Following Paul Jackson's most recent article, "Canada's Foreign Policy Turning Pro—American," we have received considerable comment from north of border. One writer raised several points of factual contention, to which Mr. Jackson has responded. The correspondence is below:
Regarding Paul Jackson's piece "Canada's Foreign Policy Turning Pro—American", I did find it insightful and for the most part accurate, except for a few but significant erroneous comments.
On his comment that the Department of Public Safety was in the "hip pocket" under Martin but would now have "full cabinet status" under Prime Minister Harper, not only was it already a full cabinet position, but it was run by the Deputy—Prime Minister herself, making it the most senior cabinet portfolio under Prime Minister Martin.
Although Mr. Harper will be increasing the defense budget by $5.3 billion, this is on top of the $12.8 billion increase over five years by Mr. Martin. Carolyn Parrish is an embarrassment to all Canadians, and to say that Martin failed to rebuke her and leave it at that is unfair; Prime Minister Martin in fact expelled her from the Party after she failed to take back her comments.
And finally, Mr. Graham, now Liberal leader who was referred to as a "soft—power" advocate in Canada was in fact the Defense Minister who won a defense spending increase twice as large as Mr. Harper is planning and Mr. Graham also favored joining Missile Defense, an unpopular but principled hard—power position in the Liberal Party.
Mr. Jackson responds:
I did note in previous articles that Ann McLellan was the Deputy Prime Minister and responsible for public saftey.
But her chief role was that of Deputy Prime Minister, an arduous task. Public Safety was certainly not her chief interest in that role. Indeed, Senator Colin Kenny, chairman of the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence (And a Liberal no less, but a major critic of his own government's weak defence and national security policies) marveled that with a role as Deputy Prime Minister (Covering so many aspects of the government's work), and clinging on to her Edmonton, Alberta seat by her teeth, and so having to spend so much time on constituency work) that she did as good a job as possible on her public security duties.
By the way, Senator Kenny's two huge studies on defence and national security, the latest 261—page report being entitled 'Wounded: Canada's Military and the Legacy ofNeglect' (September 2005) is harrowing reading. Kenny called for our defence budget to be in the region of $25—$35 billion! (Not the $13 or so billion it is today. I am looking at the study now.)
Kenny has also frequently noted that the Liberal government's so—called budget increases are all backend—loaded and the increases actually eramarked not to come into force in some cases for five to eight years.
That means the Liberals would have to have won two more elections, say the Jan. 23 election, and one, say five years later, to actually implement those defence budgets.
Another point, although the Liberals have asked for bids to replace Canada's aging fleet of heavy lift Hercules aircraft at a cost of $5 billion, the earliest any can be delivered is now 2010 and the new fleet won't be completed until 2013. That's why we have had to lease heavy lift. That Paul Martin himself slashed the defence budget and its personnel by 25% in one swoop as finance minister in the mid—1990s shows the low priority he gave it. I've yet to meet anyone in the military (And I just had lunch at the Calgary Garrison Officer's Mess yesterday) who had any faith budget projections for the military under the Liberals would ever be realized.
On Liberal MP Carolyn Parrish, Mark is wrong again, and must know it. Paul Martin did not fire her from the Liberal caucus for her anti—American remarks. It wasn't until she personally attacked him publicly that he ejected her. This is a published fact. Indeed, I pointed out this train of events in 'Canada's Liberals Blame America' (Jan. 4th.).
By the way, Bill Graham was appointed defence minister only as recently as July, 2004. Eighteen months in the job is hardly long enough to have pushed through huge (real and delivered) increases. Before Graham, we had John McCallum as defence minister who had to publicly admit he had never heard of Canada's greatest Second World war military disaster, the Dieppe landings, and also mixed up our greatest First World War success, the battle at Vimy Ridge, with Second World war Vichy, France!
I trust this clears up some of the points.