Over 3½ years ago I wrote about an address given by (then Major, now Lieutenant Colonel) Choy Yong Cong. He was, I said, speaking as much about Canada as Singapore, it seems to me. I also said that the values he was espousing were “good Conservative values… [and] … That’s what I want the CPC to offer Canadians: opportunities and the promise that, if they are self-reliant and work hard then their children will have an even better life than they, Canadian voters, have now.“
I went on to discuss foreign and defence policy, saying that “we really do need to punch above our weight, again and again, and again … half measures will cause us to be left out of the councils of the mighty and when we are excluded from one table then how long is it until the great powers ask if we belong at the others? The Liberal government, which has decided that no policy is the right policy on Da’esh/ISIs, is taking big risks with our future … even with that UNSC seat about which our sadly blinkered foreign service obsesses at the expense of real, strategic issues.”
Specifically, on Canada-USA relations, I said ~ in January 2016, before President Trump was elected ~ “Canada is, as I have explained, uniquely blessed by being next door to the USA and we can, and do, in fact, rely upon the USA for some of our defences. But we also have to “defend ourselves against help:” we must do enough so that the USA never feels the need to violate our sovereignty in order to meet its own, legitimate, security needs. In my opinion, we are, in 2016, perilously close to the point where the USA might not believe that we can do our full and fair share … 1% is not enough! We, Conservatives, must take a full share of the blame for this situation. It is true that the ‘decades of darkness’ began under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, but they continued under Prime Minister Mulroney and Prime Minister Chrétien and beginning in 2012, it seems to me, Prime Minister Harper chose to more or less ignore defence while he focused everything on the balanced budget promise.“
I argued then, and I still argue now, that Choy Yong Cong had some sage advice for Canadian Conservative politicians: ““As a leader, achieving the mission is important. But that is not all. It is not about reaching the finishing line first. It is about bringing everyone to the finishing line. That is what a leader does,” he said, and I added that “What he is really saying is that “achieving the mission” is, for the CPC, winning back government and to do that we must, once again, be a true “big tent” party and understand and meet the needs of (almost) all Canadians and promise to govern in the best interests of (almost) all Canadians.“
I concluded by saying, “Choy Yong Cong closed on a stirring, but important note: “Defence is a serious business … It is the umbrella in which all other beautiful things in society – our dreams, our aspirations, our love for others – can happen.” I want the Conservative Party of Canada to take that to heart. Without an adequate defence, that is grounded in a coherent, sensible grand strategy, all our hopes and dreams, even the “sunny ways,” will be at real risk, under a leaky umbrella.“
I know that defence will not be a major issue in the election campaign which began on Wednesday but I hope it will not be ignored. A lot has changed since January 2016, Donald Trump is now the US president, we have learned that the US will not, automatically protect us should e.g. North Koran missiles head our way and the strategic situation gets more, not less dangerous, day-by-day. But Justin Trudeau, Chrystia Freeland and the Liberal Party of Canada have totally messed up our foreign policy: we have few if any friends left, and our defences are, to be charitable, almost negligible.
It’s time we sent the Liberals back to the opposition benches to rediscover their traditional (pre-1968) policy and defence bases and allowed some grown-ups to form a new government for Canada … one that will protect and promote our shared economic, social and political values.