Thursday, October 26, 2006

Today's question – The Military

Since yesterday's new feature, the question of the day, seemed to be well received here's today's installment. Today, the topic is the military, and the Afghanistan mission.

I know this is a politically dicey area for the Liberals to be treading on, given some of the divisions in our party on the issue. I think, given recent events though, some questions need to be asked and there are some things we can all agree on. We support our troops, and we support the goals of the mission. We just question the government's strategy in achieving those goals, and objected to the rushed nature of the vote on the extension.

But specifically, we've heard in recent days that sailors and air force members may be reassigned to the army and to the war zone to meet our commitments in Afghanistan; that 300 out of 1000 Canadian soldiers destined for Afghanistan may have failed drug tests; and today that the military is dropping any requirements for fitness testing for new recruits.

Here's today's question:

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence. There have been some disturbing reports from his department of late.

We've heard that, in order to main troop levels in Afghanistan, Navy and Air Force members may be rotated into Army units in Afghanistan. We've heard reports that an astounding 30 per cent of soldiers bound for Afghanistan may have failed their drug tests. And now we've learned that even basic fitness standards for military recruiting have been dropped.

This is all the fallout, Mr. Speaker, of this government rushing through a vote extending our commitment to Afghanistan without doing its homework, and without allowing this House to properly examine the proposal and whether we have the resources or not to meet it.

I ask the Minister, Mr. Speaker, do we have the resources to fulfill this government's extended commitment without drastically dropping standards, and will he allow this House to finally properly consider this politically-motivated extension?

Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers


Bailey said...

I like this question.

Although, I imagine that the answer will be somewhere along the lines of how the Liberals neglected the military and did not recruit properly or something similar to that. If the Liberal's had supported the military then this policy wouldn't have changed because more people would be members of the military today.

Then the debate would lead into the causal effects of participation in the military. Is the enrollments low because the Liberal Party apparently neglected the military or is the enrollment low because many young Canadian's have no interest in the military?

I tend to think the latter.

Also, note, it's not as if the fitness test was even that difficult to begin with.

Olaf said...


You're a puppet master. And a particularly evil one at that.

Lolly said...

Tatoos and body piercing, are a no, no if you are a new recruit in the military. These are permanent decorations therefore the debate is really about changing the criteria for Recruitment.

Jeff, you are good at posing the Q? and one could go like this
Mr/Madame Speaker Is there any truth to the story in XYZ that the Government has rejected women/men who have pierced ears or other body parts on their application into the CFB particulary at a time when the same Government is actively recruitiing.......

As for using the other 2 Forces, as foot soldiers,not such a popular concept at 19 Wing Escadre.

Jeff said...

Olaf, I prefer to think of it as standing-up for Canadians. :)

Bailey, I'm sure that's where the Cons would like to take it. But I think the recent stories referenced are symptoms of the military trying to meet the new comitments Harper made with the mission extension. They've bitten off more than the military can chew, and so they're scrambling to meet the needs. The Liberals were taking steps to increase enrolment but it won't happen overnight, hence the Conservative scrambling.

Demosthenes said...

lolly: goofy, is what it is.

Rotating air force and naval personnel to infantry duty? All you're doing is either showing that your infantry are poorly trained, or getting everybody around those transplantees killed because infantry do need proper training and these guys don't have it.