Soldiers with guns? In our cities? D’oh.

Well apparently all it really took was a Mike Duffy hissy fit and the Liberal forehead-smacking has begun. That’s right, the man who during Pierre Trudeau’s funeral reminded Margaret Trudeau it was the day of her dead son’s birthday sending her into a fit of tears, has raised his Blackberry in the air and called for journalists of the world to unite.

With that said I would agree with KOB, that Duffy did the right thing and continued to hammer the issue – it’s definitly nice to see on occasion. The story now is out there and will most likely be until the end of the election – the veterans are pissed and Lord knows they can really get their fist-shaking heard in the media.

However, sadly this is probably the most front page coverage any defence issue will likely receive. Before this, the top coverage of defence in the election has been Harper’s policy, which grabbed a front on New Year’s Eve in the Citizen, a brief spate about arctic sovereignty and that’s about it, with nay a mention in the debates. However, outside of the election sphere there certainly are some issues in this field that could get some attention:

1.) Afghanistan: We are sending 2,000 soldiers to the region in a couple months without any electoral debate. For the last several months the only stories about this region were about how dangerous a mission this will be. However, British papers are reporting that the British officials are unsure of continuing their presence. Likewise with Denmark and Australia, and the Americans are pulling troops out and moving them to Iraq. On top of that Chief of Defence Staff Hillier, of “murderers and scumbags” fame, has led a buying spree for said mission, thus far speeding up the process to spend $234 million on new equipment. Does anyone really know what our politicians are saying about any of this?

2.) The replacement of the Hercules aircraft which is supposed to start at the end of January. What’s important about this? The plan is valued at $4.6 billion and it’s rumoured the contract specs have been written so specific to only allow one plane to enter competition. David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen has done a nice job here, Michael Den Tandt in the Globe as well, oh and check out Frank Magazine too.

The list goes on. But I guess what I’m saying is that rather than reporters simply focussing on whether politician A would have sent troops to Iraq three years ago or are enlisting martial law, perhaps it’s time to look beyond this and talk about what the Canadian military is currently doing and what should be changed.


  1. Ah nothing like a little conflict of interest eh Dekes aka “senior writer for an independent Canadian military magazine?”

    In all seriousness though, you’re totally right. Canada has made itself NATO’s frontman in Afghanistan but it seems that few of our allies are willing to step up. There were some commitments made during the last NATO conference but what are we going to do if there’s a troop shortfall?

    As for another topic, what about Haiti? The head of the UN mission there just committed suicide yet there was barely a mention of Canada’s role in the country during the coverage of that incident. Even when a Canadian was killed a few weeks back it barely made a ripple.

    Defence just isn’t a sexy campaign issue. The Tories made their statements on defence early in the campaign; the NDP won’t talk about it; and the Liberals would be dumb to bring it up since they were the ones who gutted their funding.

    It’s up to the press to make it an issue, but their more interested in which leaders make the arduous trek to the back of the plane.

  2. and since I ragged on Dekes, it’s only fair to mention that I was subcontracted to do media summaries for DND for three years. Never an employee, nor did I sign a contract directly with DND, but I did provide a service.

    Woo hoo full disclosure!

  3. As if on cue, Andrew Cohen wrote a column this morning. (Jan 13) on the very same issue. Not only does it touch on the dangerous mission in Afghanistan but it discusses the numerous international issues that have not been talked about. Who knew Cohen reads the blog?

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