Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Arguments about Voting on Deployments

Academics care a great deal about whether countries have votes on deployments of troops.  This month so do the opposition parties and the media in Canada.  Why?  A quick illustration:

Ok, that is perhaps a smidge unfair.  But all this talk of a vote about the deployment of Canadian troops for a peacekeeping mission is very premature.  First, we need to know what the mission or missions will be. Then, the opposition parties can try to oppose when perhaps they ought to try to criticize instead?

Ah yes, that distinction.  Mindless opposition to anything the government does is easy, but becomes too much like automatic gainsaying.  Thanks to Monty Python for explaining that to me when I was ten. The problem is that the Conservatives will use the same criticisms of the Liberals that the Liberals did of the Conservatives when they were in power.  This looks more like farce than a real attempt to hold the government to account. 

Of course, once there is a decision made by the government, there will probably be debate and possibly a vote but maybe not.  Will the government stick to the precedents set by the previous government?  Not sure.  If not, will that contradict what they said when they were in opposition?  Probably since then they were just reaching for the easiest cudgel to beat on the government.  Why?  Tis easier/more seductive to score points via the simplest of accusations (war criminal! waster of
 public funds!) rather than getting into the complexity of a policy that can't fit into a sound bite.

The questions I would like to ask are not so much about whether there will or will not be a vote, but why one mission (and not many) or why many (not one)?  Explain the choices and how they further Canadian interests.  Or more directly, what does Canada hope to achieve?  Not "we are back" or "peacekeeping is swell" but what is the objective, what is Canada's role in achieving the objective, why this place(s) and not some other, what are the risks, and what are the costs/benefits?

That might take more than 30 seconds.  Oops.

No comments: