft has performed superbly.

I don't know what is causing the tail rotor cracks on the Cormorant, but the Air Force has been there before. Teething problems for even good aircraft and other equipment are nothing to panic about. They just need to be addressed and, if budget constraints and lack of qualified personnel slow that process down, then there will be yet more reason to castigate the Liberals. In any case, they deserve every bit of it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

In Defence of LRPA

The following response was sent to an acquaintance who was lamenting the decline of the CF's long range patrol capability with the aging CP-140 Aurora.

Now why would I disagree with such an obviously good point? The CP-140, like the CF-18, like the CC-130, like the Sea King, like the Buffalo, like the Labrador, like the whatever else you'd care to name in any of the three elements of the CF's inventory, has been used and abused to the point of collapse. The CP-140 is a vital tool in the exercise of our whatever is left of our sovereignty. We are spending considerable money on a long-overdue weapons system, avionics and radar upgrade for 80 of our remaining approximately 120 CF-18s. It is very welcome and I have flown one with the upgraded radar earlier this year - big improvement. We will still have the same old engines, though, and we've lost one pilot this year in a survivable ejection made fatal by neglect of a required seat harness modification. In the case of the CP-140, 16 aircraft cannot do the job required. We have long since stopped doing NorPats with any frequency to see what's going on up there. With the Northwest Passage becoming more passable every year, a regular presence will be vital to any Canadian claim to the land and ice masses in the Arctic. With respect to ASW, if I were a terrorist or a druggie, I would have enough money to buy old Soviet subs and probably hire the crews. The likely numbers wouldn't justify an expensive ASW capability on its own, but maintaining a capability that's already there is a helluva lot cheaper than trying to re-generate it. The CF-18 force stopped training at low level a couple of years ago as a way to save about 12 hours per pilot per year. Aside from being very embarrassing in exercises with our allies, it is another capability that will cost aircraft and lives to re-generate at some time in the future. I grew up in the fighter era when we were re-inventing low level operations and I lost a lot of friends in the process.

Let me give you one short anecdote that will show that the stupidity with which we approach required equipment capability is not new. I was in ther New Fighter Aircraft Project Office when we were buying the CF-18 in the late 70s. At one point, the radar altimeter was an extra cost option on the aircraft. The then-DCDS was a former Commander of 1 CAG, whose comments (at from one- to three-star levels) were on many CF-104 and other fighter controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) fatal accidents, demanding that the CF-104 be modified with a radalt. Despite that, the position was taken that, if it cost a penny more than the baseline aircraft, we weren't going to include it on the CF-18. I personally did a study of all the CFIT accidents in the fighter force, showing how ridiculous this position was, to no avail. It was only when the U.S. Navy spec made the radalt baseline to the aircraft did we get such a basic capability. Lives would have been lost without it.

I have yet to drop a bomb or fire a missile from a simulator, and have it leave the building. We have become so wrapped up in reducing costs at all costs, that we now have a simulated combat capability. That may match nicely with our simulated sovereignty that we have devolved to under our simulated government, but actual Canadians and our future deserve better.

Maritime aviation forever! I can't believe I said that...................

Friday, October 15, 2004

It's Crunch Tme

Dear Members of the Defence Committee:

It is crunch time and the country will be looking to you for leadership in the wake of the undeniable evidence that the Canadian Forces (CF) has been starved of resources for decades. It truly is time to put aside political rhetoric and hyperbole for the sake of Canada's future security, sovereignty, and status in the world. Your newly appointed committee is starting to sit in deliberation of the most serious state of unpreparedness in which Canada has found itself since the late thirties. While it will still be debated, there is no useful purpose in rehashing how we got to this state and who is guilty of what. The time has come for all-party action.

The plain and simple fact is that the CF is at the lowest state of combat capability in its history, and at a time when the world has become more dangerous than at any time since World War II. To be sure, we do have some good equipment; but we don't have nearly enough, and it is poorly supported, due to lack of funding for operations and maintenance. We have a bow-wave of equipment replacement requirements that is sweeping over the deck and will quickly swamp any bailing effort. This is, in no way, an indictment of the courage, loyalty, dedication and perseverance of Canadians in uniform. They have given and continue to give much more than could reasonably be asked of anyone. They have taken on tasks made virtually impossible through lack of equipment, personnel and training and, somehow, keep pulling it off. They perform these miracles at enormous cost to themselves and their families. This can-do attitude is the CF's greatest strength, but it also lets government (Liberal and Conservative) off the hook. If we're doing so well, why do we need more money?

In the past several years, members of every element of the CF have died due to lack of equipment and/or training. We lost soldiers in Afghanistan, partly due to lack of adequate communications equipment and vehicles. We lost a fighter pilot in Cold Lake in a survivable ejection made fatal by the lack of repeatedly postponed modification to the seat harness. Although the jury will be out for some time, we now also have HMCS Chicoutimi. There are many other examples that could be quoted and argued, but, simply put, enough is enough. Every time something catastrophic happens; media, government and Canadians wring their hands in dismay and fret over what has become of us. After a couple of weeks, the fretting dies down and we get back to our normal state of somnambulism in a world where our enemies are wide awake. To think that Canada does not have enemies would be dangerously naive. They are the same enemies that face our traditional allies.

This brings in the relationship that your committee's work must have with the committee on foreign affairs. At the moment, our foreign affairs strategy is cloudy, at best. We cling to the hope that the United Nations will magically re-invent itself into what it should be. That's not going to happen. We exhort other nations to step up to the plate, while we hide in the dugout. We alienate our traditional allies and trading partners. We knee jerk from crisis to crisis in a vacuum, devoid of any national strategy. A clear vision of where we fit in the real world and where we would like to fit is essential. A coherent and logical foreign affairs strategy will lead the way to a coherent and logical defence and security strategy.

There is an enormous capability within Canada for strategic studies that would assist you in your deliberations. This capability has been largely ignored in the past because, in some circles, it was deemed to be coming from out-of-touch retired senior officers. As one of those officers, at a more junior level, I can tell you that what is offered is centuries of collective experience and wisdom from soldiers, sailors and airmen who have been "there" and who have seen first hand the effects of neglect in foreign policy, defence and security matters. Many of these officers also have decades of experience, out of uniform, in areas of current concern. The only axe that we have to grind is the one that compelled us to serve in the first place. That is the strong desire to make Canada the best and safest nation on earth, and one that is truly looked up to and respected by the rest of the world.

Canada's level of respect has slipped drastically for anyone who has taken the time to look through clear glasses. Canadians in uniform are very highly regarded for their personal qualities, knowledge and professionalism. The same cannot be said for how we are perceived by our allies, when it comes to our contribution as a nation. To be sure, we do superb work in isolated cases, such as Afghanistan. Efforts like that bring the rest of the Army to its knees; just as a combat deployment of a mere six CF-18s would bring the fighter force to its knees. Our people in exchange and co-manning positions are often embarrassed, in the presence of their host forces, at our apparent lack of national resolve and commitment. We must change that perception and the only way to do that is to change the reality.

There are many areas where an immediate infusion of money could be put to effective use. An example would be some of the equipment programs that have been lagging badly, such as strategic airlift and strategic sealift. What will be required is a sustained year-over-year increase in defence spending to make our capabilities eventually match the expectations and realities that will derive from a well-developed national strategy. In my view, this will likely take twenty years. The CF's capacity to recruit and train has been so severely debilitated that it will take a slow-starting, accelerating and determined effort to catch up. At the moment all the trainers are committed doers; and there is no one left to train the trainees. They sit around waiting; get into mischief; and eventually leave in boredom. Breaking the logjam in training and stemming the tide of early attrition should be high priorities. The expertise and experience that has walked out the door has a direct impact on combat effectiveness and safety. With cutbacks in equipment, flying hours, field training days and sailing days, the warrior spirit that is at the heart of our capability is eroded. A decreasing "quality of work" becomes a decreasing "quality of life", and the effects can be insidious and serious.

The work of recovery of the Canadian Forces will take much longer than any of you will likely sit in Parliament, but you can be a part of starting it. The more balanced makeup of your committee over previous Parliaments gives you an unique opportunity to make strong and non-partisan progress in a very difficult and critical task. I urge you most strongly to take advantage of every resource at your disposal to bring some vision, hope and solid planning to Canada's national defence and security programs. Our survival as a sovereign nation depends on it and Canadians are depending on you. Good Luck!

Sincerely,
Laurie Hawn, CD
Lieutenant-Colonel (retired)
Edmonton

Smart Border / Dumb Border

U.S. Home Security Chief Tom Ridge and our very own Minister of Public Safety, Anne McLellan, were together yesterday, extolling the virtues of the Canada-USA Smart Border Plan. Mr. Ridge waxed eloquent about how it is working so well, because terrorism suspects are turned back at the border and prevented from entering the U.S. almost every day. Ms. McLellan beamed beside him, apparently oblivious to the implication that we are, therefore, keeping them all in Canada. I know which side of this border is smart and which side is dumb.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Risk Management, Stiff Upper Lip, and the CF

In the recent controversy over the HMCS Chicoutimi, various politicians have made some pretty ill-informed comments. While this will surprise no one, they should be excused, because all but a couple have had their nearest brushes with death in service to their country on Nintendo. This is not to minimize personal tragedies that any one of them may have suffered.

Today in Question Period, the Deputy Prime Minister (Anne McLellan) and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence (Keith Martin) practiced the parliamentary art-form of never answering a question. It started with a question from Stephen Harper about whether Canada knew that the Brits were offering us the Upholder-class boats on a "buyer beware" basis. Anne McLellan, as is her habit, completely ignored the question and gave a stock Liberal answer. Stephen Harper followed with a question about a documented $54 million reduction in the submarine programme funding, that affected personnel training. Once again, Ms. McLellan made reference to the boats being ready, but ignored the question about crew training. Several other questions for Keith Martin about training being short-changed were met with similar non-answers.

Keith Martin did say that the Liberal government is committed to giving the CF the tools to do the job. What complete bovine scatology! He also said that no one in the CF is sent out into harm's way nor do they have their lives put at risk. Excuse me, Dr. Martin, but that is exactly what they do for a living.

They do it well and they do it proudly and, for the most part, they do it safely. What McLellan, Martin, etal don't understand is that the operations of the CF entail continuous risk assessment and risk management. Every time an individual soldier, sailor or airman performs a task, he or she is assessing the risk attached and is making a decision to proceed or not. Every time a commander assigns a mission, risk assessment and risk management are a critical part of the decision process. In peacetime, acceptable risk is much lower than in wartime, but there is always risk. All three elements of the CF have exceptional safety records, albeit with the occasional and inevitable lapse.

Besides having good equipment that is well supported, the most essential element in reducing risk is training. It is also the element that is easily allowed to slip. Training and training requirements have slipped in all three elements to an alarming level. Stocks of weapons and ammunition for qualification and training have slipped to well below critical levels. Qualification requirements don't necessarily entail hitting anything (except, eventually, the world); merely be able to drop it, fire it or throw it a (very) few times. Flying hours, sailing days and field training (especially large units) have been slashed to the point that low "quality of work" is adversely affecting our cherished "quality of life" mantra. There is simply no buffer left where experience gained through training can help to ensure survival as missions get more and more complex and dangerous. Risk management is now done on a razor's edge.

A commander can respond to reduced training availability by taking the full steam ahead approach, or by reducing the intensity of activity and, with it, the risk. Any peacetime commander would take the latter approach. Has it affected our operational readiness and combat capability? You bet it has, and the folks at the pointy end will tell you that freely. They still take great and well-deserved pride in what they do and how they do it. They are dying to do more and, regrettably, there may be the occasional pun in that statement. You won't hear them complain in public, because they are loyal to the Service, and that is the way it should be. That loyalty does have limits, though, and the real indicator is how many are expressing their views with their feet. Commanders at all levels must also exercise discretion in expressing what they truly feel, and I know enough of them to know that there is a lot of restrained disgust out there.

It is this stiff upper lip approach that is, at once, the CF's greatest strength and one of its greatest handicaps. Failure is not in their dictionary and people will go to extraordinary lengths to get the job done. When they perform one of their regular miracles, it allows politicians to bask in the glow and pretend that government was part of the mission's success. It also allows government to pretend that all is well and that the CF is being properly looked after. What a load of crap! Every success of the CF for the past forty years has been in spite of the disgraceful negligence and dereliction of successive governments. Will it ever change? Not unless the government is changed.

Let me put the punctuation on government attitude with an observation from an MP during Question Period the other day. When Conservative Defence Critic, Gordon O'Connor, rose to ask a question shortly after the death of Lt. Saunders was announced, the President of the Treasury Board, Reg Alcock, started laughing. I would suggest to the Honourable Member that he may want to hike off to Halifax tomorrow for Lt Saunders' funeral. I'm sure that he will find the part where Mrs. Saunders accepts the flag from her husband's coffin particularly amusing.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Who Pays the Price?

Who pays the price when government fails? That depends on the failure and how it is perceived. If government fails the people, and the people understand it, government MPs pay the price with the loss of their jobs and the government pays with the loss of power. If the people don't understand the failure or that it affects them, then the government gets away with it and someone else pays.

For decades, Liberal governments have been failing the people, with catastrophic long-term implications. Like many things in the warm and cozy Canadian imagination, this failure hasn't hit home, yet, except to a relatively small group of people directly affected. It probably won't hit home nationally, until it is too late, and our warm and cozy imagination is shaken into reality. That reality is that Canada is no longer looked upon as a reliable ally. We are no longer looked upon as a country that will back up words with actions. We are systematically eliminating our ability to turn words into action. In the meantime, the government deludes itself and Canadians that we are what we used to be. In an effort to maintain that delusion, government commits loyal and brave Canadians to missions and roles without the tools to carry them out safely and completely.

Who pays the price for our national delusion? Most recently, Naval Lieutenant Chris Saunders and his family pay for our delusion. There will be much written and said over the coming weeks on this tragedy at sea. There will be a thorough investigation by a safety board and it will conclude that this was an accident. They will make an assessment of how the situation was handled, and my guess is that the crew will be praised for their response. Without knowing the details, I feel pretty safe in that prediction. This is based on an appreciation of the quality and competence of the people in the various uniforms of the Canadian Forces. My guess is that the report will say that the technical failure was not foreseeable and, therefore, not preventable. I will have a little more trouble with that one, in the broader context of government defence policy implementation.

The progressively more disastrous under-funding of the Canadian Forces is a legacy of decades of (primarily) Liberal governments, starting with Trudeau. This under-funding has reached new lows in the past eleven years, despite Liberal smoke and mirrors and minor injections of cash; and then only when the government has absolutely no other option. The great debate will centre around whether the used British subs were a good deal and whether we need submarines, at all.

First, the issue of submarines, at all. I don't profess to be an expert on naval operations and warfare, but I have an opinion. Canada is a maritime nation with an extremely long coastline and claims over vast areas like the arctic archipelago as far as the north pole. If Canada intends to claim sovereignty over such a vast coastline and mass of land and ice (and the resources thereunder), we must be able to exercise that sovereignty and project our presence in the area. That can be done by air, land and sea forces with varying degrees of effectiveness and difficulty. With climate change, access to the northern passages will become easier and challenges to our claims of sovereignty will increase. We have already seen that with Denmark. Both surface and sub-surface surveillance in this area should be one of the key roles of the Canadian Navy. One is overt and one is covert; and covert surveillance could be key in addressing issues in an international court. Covert surveillance is also an important capability under the threat of terrorism and the war on drugs. Canada should feel a commitment to assist the United States in the sub-surface monitoring of the approaches to North America, and the destruction of imminent threats. And, does anyone think that the serious druggies couldn't afford a couple of old Soviet submarines on the black market and hire crews desperate for a paycheque?

Second, on the issue of the British Upholder Class submarines - you get what you pay for. Even the British press is outraged at what their Ministry of Defence has done to us, but I think that their outrage is misplaced. Caveat emptor would be more apropos, and when the emptor is desperate, mistakes are made. The Royal Navy never put these boats into active service and the Australians took one look on the used sub-lot and passed. There was probably a message there. The desperate state of naval procurement, no doubt, impelled the military to grasp at a straw. With their justified faith in the quality and competence of their personnel, I'm sure that the Navy and "purple" staffs felt that they could make it work. They may have been wrong.

In the National Post today, Sheila Copps bleats that this was not the government's fault, but that any blame rests with the Navy. I would ask Ms. Copps that, if she were drowning, would she accept being thrown a cracked life preserver or no life preserver, at all. She wouldn't answer such a rhetorical question because she, like the current Liberal government, is a hypocrite. I caught the CTV item on her stage-acting debut last night. It was pretty tough to watch, but the conclusion was that she is as bad an actress on stage as she was in Parliament.

Let me finish by asking the question again. Who pays the price when government fails? We all do, but we all owe a debt of gratitude, that can never be adequately repaid, to the men and women and families of the Canadian Forces who pay the direct price on our behalf.

I know that he was talking about a different time and a different service, but in summary, Winston Churchill's words ring true today - "Never......was so much owed by so many to so few."

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Down to the Sea in Ships

It's a sad day aboard HMCS Chicoutimi, in Halifax, and in all of Canada. There is nothing worse in the life of an army unit, air force squadron, or ship than losing a mate. I've been there many times as a mate and, thankfully, only once as a commander. It sucks beyond belief, and my worst moment was giving the widow of a fighter pilot the flag from his coffin.....on her birthday.

Today, Canada mourns the loss of Lieutenant (N) Chris Saunders and prays for the safe return of his ship and the rest of its crew. There will be much written and said about the Upholder Class submarines; and much of it will be emotional. There will be much criticism of the Liberal government and its negligence and irresponsibility; and it will be justified. And nothing will change. Rather than get into that now, I'd just like to offer the following passage in memory of a loyal serviceman who made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf.

"They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven."
Psalms, 107:23-30, KJV

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

IntroBlog

Hello out there in BlogLand. I had thought that blogs were British footwear, but have now been freed from the bonds of Luddism. As many of you know, I have maintained an expanding Rant List, that I have used to express opinions and to share my occasional poking of grownups in the eyes with sharp sticks. Encouragement for poking grownups in the eye eventually lead to taking on the Deputy Prime Minister in the latest federal election. It was close, but no cigar; but an incredibly positive experience, regardless of the outcome. As Anne McLellan said to me later that night, "I have a feeling that I'll be seeing you again." I told her that I had a feeling that she was right.

Most of my issues are federal, but there is no lack of suitable blogees everywhere. Having listened yesterday to the Speech from the Throne, I would re-name it the Thrown Speech. The Prime Minister, moving the GG's lips, threw out the same old platitudes and Liberal-speak for maintaining the status quo. That status quo equates to several main themes -- maintaining power at all costs -- succumbing to politically correct and feel-good fuzzy whims of the left -- maintaining Canada's position as a hanger-on in foreign affairs, defence, and security matters -- maintaining a justice system that is focused on the rights of the criminal -- maintaining dependency on government for large segments of our population -- pouring endless amounts of money into healthcare instead of reforming it -- ad nauseum. Paul Martin threw away a chance to show courage and leadership, to the surprise of absolutely no one.

While many issues matter to me, my most prominent passion is defence issues and the utterly disgusting Liberal record in decimating that once proud institution. Canadians in uniform are still justifiably proud of what they do and who they are. Just this moment, I heard Paul Martin say that, "There are so many instruments of war in the world; let Canada continue to be an instrument of peace." It doesn't get much more hypocritical than that. He and his predecessors have systematically destroyed the instrument that would allow Canada to play that role. I do not believe that the Prime Minister is not intelligent enough to realize that what he is saying is blatantly false. I do believe that his priorities and those of his government are grossly misplaced and that the only way that we will change government priorities is to change government.

And as I listen right now, the Liberal seals are all on their feet clapping their flippers wildly at their leader's stirring flood of Parliamentary pap ........ pathetic! Why the heck would anyone want to work there? I do!