Two things are on my mind:
- The ongoing CF-18 replacement fiasco, which now might involve looking to buy used (as old as our fleet) CF-18s from Australia; and
- A report that the design decision on the new destroyer/frigates will be delayed, again , but this is not, officials say <nudge, nudge> <wink, wink> due to push back from bidders … this time until late winter or early spring 2018.
We can draw a number of conclusions, amongst them:
- First ~ no one, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, cares a damn about defending Canada, meeting our sworn commitments to our closest allies or getting value for money, it’s all about deferring potentially embarrassing decisions until, the Liberals hope, people have forgotten about them;
- Second ~ the defence procurement system is so seriously damaged that only a complete overhaul will suffice. Canadians need to know that when tens of billions of their tax dollars are being spent it is being done well; and
- Third ~ the big, fat, gold encrusted defence staff, sitting in too many offices in too many HQs, has lost the plot. I fully agree that the government’s priorities ~ First Nations, feminism, diversity and so on ~ must, always, be the defence staff’s top priorities, too; but it is not too much to expect that the admirals and generals can, as we soldiers used to say, “walk and chew gum at the same time,” in other words, focus on the government’s priorities and, simultaneously, do their bit to help keep major defence projects on track.
All three problems are, now, after two years in power, the fault of this, Trudeau, government. They have had enough time to assess the problems they inherited ~ and there were some, no doubt about that ~ from the Conservatives and to at least start implementing solutions. That they have failed to do that indicates that most of the problem is in the first bullet: they, Team Trudeau, simply don’t know or care about defending Canada. The solution, of course, is to replace them, in 2019, with a team that does know and care.
It is important, even vital, however, to remember that very few Canadians will ever change their vote on a defence policy or defence procurement issue. This, fixing our national defences, is not a “big” issue for Canadians. It needs to be part of the Conservative platform, but well behind: lowering taxes for hard working families; fixing our borders and our immigration system; managing everything, including social programmes, more efficiently and effectively; being both just and generous to all (to First Nations, to new Canadians, to gays, to religious conservatives and social justice warriors ~ simultaneously; crafting a moderate “green” plan for Canada; ending political corruption (again); and, and, and …