Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Leadership

Dear Prime Minister,

A disaster of unprecedented proportions has just occurred. Canada is in a position to show leadership and respond very strongly in support of those affected. That leadership should start from your office.

The Canadian Forces has the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) on standby, but the call isn't coming. This team of 200 personnel is specifically configured and mandated to assist in situations like what is occurring around the Indian Ocean. They are sitting idly by, while other nations and other Non-Governmental Organizations are taking the lead. The $4 million that Minister Graham announced is a drop in the bucket, and we should be providing hands-on assistance, as well as a lot more money. To be sure, Canadians are responding individually, but leadership at a higher level seems to be missing.

The excuse that deploying DART would cost money that could be better utilized by on-site national agencies is only partly true. The cost figures quoted, when government is trying to justify inaction, include things like salaries and other fixed costs that will be paid whether DART deploys or not. The real reason that we are in our now-customary role of dithering is much more fundamental. We simply can't get there from here, because that capability has been allowed to wither, and it would be another international embarrassment to show how weak we have really become.

Our strategic airlift capability is virtually non-existent. Our fleet of 32 C-130 Hercules, which are not even strategic airlifters, can muster only 6 - 8 serviceable aircraft on most days. It would take several dozen C-130 chalks to deploy DART, depending on the destination. We have been embarrassed in the past, when even small-scale deployments have been aborted due to lack of serviceable aircraft.

Our strategic sealift capability consists of two supply ships, overdue for replacement, and several smaller warships, not designed for the task of personnel, equipment and supply transport. All are over-committed, in any event, and are not available to respond in a timely manner.

Your government continues to pretend to support the requirements of the Canadian Forces. At times like this, the truth will out, and we are again embarrassed on the world stage. The many Canadians who are working and contributing selflessly in response to this disaster (and others) have nothing to be embarrassed about. I can't say the same for our nation, as a whole, and the buck stops at the PMO. Sir, you can fix this, in playing a larger role in the current crisis and in being able to respond more appropriately in the future.

If it's not possible to get DART to where they're needed today on Canadian Forces aircraft, find a way to get them there on someone else's. I suspect that most readily available aircraft are already being hired, but we should try. The deployment of DART, and a lot more money, would demonstrate some national leadership and will that used to be our hallmark, and which we have lost.

Please stop pretending and actually fund the Canadian Forces requirements in the areas of strategic airlift and strategic sealift. This will take several years but, like so many overdue programs, they simply have to start immediately. You may recall that a previous Minister of National Defence, John McCallum, quietly cancelled the strategic airlift program. I doubt that he did that alone. You may also recall that potential new strategic sealift assets were misrepresented as traditional aircraft carriers during the last federal election. I understand the politics of that, but it is counter-productive to what should be our national objectives.

Also, please have someone look at an out-of-the-box supplementary solution of agreements with airlines and shipping companies to treat their equipment and crews as national assets in times of emergency. They could be under contract to National Defence or Foreign Affairs on a cost-recovery basis and fill in gaps that cannot be covered by National Defence capability.

Prime Minister, at times like this, the world should be able to look to Canada for leadership, and we should be able to look to you. Please don't let us down.

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

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

We just can't get there from here.

December 26th will forever have new meaning to several countries bordering the Indian Ocean, after the devastation wrought by the undersea earthquake and resulting tsunami. The tens of thousands of dead and missing and their surviving families need all the support that the rest of the world can muster. The United States, Great Britain, Australia, and others stepped up immediately to offer financial and, more importantly, human assistance. Canada stepped up with $1 million in pocket change, later upped to $4 million.

What the devastated area really needs is our capability to deal with such emergencies with direct medical aid and other life saving requirements, such as potable water. We have that capability standing by in the Canadian Forces Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), but we just can't get there from here. The reason for that is that we have lost our capability to deploy such an asset by sea or air in a timely manner.

Our strategic sealift capability consists of two overtasked supply ships, in need of replacement, and smaller-sized and equally overtasked warships, not designed to haul equipment and supplies. With the Navy's shortage of personnel and existing deployments of ships, timeliness would be a major handicap in addressing the short-term requirements.

The capability of the Air Force to reliably deploy in an emergency situation has gone the way of the serviceability of our C-130 Hercules fleet, that is straight downhill with age and overuse. We will use what Hercs and Airbuses are available to send equipment and supplies, but it will be on a catch-as-catch-can basis. To commit to sending DART would require a carefully planned operation and a large number of serviceable C-130s to conduct it in a timely manner. The emergency operational planning is a no-brainer for the tremendously capable people we have in uniform. The expectation of a large number of C-130 missions without embarrassing breakdowns is another question. We've been there before and that just might be the real reason behind the slow/non-existent response with DART. We don't want to risk looking like the international weaklings that we have become.

When he was Minister of National Defence, John McCallum quietly cancelled the Air Force's Strategic Airlift Replacement Program, which would have resulted in an aircraft like the Boeing C-17 being available. The Honourable Mr. McCallum then misled his successor as MND on the capabilities of the
C-130 to transport heavy equipment, such as the new Stryker combat vehicle. A C-130 can take one disassembled Stryker, and nothing else, a total of 700 nautical miles, i.e. Edmonton to Kenora. In a direct comparison of moving stuff, one C-17 is the equivalent of eighteen C-130s in deploying Strykers from Edmonton to Kabul, and that is assuming that both aircraft remain serviceable for the entire mission. Similar comparisons are obvious for moving DART to the Indian Ocean or other emergency requirements.

This is just another example of our deeds not matching our words, and Canada letting down the side. This does not denigrate, in any way, the selflessness and generosity of Canadians who are doing all that they can to help. It does denigrate our government's apparent lack of ability to acknowledge and react to real-world priorities. There are two solutions to this current situation of not having an ability to react in a meaningful way to urgent world situations.

Firstly, the government needs to quit pretending to support the missions of the Canadian Forces and get on with implementing strategic airlift and strategic sealift programs. Aircraft like the readily available C-17 and ships like the proposed large supply ships capable of carrying personnel, supplies, equipment, medical facilities, helicopters, and command and control capability, would fit the bill. These programs will not help in the current emergency but, if we don't start, then we'll never get there from here.

Secondly, the government needs to get outside the box and look at programs that are in place in other countries, such as the United States and Great Britain. We need agreements whereby civilian airlift and sealift capability can be considered national assets, in the event of an emergency. Available aircraft, ships and crews could be put under contract to the Department of National Defence and/or the Department of Foreign Affairs, and used as a second-wave response to a national or international emergency. The first responders would always be the (properly manned and equipped) Canadian Forces, but situations like the current disaster will not be short-term, and more capability will be needed.

I believe that the Prime Minister may know someone in the shipping business, and I believe that Robert Milton may have the odd IOU outstanding. Are they paying attention and do they care?

Friday, December 24, 2004

Politics Makes Strange Bed(ouin) Fellows

So, Muammar Gaddafi is no longer a terrorist, and he is no longer pursuing the development of weapons of mass destruction. I guess that a trip to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize can't be far behind for the tyrant from Tripoli. Don't get me wrong. Anything that we can do to bring to heel such dictators and murderers is a good thing. I just want to inject a word of caution. Despite probably being a basically good breed, some pit bulls are trained to kill and it never leaves them. I think that human nature is basically good; but there are individual members of the human race who are habituated to violence.

Yasser Arafat lived his life as a terrorist and he died a terrorist. His brief flirtation with legitimacy and the folks in Oslo didn't change the ultimate course of his life. Is the Libyan Colonel of International Crime any different? Maybe, but I doubt it.

Paul Martin gleefully breaking pitas in a tent with his new best friend says more about securing a billion dollar contract for SNC Lavalin than it does about ending Libyan support to terrorism. Muammar needs the West's support for his new focus on becoming the pre-eminent leader of his continent. The West needs his oil and the contracts for SNC Lavalin, etal, which go with it.

I don't have a problem with international business and looking after our energy needs, while we work towards self-sufficiency in that area. Let's just do it with our eyes open. Promises to look into general or specific areas of human rights abuses are easy to give. The Prime Minister and Pierre Pettigrew are not suddenly masters of international human rights negotiations because Muammar and his officials give them a "yeah, sure, whatever" when they raise the issue.

Should they try? Of course, they should. They should also note that the Iraqi embassy in Tripoli is Ba'ath Party Headquarters-in-exile, from which they continue to fund and direct the terrorists operating in Iraq today. Muammar the Peaceful has granted to a career Saddam thug, Anwar Mawlud Dhiban, political asylum and unhindered use of the embassy. Dhiban is ably assisted by Abdul Aziz Al Najm, the Tripoli head of that great charity organization, Hamas.

Should we trust Gaddafi? At the very least, we should draw on some advice from Ronald Reagan, when asked abut trusting the Soviet Union's word - "Trust, but verify."

And, SNC Lavalin? For the ten years between 1994 and 2003, they contributed $454,736 to the Liberal Party of Canada. Before you ask, I'll add that, during the same period, SNC Lavalin contributed $102,018 to the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and $10,120 to the Reform Party of Canada and the Canadian Alliance Party.

I hope that the Prime Minister enjoys his Christmas (yeah, I said CHRISTMAS) in whatever other tents he visits, at our expense. I really do, just as I hope that everyone can find something to celebrate at this time of year.


Saturday, December 11, 2004

Snowbird Sorrow

Canada has lost another hero and the Snowbird family and the Canadian Forces are in mourning. Captain Miles Selby had served his country faithfully and fearlessly for thirteen years; saw combat over Kosovo; and was part of what is Canada's best ambassador to the world - the Canadian Forces Snowbirds.

It is at times like this that some people like to rush to judgment. There is no question that the Canadian Forces is in very serious trouble due to government neglect and negligence that approach criminal levels. To simply call for the Snowbirds' disbandment because of an accident shows a deep lack of understanding of the value and importance of this Canadian icon.

For thirty-two years, the Snowbirds have thrilled millions of spectators at airshows around North America. They have become just about the most recognized symbol of Canada and, along with the RCMP Musical Ride and the Canadian Forces Skyhawks, they are much better ambassadors for our country than any politician from any party could ever be. I'd be hard pressed to lose money in saying that more Americans have heard of the Snowbirds than have ever heard of Paul Martin or anyone else in Ottawa.

I have known many, many Snowbirds over the years and have had two trips with the team during practices, one on Canada Day over Parliament Hill. Having organized several airshows; having seen the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, USAF Thunderbirds, RAF Red Arrows, Patrouille de France, the Russian Knights, many non-jet teams, and having flown with the Italian Frecce Tricolore; there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the Snowbirds are at the top of the ladder. That doesn't mean that they have the most spectacular aircraft or the flashiest "side-show". It means that, in the air and on the ground, they are consummately professional and precise, and engender nothing but pride in the hearts of any Canadian who is around them. Their professionalism is matched by their easy-going and fun-loving attitude, in contrast to some of their more anal contemporaries. Airshows are simply better with the Snowbirds than with any other team.

Accidents happen and they are a part of doing the business of military aviation. Instead of jumping to a convenient conclusion for political reasons, let's look at ways to continue the great contribution that the Snowbirds make to military aviation, recruitment, and Canada's image with the public, at home and abroad.

I have advocated in the past that the Snowbirds are much more than an Air Force Squadron. For reasons I have already alluded to, they are a national program and a national treasure. As such, they should be financially supported by more than the Department of National Defence.

The Snowbirds represent a lot more Canadian Heritage than many of the things that we waste taxpayers' money on today. I think that more Canadians would go to watch an airshow than would trek into the forests of Manitoba to view a work of art paid for by you and me and called "A Salute to Putrefaction", consisting of dead rabbits hanging to rot from tree branches. I think that more Canadians would rather get a ticket to an airshow in the mail than a small Canadian flag from Sheila Copps, the rabbit lady. Two pieces of art hanging in the National Gallery are particularly "marvelous". One is a very large canvas that is all black. It is called, duh, "Shades of Black", and the other is a very large canvas with two large red and one large blue stripes (or the other way around). I'm not sure what that one is called, but "Thanks, Suckers" would be appropriate.

Other departments should be financially involved. Health has used the Snowbirds in some of their children's play-safe programs. Industry and Trade should be using the Snowbirds to promote Canadian industry. Foreign Affairs should be taking advantage of the Team's ambassadorial qualities.

The Tutor is getting long in the tooth, as is so much of the CF's inventory. I think it's safe to say that the age of the Tutor had nothing to do with yesterday's accident. It is a reliable aircraft, that is well maintained, and it is very well suited to its role with the Snowbirds. That is not to say that it shouldn't be replaced. Because the CF does not use it for pilot training any more, fewer and fewer future Snowbird pilots will have flown the aircraft, and fewer and fewer technicians will have worked on it. This presents challenges that can be safely overcome, but they are challenges, nonetheless.

The ideal replacement for the Tutor would be the BAe Hawk, being used as the CF's advanced jet trainer. It is also used by the RAF Red Arrows. It would probably mean reducing the team to six aircraft from nine, due to cost considerations, but the Hawk would better represent the CF's current programs and Canada's current state of industry and technology. Critics will say that the aircraft does not represent Canada, since it's built in the U.K., and that is true. It still represents the level at which the CF is operating and the strength of our commitment to free world military pilot training.

The alternative would be the Harvard II, and that would probably allow the team to continue as a nine-plane. Unfortunately, the show would be far less impressive and would put us in the same league as many third-world air forces. That may be a regrettably true statement of affairs, but I'm not ready to go there, yet.

Whichever option might be chosen, an "outside the box" aircraft leasing, maintenance support, and operational funding arrangement would be required. Rather than throw up their hands, politicians on all sides should be focusing on a positive solution that moves the yardsticks ahead and doesn't simply burn them.

All of the above is moot, at the moment, and we should pause to remember a fallen comrade. Captain Selby is the latest in a long list of men and women who have died in their service to Canada. Here's a nickel on the grass to you, my friend. Per Ardua Ad Astra.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

And, they are surprised, why?

The Senate Committee on National Defence and Security was apparently shocked to learn, from Vice Admiral Ron Buck, that a Liberal election promise to increase the Regular Force by 5,000 and the Reserves by 3,000 will take at least five years. And then, only if there is a significant increase in defence spending.

With the greatest of respect to the House of Sober Second Thought, which planet have they been on for the past forty years? You cannot cut the heart out of the defence budget and increase tasking, and not pay the price. One of the prices is that the CF has no, repeat, no capability to grow in anything resembling the short-term. I, and many others, have repeatedly said that it will take twenty years to restore the CF to what should be expected, and that can only happen if we start doing the right thing today.

The capability to recruit and train has been stripped away, because all the recruiters and trainers have been required to be doers. The more the doers are forced to do, the more decide to move on so that they and their families may have something resembling a life. The more doers that move on, the more recruiters and trainers are turned into doers. The fewer recruiters and trainers we have, the longer it takes for new members to be recruited and trained, and the more give up in disgust and impatience on a military career. And, I haven’t even talked about capital acquisition programs that are long, long overdue and can’t find the people or the money required to progress.

This spiral has been spinning out of control for many years and it doesn’t take one of Don Cherry’s rocket surgeons to figure out where it leads. It leads to where we are today. The CF is flat on its butt and the only thing keeping it going is the incredible quality, dedication and can-do attitude of its members, from the buck-privates to the Admiral Bucks.

We have collectively let them down; and, by doing that, we have let Canada down; and by doing that; we have let our allies down; and by doing that, we have let the World down. Everyone in that chain of let-down deserves better.

Much Ado About Much Ado

Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) has taken center stage for the “everything associated with George Bush is bad” crowd. Their furious tilting at the BMD windmill seems to render them incapable of grasping some simple facts.

Great concern is being expressed about the future weaponization of space. Rightly or wrongly, space became weaponized on October 4th, 1957 when Sputnik 1 was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. BMD, per se, is not about weaponization; it is about protection. The Russians aren’t particularly fussed about it and the U.S. has offered to share defensive technology with other countries. What weaponization that may or may not follow is completely beyond our control, in any event.

Socialists decry the waste of money; and it is a lot of money, to be sure. The point is that it is their money and the American people seem to have given George Bush the mandate to spend it.

Many express concern about a new arms race. Did NORAD start a new arms race in 1958, just because it was a new capability put in place to counter the perceived threat? Sure, we were simply talking about airplanes that had been around for about fifty years or so, give or take. Now we’re talking about space that has had its domain entered for the past fifty years or so, give or take. In case some of those folks haven’t noticed, there are regimes out there that could care less about western liberal humanitarian values. Some may also have noticed that Vladimir Putin has never really given up on the dreams of the Soviet Empire. My recollection of the Cold War (Which was really World War III and we won; thank you, Ronald Reagan.) is that we were probably safer under the Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) concept than we are today. Both super-powers kept their subordinates in check.

“Brilliant” scientists piously proclaim that the bullet-versus-bullet technology will never work. I attended a noontime CBC forum in Edmonton Centre at the base of our office tower last week. The topic was BMD and, as one might imagine, the CBC crowd was pretty hostile towards the concept. Speaking for Canada’s involvement was an extremely articulate young lady, named Mercedes Stevenson (sp?), and speaking against was Mel Hurtig, who needs no introduction. Mercedes stood up to Mel and the mob extremely well and stuck to facts and logic, as opposed to Hurtig’s hysterical hyperbole. Hurtig kept trotting out his “brilliant” scientists as proof-positive that BMD would never work.

I got into the question line and was just about the only one who didn’t lecture Mercedes as if she were George Bush himself and every other devil incarnate that they could conjure up. I pointed out to Mr. Hurtig that the definition of a “brilliant” scientist seemed to be one with whom you agreed ideologically, and asked him why Mercedes’ scientists were any less brilliant, just because they gave him the “wrong” answer. I got my expected response, which was a frothy fluffing of his notebook at me, and the obvious-to-him explanation that it was because he was Mel Hurtig and I was not.

I then asked for a purely scientific answer to an obvious and simple question. Given that so many things that are accepted as commonplace today have been deemed as impossible by “brilliant” scientists over the centuries, how can anyone say that anything will never work? There really is only one answer to this, but more frothing at the mouth and fluffing up his notes made it clear that Mr. Hurtig is anything but a scientist. I suspect that he may be related to those famous flat-earth chappies of centuries past.

One of Hurtig’s “brilliant” scientists, Ted Postol, has made the point that any debris from missiles shot down could land in Canada. This is the same Ted Postol who said that the technology would never work. Which is it, Ted? Apparently, Postol’s “brilliant” scientific mind can’t visualize what happens when two objects collide at 25,000 knots. Makes “hair on fire” and “corn flakes” kind of relative, doesn’t it? And, what did he think was going to happen to the Russian Bears that would have fallen to the mighty arrows from Clunks, Voodoos and Hornets?

George Bush has manoeuvred Paul Martin into a very uncomfortable corner. None of us knows exactly what is being proposed as Canada’s involvement, but it’s probably not much more than other than simple political acquiescence. In any event, our involvement is happening as we speak, under agreements already in place. Paul Martin is so afraid of an ill-informed public whipped into hysteria by the anti-Bush forces that he seems to be paralyzed. His cataplectic mutterings about our control over our own airspace are pathetic and totally misleading. He and his predecessors gave up the capability to control our own airspace, except for specific periods at a low level of participation. Any control that we do have is vested in our participation in NORAD.

BMD is going to happen no matter what we decide. The world is not looking for leadership from Canada on this, or any other issue, because we have made ourselves increasingly irrelevant, with our deeds not matching our words. Several countries have already signed on in support of BMD, such as Great Britain, Denmark (Greenland) and Australia; and they’re not even under the shield.

All we will accomplish by saying no is to be shut out of parts of NORAD; lose yet more input into our own sovereignty; show ourselves to be an unreliable ally and friend; further alienate isolationist and protectionist forces in our biggest trading partner; and succumb to pressures from those who promote weakness as the path to security and prosperity.

I know where my vote lies.

Friday, December 03, 2004

With what and with whom, Prime Minister?

Dear Prime Minister,

At your fund raiser in Toronto last night, you said that "We don't need the Americans to come up here and protect us; we can provide our own sovereignty". My question to you, sir, is with what and with whom do we provide for our own protection?

Your remarks are understandable in the wake of the pressure that you must feel to make some decisions following the comments made by President Bush in Ottawa and Halifax. You have been put on the defensive by your government's lack of commitment to action the requirements of sovereignty, rather than just talking about it. This goes hand-in-hand with your comments at the UN about the "responsibility to protect". Regrettably, these words rang hollow to the few UN members in attendance, because Canada has done precious little, relative to our capacity, to carry out that responsibility. The admirable work that Canada has done has been on the strong backs of our over-stretched military and their long-suffering families.

Our sovereignty in the north, and elsewhere, is under attack. Right now, it's relatively subtle and being carried out by a number of nations, such as Denmark, Russia and the U.S. The number of Russian "cruise" ships visiting strategic northern ports, such as Inuvik and Iqaluit, with specific timing, should be of interest. If we don't do something, and soon, to show that we are serious about what we claim to be ours, we will lose it. The Air Force, Army and Navy have the desire, courage and dedication, but lack the personnel, equipment and operational budget, to do the job. It will take many years to restore the required capability, and the clock is ticking faster and faster.

With respect to sovereignty, your primary responsibility to protect begins at home. President Bush certainly understands that, and he has a clear vision of North American security requirements. There is no doubt that his commitment is to the U.S.A., as it should be, but we would be foolish and naive if we didn't understand the implications for Canada. The most serious general implication is that, if we don't actually exercise our own sovereignty, the U.S. will do it for us. At least we will still have it in friendly hands, in that case. If the U.S. doesn't do it for us, we may really not like who fills the void. Words won't do it, sir, and you have the power to turn words into action.

That action will take place at budget time. Recycling old commitments of cash, such as the Sea King replacement, and pretending that it is new money, won't cut it. Announcing that the CF is getting money to pay for past overtaskings, that were beyond then-current defence plans, and pretending that it's new money, won't cut it. Proudly and publicly committing money to a new program, while you quietly take that money from somewhere else within the current funding envelope, won't cut it. The only thing that will cut it, Prime Minister, is a substantial and permanent increase in the base defence budget and a programmed increase in that budget year-over-year until Canada can once again truthfully say that we are fulfilling our commitments to Canadians, specifically, and the world community, in general.

Canada has a history of courage and commitment. As a population, we are being led away from that attitude by misguided and ill-informed people and groups, who somehow see moral rectitude in physical weakness. We are facing threats that are immoral and strong, by any standards of morality and strength. They are getting stronger by our inaction and our lack of real commitment.

We may disagree with the U.S. and President Bush on many issues, but there is no mistaking America's resolve to face up to its enemies. We need that same resolve and leadership. Prime Minister, that is yours to provide. Please don't let Canada down.

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

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Madame Sgro’s House of Ill Repute

For a couple of weeks, Immigration Minister Judy Sgro has been trying very hard to defend the indefensible. She and/or her staff made inappropriate use of her office to trade financial and volunteer help for her election campaign for a free pass into Canada.

What has really caught people’s attention is that the free pass was given to a Romanian exotic dancer. The rationale was that this industry is apparently in danger of collapse, because there are not enough Canadian women willing to strip, and etc., for cash. The etc. is very important and, while I am not accusing the lady in question of it, a great many women like her are being sold into prostitution and effectively treated as slaves.

About a year ago, I met Victor Malarek, a multiple award winning investigative journalist with many years work at both CBC and CTV. He had recently researched and written a book called “The Natashas”. It is an expose of the sex trade emanating from Russia and Eastern Europe with destinations all over the world, including Canada. According to the U.S. State Department, at least 800,000–900,000 impoverished young women, many of them orphans, from Eastern and Central Europe, are lured with promises of jobs as waitresses, nannies or maids in Western Europe or North America. Instead, they wind up as exotic dancers, prostitutes and sex slaves.

Malarek’s facts and story telling paint a horrific picture of inhumanity. Russian and other organized crime syndicates control this human trade with “ruthless efficiency”, reaping high profits with little risk of interference thanks to "complacency, complicity, and corruption" on the part of national governments and law enforcement.

I’m not accusing the Government of Canada of complicity and corruption in this unacceptable activity, nor am I accusing Canadian police forces of being less than vigilant and dedicated in enforcing our laws. I am suggesting that the Government of Canada is complacent and has lost sight of the objectives of a good immigration program. One of them should be to promote the immigration of people who can play an important role in making their own lives and the lives of Canadians, in general, better. My money would be on doctors, nurses, scientists, teachers, technicians, etc., long before it would be on strippers.

What Madame Sgro was really caught at is the longstanding Liberal practice of using immigration to prop themselves up at election time. It happens all across Canada and it is unethical and immoral. That doesn’t seem to bother “the natural governing party”, but it should bother Canadians. The Deputy Prime Minister announced yesterday that the "stripping for visas" programme would be stopped. Why does it take a determined Opposition and public outcry to make this government do the right thing? And, it hasn't actually done the right thing, yet; just talked about it. We've seen this movie before.