Monday, September 19, 2011

Squirrel! Federal Style

Last week, I blogged about how language politics and such were useful distractions for Quebec parties and media, when much more important stuff is at play.  Namely, the political system and the construction industry are utterly corrupt, but not even in a semi-efficient way.  So, bridges are falling apart, tunnels collapse, and we are worried more about how best to deal with immigrants and Anglophones. 

Well, the media and politicians in Ottawa can play this game, too.  So, the tempest these days is over the head of the Canadian military, Chief of Defence Staff Walt Natyncyzk, flying in a government plane rather than commercial flights to a variety of destinations, including a family vacation.  If this is what parliamentary oversight over the military is here, then I do believe my existing assertion that there is no parliamentary oversight of the Canadian military remains quite valid.

First, the issue itself: I wonder if anyone is bothering to see how the heads of other militaries travel, given that they need to be in constant communication with political and military types, that their schedules change very quickly, and so on.  Anyone see the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff flying around the US on commercial planes?  The British head?  Aussie?  Hmmmm. 

Second, is this really the important issue facing the Canadian military?  Um, no.  Let's count how many other issues might just be more relevant for Canadian national security, budget politics, and everything else:
  1. What are Canada's plans for the next days/weeks/months in Libya?  Qaddafi is still out there, and Canadian assets are still in theatre being used on behalf of the new government.  
  2. Canadian submarines are still not operational.  How about we consider the security implications of having no underwater capability at the present time?
  3. Other NATO countries and partners are re-considering the F35 INCLUDING the US.  So, perhaps Canada might consider whether the plane (all 65 of them) might crowd out other spending priorities.
  4. What criteria will Canada have for where to build the next generation of ships, given that this is a highly political issue (jobs where?)?
  5. General Leslie's report on transformation--how is that going to be implemented or not?  Perhaps parliament might consider whether un-doing the Hillier command structure makes sense or not.  Anyone studying whether CEFCOM and CANCOM made a difference than the old DCDS model?
  6. How about this: can Canada actually afford three modern branches or perhaps just choose one or two?  
The point is that the media feeding frenzy is just silly but so very easy as it does not require any facts, study, comparisons, understanding.  What we need is a healthy dose of perspective sauce.  If the government jumps on this and on the CDS for these flights, I think I am going to have to hit an entirely different kind of sauce.

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