Harjit Sajjan is a gentleman for whom I have scant regard as a minister, in fact I think he is a weak link, a sacrificial lamb to cover up Team Trudeau‘s disdain for the military; but he didn’t have to prove it, in public, did he? He has come out according to Global News with this nonsense: “speaking in Vancouver on Friday, Sajjan said the government is taking a “feminist approach” to the military … [but] … “Our defence policy itself didn’t have a gender-based analysis, it was done after the defense policy was written,” Sajjan said … [and] … “It was actually done as we were actually developing the policy.” Does that make any sense to anyone? The policy didn’t have a gender based analysis but it was actually done while we were writing the policy? Huh? “We are actually committed to increasing more the number of women in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF),” he said. Well, whoop-de-doo … I’m glad you’re actually committed to adding more women to the ranks; I wish you were committed to strengthening the military, not just fiddling around at the edges by replacing men with women.
I support using Gender Based Analysis in developing policies, including defence policy, to ensure that policies are not unfair to any group; but let’s be clear: defence policy is about the country, writ large, not about the people in the military. The people in the Canadian Armed Forces are unique in that they, and only they amongst all of those who serve Canada in any way, from the Governor General on down, including Justin Trudeau and Harjit Sajjan, have an unlimited liability when it comes to effecting the policy … they may be required to die to give effect to the government’s political choices. Of course, all of our policies should treat all peoples, men and women, aboriginal peoples and newcomers alike, regardless of race, creed or sex, but first, above all, we need to have a coherent defence policy.
Now, back in late 2015, I laid out what I thought we needed in a defence policy. First, I said, we needed AAA+ armed forces:
- Appropriate for a G7 nation;
- Adaptable to a constantly changing strategic environment;
- Available whenever needed; and
That military force, I said, was needed to be part of our defence system which, in turn, needed 11 capabilities:
- A structure to collect and collate information, from all sources and from all over the world and provide useful strategic intelligence to the cabinet and operational intelligence to departments and agencies;
- A super-structure to make strategic plans and to control and manage our military forces;
- Surveillance and warning systems to cover our land mass and, especially, the maritime approaches to it and the airspace over both;
- Military forces to intercept, identify and, appropriately, deal with intruders;
- Military forces to contribute to the continental defence, especially to the protection of the US strategic deterrent;
- Military forces to patrol our territory, the maritime approaches to it and the airspace over both;
- Military forces to give “aid to civil power” when provincial attorneys general cannot manage with police resources;
- Military forces to provide “civil assistance” when disaster occurs and the civil authorities in provinces and cities cannot cope;
- Military forces to conduct expeditionary, combat operations around the world ~
- Unilaterally for relatively small scale low and even mid-intensity operations,
- As part of “coalitions of the willing” for some low and mid-intensity operations, and
- With our traditional allies for the full range of operations, including prolonged general war;
- Supporting operational and logistical services ~ telecommunications, engineering, intelligence, medical and dental, supply and transport, material maintenance, administration and policing ~ to support all other military forces; and
- An efficient and effective defence procurement system.
There is nothing “gender-based” in any of that; both the eleven defence or national security capabilities and the AAA+ military are gender neutral. That should be obvious ~ a defence policy is, along with foreign policy, trade policy and fiscal and monetary policies, part of a nation’s grand strategy which aims to achieve “success” (peace and prosperity) for all Canadians, equally.
But Team Trudeau is not interested in grand strategy nor, I suspect, does it give a damn about peace and prosperity. It is all consumed with virtue signalling as it tries to ready itself to win the next election. The Liberals just want power for its own sake … and to line Liberals pockets.
We have a prime minister who appears to consider himself a figurehead, and now we have one of his token ministers spouting feminism as an attribute of strategic planning. It brings to mind an old army joke: “Q: What’s the difference between the Government of Canada and the Boy Scouts? A: The Boy Scouts have adult leadership.” Just as with our foreign policy, we need a national debate about a sensible, coherent defence policy that serves Canada’s interests, not just the momentary, partisan election campaign interests of Team Trudeau. Such a debate will not take place, I fear, until we replace Justin Trudeau and Harjit Sajjan with grownups.