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.

Laurie Hawn, CD
Lieutenant-Colonel (retired)



Hammering Swords into Mime Troupes

This has been Liberal defence policy since at least 1965.

The result is both tragic and comedic.

Denmark. I repeat, Denmark feels emboldened enough to knock our books on the floor and steal our lunch money.


We, not the Danes, have become (West?) Fenwick.

When I was in the Reserves, we were still being trained to defend and die for Western Europe.

Now Western Europe has decided to repay the past ninety years of coming to their defence by invading us. How sweet.

String your bows, sharpen your pikes and pretend to be trapped in an invisible box. That will knock them back on their heels.

Soft power ruuuules!

7:36 AM  

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