This is, I hope, self evident … especially to Conservatives.
One cornerstone of our policy base must be that we will ensure that Canada always has enough “rough men” (and women) in our armed forces, that they are superbly disciplined, very well trained to “do violence on our behalf” whenever and wherever necessary (but always within the laws of war) and adequately equipped for a wide range of tasks. Those adequately equipped, well trained and superbly disciplined “rough men” and women must be properly organized and well led, too.
That’s not too much to ask, is it?
Perhaps it is. It appears that good, tough people, superbly disciplined (because being rough and tough, on its own, leads to what an old friend of mine (MGen (ret’d) Clive Addy) described as “macho thuggery” and we don’t want any more of that, do we?), very well trained, adequately equipped, properly organized and well led are too expensive for Canadian politicians to provide, presumably because every poll tells us that Canadians don’t really “support the troops” when it comes to making a financial commitment. They’re fine with yellow ribbons and red t-shirts but while their support is, generally, a mile wide it is only an inch deep.
That brings us to another famous quote:
We, Conservatives, need to remind our fellow Canadians that their armed forces are rather like their home and auto insurance policies or their municipal fire departments … we want to know that we have “good enough” coverage, even though we want to pay as little as possible for it. We want “good men” and women in Canada to do something: to agree to forgo some social services in return for an adequate national defence.
It’s not an easy or popular case to make but real Conservatives must be ready to make and defend it in our policy convention and on the campaign trail.