By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 0 Comments
To the previous tallies of Conservative MPs who say they won’t be using their office budgets to distribute the Conservative mailout attacking Justin Trudeau, you can add Scott Armstrong, Ron Cannan, Patricia Davidson, Joe Preston, Ed Holder, Susan Truppe, Gerald Keddy, Peter MacKay and Greg Kerr.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 6:28 PM - 0 Comments
At 2pm, the Speaker’s parade—a ceremonial photo op, a silly show of hallowed tradition—proceeded down the West corridor of Centre Block toward the House of Commons. Preceded by one marching guard and flanked by three more—To protect the Speaker from what? A sneak attack by the Queen?—strode the sergeant-at-arms, carrying the large golden mace that must be in place for the House to conduct its business, and the Speaker and his clerks in their three-cornered hat and robes. Once the official party was safely inside, the large wooden doors were shut and the official business of the nation began for another day.
Something like a dozen reporters had gathered at the gallery door, anxiously waiting for the House to be called to order. This was something like four times the usual attendance—the larger crowd here in anticipation that one of the duly elected adults sent here to represent the people of this country might stand up in his or her place without having first obtained the permission of the party leader he or she is supposed to support. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 9:21 PM - 0 Comments
Chris Selley wonders how the NDP went from Alexa McDonough’s response to 9/11 to Randall Garrison’s response to Justin Trudeau’s response to the Boston Marathon bombing.
John Geddes explains where Mr. Trudeau went wrong.
So how does Harper’s two-pronged critique apply, as he clearly intended, to Trudeau’s answer in the CBC interview? It’s a long and rather meandering reply. However, I don’t hear Trudeau rationalizing or excusing terror. He does clearly call for an exploration of root causes.
And that part of Trudeau’s answer strikes me as unsettling only because he introduces his interest in causes without first offering the three essential elements that the Prime Minister persuasively tells us must be there in a leader’s response—condemn, pursue, prosecute.
There is a certain meandering to Mr. Trudeau’s answer. Maybe more than was necessary or wise when basically nothing was known about the motives or individuals responsible for the attack. (Here again is a fuller compendium of Mr. Trudeau has said in regards to the Boston Marathon bombing.)
The Internet notes that Peter MacKay used the phrase “root causes” in relation to the Oslo attack by Anders Breivik (though I’m not sure “Peter MacKay said it” is the sort of precedent Mr. Trudeau would want to use as justification).
The basic debate goes back at least as far as September 2001. Here is every use of the phrase “root causes of terrorism” in the House since then. Here is Jason Kenney objecting to “root causes” on September 17, 2001 and here he is again the next day on the same subject.
Somewhat relatedly: In 2002, Jean Chretien seemed to link 9/11 to wealth disparity and Western arrogance. Nine years later, on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Stephen Harper was asked about those comments and offered this assessment, in which he dismissed Mr. Chretien’s wealth versus poverty theory and focused on failed states.
Update 10:50pm. Post-script. It seems generally less controversial to invoke the “root causes of crime.” (Maybe because we’ve all decided we know what those are?) But in the case of terrorism the discussion becomes more fraught and complicated, all the more so in the immediate time period after an attack.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 10:34 AM - 0 Comments
If Mr. Boulerice does indeed oppose World War I, he would join the likes of Pope Benedict XV, Bertrand Russell, Helen Keller and Henry Ford in opposition. In Canada, World War I also precipitated the Conscription Crisis of 1917.
By Emily Senger - Monday, April 1, 2013 at 10:30 AM - 0 Comments
Kian Alexander MacKay born in Ottawa on April 1
It’s a boy! Defence Minister Peter MacKay and his wife, Nazanin Afshin-Jam, welcomed a new baby boy into the world on April 1.
Baby Kian Alexander MacKay was born in Ottawa on April 1 at 4:52 a.m. EST, weighing 8lbs 2 oz, according to a report in a Nova Scotia newspaper.
MacKay, who married Afshin-Jam in January 2012, used Twitter to announce the news Monday.
Welcome to the world Kian Alexander MacKay. Thanks to everyone for their thoughts, prayers and support. We are overjoyed with our baby boy.
— Peter MacKay (@MinPeterMacKay) April 1, 2013
This is the couple’s first child.
By Emily Senger, Ken MacQueen, and Manisha Krishnan - Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 3:00 PM - 0 Comments
Peter MacKay makes the Forces fitter, Romney reminisces, and will Bieber head to space?
Out with a bang
The now former Groupon CEO Andrew Mason is known for being a bit eccentric—a reputation he upheld on his way out. “After 4½ intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding—I was fired today,” Mason wrote in a letter to staff last week. “I’m OK with having failed at this part of the journey,” he added. But don’t cry for the Groupon founder. Getting fired made him $34 million richer this week—Mason owns seven per cent of Groupon’s stock, which rose five per cent in the days following his exit.
David Beckham bragged about doing all of his own stunts for his action-packed H&M commercial, but when it came to flashing a close-up of his bottom, he let a body double take over. The soccer star repeatedly denied using a stand-in for the Guy Ritchie-directed underwear ad—which shows him sprinting, swimming and jumping hedges, all in his gitch—but H&M ﬁnally came clean last week: “Due to the tightness of Beckham’s schedule, a body double was used in parts of the video.”
Out of this world
Having conquered Earth, at least in the eyes of his fans, Justin Bieber shared his next ambition with his 30-million-odd Twitter followers last week: “I wanna do a concert in space,” he wrote. The space agency NASA was quick to tweet a reply, referencing one of his hit songs: “Maybe we can help you with that. All Around the World, next off it?” Whether the Bieb gets to be an astronaut or not, he’s clearly training for something. After a concert in Birmingham, England, last week, he bee-lined to his hotel to change for his 19th birthday bash. He just happened to strut into his hotel with his shirt off, displaying an impressive ab six-pack.
By macleans.ca - Monday, March 4, 2013 at 7:00 AM - 0 Comments
In conversation with Defence Minister Peter MacKay on Afghanistan, the F-35 controversy and military spending
Peter MacKay has been minister of national defence since 2007, and before that served as the first foreign minister in Stephen Harper’s Conservative government. At 47, he’s a political veteran. As the last leader of the old Progressive Conservatives, he bargained with Stephen Harper to unite the right under the new Conservative banner. He has presided over the Canadian army’s historic mission in Afghanistan, but also been widely criticized for his handling of the government’s controversial plan to buy F-35 fighter jets. He spoke to Maclean’s in his Parliament Hill office.
Q: The war in Afghanistan profoundly changed the way many Canadians think about their military. But now that we’re out of combat, and committed to ending our troops’ role training the Afghan National Army in the spring of 2014, what are we likely to have accomplished?
A: I think we’ve given Afghan people hope. And I say that knowing everything stems from security in that country, as it does in most countries. Along with our international allies, along with the Afghans, we’ve built schools, immunized children, promoted women’s inclusivity in their society, in their parliament. So there are many tangible things you can point to. But the sense that young Afghans have that there’s a better future, fragile though it may be, is an enormous accomplishment.
Q: But how can we have any confidence that the Afghan National Army will be able to take over holding the Taliban at bay when Canada and other international forces, especially the U.S., finally withdraw?
A: Well, that is obviously the concern. Two questions remain. When will the Americans leave? And is the [goal of training] 352,000 combined Afghan army and police sufficient? But to me the bigger question is governance. Will the Afghan government be able to adequately fund and support that security force throughout the entire country? One scenario that has to be in the back of your mind is, if they decide to reduce that number by 100,000, do we want well-armed, well-trained young Afghans outside the military with nothing to do?
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 5:43 PM - 0 Comments
Conservative MP Robert Goguen had apparently been up late last night, carefully reviewing the main estimates and he was keen this afternoon to rise shortly before Question Period and report back to the House with what he’d found. “Yesterday, in main estimates, there were significant reductions in the cost of prisons due to the influx of new prisoners not materializing,” the government backbencher celebrated, dismissing opposition concerns about prison spending in the process.
Mr. Goguen was being modest. At last report there were actually more individuals in prison than ever before. Which would seem to render those “significant reductions” all the more impressive. (Although the increasing violence in prisons might make it more difficult to feel good about frugality.)
This good news might’ve ruled the day were it not for those on the opposition side who’d also taken some time to review the estimates themselves. They were decidedly less enthused than Mr. Goguen.
“Mr. Speaker, at the same time that we continue to read in the estimates with respect to the cuts that are being made in front line programs, in foreign aid programs, in foreign affairs budgets, we now see that the CIC is increasing its advertising budget by $4 million, the Department of Finance is increasing its advertising budget by nearly $7 million, and the Department of Natural Resources is increasing its advertising budget by $4.5 million compared to the main estimates of last year,” interim Liberal leader Bob Rae reported, reading from a white piece of paper.
Now Mr. Rae wagged his finger in the Prime Minister’s general direction. “I would like to ask the Prime Minister how he can justify again this double standard where front line services are being cut but propaganda is being increased?”
Oddly, Mr. Harper begged to differ almost entirely. “Mr. Speaker,” the Prime Minister corrected, “those front line services are not being cut.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, January 28, 2013 at 6:21 PM - 0 Comments
With protesters standing in the snow outside, our House moved quickly to make up for six weeks without these formal proceedings.
“Mr. Speaker, today in First Nations communities across the country, the unemployment rate can reach 80%, half of the housing units are in a pitiful state and schools and students receive 30% less funding than others,” Thomas Mulcair reported. “Last year, during meetings between the Crown and First Nations, the Prime Minister promised to renew our nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous people. He promised substantial consultations: he never listened. He promised to tackle these problems: instead he attacked the chiefs. Will the Prime Minister finally take concrete action in this matter?”
The Prime Minister was prepared with assurances. “Mr. Speaker, this government has acted on several concrete measures, unprecedented in our country, for Aboriginals. We built new housing, created new schools, implemented new systems for drinking water and finalized certain land claims. Obviously, there is much more to do. However, we will continue our program with positive partners.”
It went on more or less like this for eight of the first 10 questions: a rhetorical stalemate, or rather a restating of the general positions. This newest concern is, of course, something like this nation’s oldest concern and the challenge is thus profound. In this case, the House probably needs something it can wrap its collective and metaphorical arms around—a tangible something to argue about (something that Romeo Saganash’s bill on the UN declaration and Carolyn Bennett’s question about cuts to the Aboriginal Job Centre might yet provide).
But if the last six weeks represented some kind of change beyond this place—though it is still too early to say so for sure—they did not quite resolve the matters that the opposition was fussing about at the end of 2012.
Take, for instance, the parliamentary budget officer—not merely the existential question of the office’s future, but the small matter of the questions the current officeholder continues to raise about this government’s management. Continue…
By John Geddes - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 6:54 PM - 0 Comments
It was painful to listen to Defence Minister Peter MacKay this afternoon as he faced repeated questions from reporters on whether he has any regrets about his handling of the government’s program to buy F-35 fighter jets.
Today’s news, not surprisingly, is that the problem-plagued Lockheed Martin jet is only one of several whose costly tires the government will soon be kicking. And so pretty much everything MacKay has ever said about the necessity and inevitability of the F-35 procurement has proven to be dead wrong.
He might have made it easier to hear his answers without wincing had he just admitted to past mistakes. Failing that mature, obvious response, he might have clung to a fragment of dignity by resolving at least not to drag Canadian men and women in uniform into it.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 1:07 PM - 0 Comments
Ahead of the release of the KPMG audit, here is the transcript of the September 15, 2010 meeting of the national defence committee, at which Peter MacKay, Rona Ambrose, Tony Clement, assistant deputy minister Dan Ross, assistant deputy minister Tom Ring and Lieutenant-General J.P.A. Deschamps appeared to discuss the F-35. Two months earlier, the Harper government had announced it was “acquiring the fifth generation Joint Strike Fighter F-35 aircraft.”
Mr. MacKay was enthusiastic in his opening statement to the committee.
Our commitment, colleagues, to procure the F-35 is part of the overall strategy to give the Canadian Forces the tools they need in order to deliver security to Canadians…
When we retire the CF-18s between the years 2017 and 2020, as we inevitably must, we will need a capable replacement. The Lightning II joint strike fighters will inherit those key responsibilities and are the ideal aircraft, in my view, to allow our men and women in uniform to accomplish their work. This is the right plane. This is the right number. This is the right aircraft for our Canadian Forces and for Canada. In fact, it’s the best plane for the best air force. We believe they deserve this equipment. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 11:57 AM - 0 Comments
The government is promising a statement from Rona Ambrose and Peter MacKay at 3:15pm, preceded by an embargoed briefing for reporters at 1:45pm. Presumably the KPMG audit of the F-35 will be tabled in the House around the time Ms. Ambrose and Mr. MacKay are due to speak.
It’s been suggested that the House could rise for the Christmas break this evening—meaning this afternoon’s QP would be the last until January—but as of about an hour ago negotiations between the parties were not yet concluded.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, December 10, 2012 at 5:49 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. “Will the Minister of National Defence finally admit that the jig is up,” Matthew Kellway asked, “admit he was wrong and hold an open competition?”
So the latest in jet fighter technology was damned with the language of Elizabethan times. Alas, the Defence Minister did not stand here to proclaim himself besmirched. Instead, Rona Ambrose stood to impart the talking points.
“Mr. Speaker, as you know, the National Fighter Procurement Secretariat has been set up to ensure transparency and due diligence is done before the decision is made to replace our CF-18s,” she explained. “We are committed to completing its seven-point plan and moving forward with our comprehensive and transparent approach to replacing our aging CF-18 aircraft.”
For good measure, Ms. Ambrose added a pre-emptive explanation for the decidedly larger price tag that is still to be released publicly. “When including more years in operations and maintenance cost estimates,” she said, “it goes without saying that the dollar figure will be proportionately higher.”
That such stuff went without saying seems largely to be problem here.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, December 10, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
From the NDP leader’s interview with Tom Clark on the West Block.
Tom Clark: Let me take you to the other major story of the week and that is what’s coming up tomorrow, the F-35 report, the KPMG report is coming down. We basically already know what’s in it because the government has leaked most of the information. But what it comes down to is, that it’s going to cost this country about a billion dollars a year to have a fighter jet fleet. Is that an acceptable amount of money to you?
Thomas Mulcair: The problem in this case is that they never proceeded as prudent public administrators. There are rules Tom that exist to protect the public money. And in this case, they’ve always used the half lie. They say well no money has been spent on acquisition. Well of course no money has been spent on acquisition, the plane doesn’t exist yet but you’ve spent $700 million dollars so far on the process. Seven hundred million dollars by the way is the exact sum of money required to lift every senior in Canada above the poverty line. That’s exactly how much it would take. So they are pretending that that’s not even real money. It is real money. You’re right, I mean it’s going to cost a certain amount to keep a fighter fleet and we need one. It’s part of our national defence but you proceed in the normal way of public administration. You say exactly what your needs are. For example, it has to be able to work in the arctic. Who knew the F-35 can’t work in the arctic. It has to meet Canada’s needs. We have to define what those are and then the lowest conforming bidder gets the contract. Who knew? That’s what public administration is about. The Conservatives talk a good game when it comes to public administration, public management, public money, but they’re abysmal failures when it actually comes to doing the job. And that’s what the F-35 debacle is about more than anything else. It’s a fiasco of public management and the Conservatives are going to wear this one for a long time.
Tom Clark: So we know that they are going to be looking at alternatives but from your point of view, should the F-35 itself be off the table? Should we be only looking now at alternatives to the F-35?
Thomas Mulcair: You define your need, you define your price range, and then you go to the lowest conforming bidder. I’m not saying anything should be off the table, that’s the mistake the Conservatives made. Even when they got caught in their series of lies the first time and they were derisive and dismissive and they were mocking anybody who dared even question them. And we didn’t know anything about this, how could we even ask questions of a great military genius like Peter MacKay. Now they’re going to have to wear it. Of course we should be looking at other options but if the F-35 can meet those criteria, that’s too but you have to say what they are. They’ve never even done that basic exercise. That’s the real problem here. We have the CF-18’s right now. There’s something called the super…that’s the Hornet. There’s something called the Super Hornet, it’s very close and a lot of the preparatory work is already done. We’ve got teams that are already prepared to do that. That would be one of the first ones I’d look at. There are other planes in the world Tom that could be looked at, but again if we haven’t even defined what our own needs are, how are you going to be able to say that you’ve got the lowest conforming bidder?
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, December 7, 2012 at 1:28 PM - 0 Comments
An excerpt from NDP MP Jack Harris’ scrum with reporters after QP.
Reporter: The Liberals say they want MacKay to resign. Are you there yet?
Jack Harris: Well, you know, I think there’s a lot of people over on that bench should resign. In fact, the whole government should resign. The responsibility is the Prime Minister’s and the Prime Minister has to take that responsibility. It’s up to him who he decides to put in his cabinet. You know, he’s kept all sorts of people in his cabinet over the last number of years so that’s the Prime Minister’s decision. He’s got to wear it.
Reporter: No, but are you asking for the resignation?
Jack Harris: We would like the government to resign and let’s go to the people and have the people decide whether they’re satisfied that this government knows what it’s doing. They’ve demonstrated their incompetence in a 40-billion-plus project. They want to have a F-35 airplane that they want our children to pay for for the next 35 years. This is totally unacceptable.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 7:52 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. The NDP’s Matthew Kellway, blessed of the deadest of pans, seemed typically unimpressed.
“Reset and refresh are the new spin words, Mr. Speaker, but not so long ago the Minister of National Defence was unwavering,” Mr. Kellway recalled. “He stated, ‘This is the right plane, this is the right number, this is the right aircraft for our Canadian forces and Canada.’ Now he has lost that loving feeling.”
The New Democrats chuckled.
Throughout the fall this matter of the F-35 has lingered in the air, not quite at the forefront of the discussion, but not quite forgotten. And in the eight months since the auditor general’s report, the government’s position has not improved. Now, apparently, there are other options to consider. Now, apparently, the phrase “fifth generation” is “not helpful.” And soon, assumedly, there will be confirmation of a decidedly larger price tag for a plane the Conservatives once insisted the country absolutely had to have.
Here Mr. Kellway stood to mock the Defence Minister. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 5:05 PM - 0 Comments
Ralph Goodale reports on some kind of confrontation in the House following a vote this afternoon.
Altercation on floor of HofC – DefMin MacKay has to pull his HouseLeader + another ConsMin out of silly scrap with Mulcair+ Dippers….
Lots of talk and gestures. Nose to nose, but no apparent direct contact.
Right after vote, Cons House Leader crossed floor to confront NDP leadership group. Tempers clearly flared.
CTV has the House video that shows Peter Van Loan and Gary Goodyear on the NDP side of the House.
Update 5:13pm. There was maybe a middle finger involved?
Update 5:27pm. A little bit of background is apparently necessary. After Question Period, Nathan Cullen rose on a point of order to argue that the final vote on C-45 last night was out of order because the person moving for the vote, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, was not in his seat when the motion was brought forward. After submissions from all sides on this, the Speaker promised to get back to the House and the House proceeded to a separate vote. After that vote, the Speaker ruled that the final vote last night was in order. It is apparently after that ruling, as MPs were milling about, that, at least according to the New Democrats, Peter Van Loan crossed the aisle and complained to Mr. Cullen about Mr. Cullen’s point of order. Mr. Mulcair seems to have objected to Mr. Van Loan’s treatment of Mr. Cullen and, in the ensuing discussion, cross words seem to have been exchanged.
Update 5:58pm. Oddly enough, this confrontation was preceded by a notably civil moment between Mr. Mulcair and the Prime Minister. Immediately after Mr. Cullen’s point of order, as MPs were being called in for the subsequent vote, the NDP leader crossed the aisle and sat down beside Mr. Harper. The two chatted apparently amicably for a few minutes, Mr. Mulcair even laughing at something Mr. Harper said. The two parted company with a handshake.
Update 6:16pm. C-45 has just now passed a vote at third and is off to the Senate.
Update 6:31pm. Here is CBC’s version of the House video: it’s a bit longer than the CTV cut and in it you can see Mr. Van Loan walk across the aisle immediately after Speaker Scheer finished delivering his ruling.
Mulcair has a temper, but Van Loan would have turned Gandhi into a cold blooded killer.
Update 8:00pm. Peter MacKay tweets his version of events.
Whoa – Angry Tom at it again! NDP snaps at Van Loan for standing up for Canada’s economic recovery
Here is Mr. Cullen’s interview with the CBC.
Update 8:25pm. A statement from Peter Van Loan.
We are disappointed that the NDP has attempted to obstruct the passage of the important job creating measures in the Jobs and Growth Act, 2012.
Today, I conveyed my disappointment to the NDP House Leader for the hypocrisy of his complaint which related to a mistake by a member of his own caucus last night.
It is normal for me to speak with the opposition House Leaders. I was however surprised how Mr. Mulcair snapped and lost his temper.
The reference to “a mistake by a member of his own caucus” is apparently a reference to the fact that Deputy Speaker Joe Comartin was in the Speaker’s chair when the vote in question was called last night.
Update 9:38pm. The Canadian Press talks to Mr. Cullen.
For his part, Cullen wouldn’t specify precisely what was said but indicated that Van Loan used “a lot of real bad language, threatening language.” ”It was inappropriate and then Tom said, ‘Don’t threaten my House leader,’ and that’s when we all sort of stood up to make sure it didn’t go any further,” Cullen said in an interview. ”You’ve got to get him away because nothing good happens if he stays there talking that way.”
Cullen said Mulcair’s intervention was aimed at making Van Loan back off. ”For the Conservatives to try to spin his out that somehow (Van Loan) was the victim, I mean, give me a break … That’s ridiculous.”
Update 10:51pm. Mr. Cullen tweets at Mr. MacKay.
Check the video @MinPeterMacKay to see who came after whom. But we all need to work on raising decorum, I hope you agree with that, at least
Update 10:56pm. Elizabeth May chimes in.
Update Thursday. For the sake of comparison, a brief history of recent commotions is here. Morning-after interviews with Mr. Van Loan and Mr. Cullen are here. And this morning’s points of order on the matter are here.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 4:08 PM - 0 Comments
Independent MP Peter Goldring—he resigned from the Conservative caucus 11 months ago—has issued a statement to condemn the CBC’s reporting on a Canadian Forces video that poked fun at Osama bin Laden.
Edmonton East Member of Parliament Peter Goldring has expressed outrage and disgust over the manner in which the CBC conducted cheap, amateur, yellow journalism of the worst sort against Canada’s proud military.
The 2010 video of a private party skit in question involves a Canadian soldier dressed up in Taliban attire and posing as Osama bin Laden`s brother, ‘Eugene’. The CBC has latched on to this video and used it to paint the Canadian military and its members as both offensive and culturally insensitive persons.
“This video was meant as nothing more than a little black humour intended for a private audience,” Mr. Goldring stated. “The Canadian military didn’t make this video public, The CBC did. The CBC, who did the right thing to report it to the Canadian military, then had the opportunity to do the next right thing and simply put this video in the garbage can along with the rest of the copies where it belongs. Instead, the CBC are the ones inciting hate and hurting the Arab community worldwide by blasting this video out through national media to be picked up internationally.
“By engaging in yellow journalism and irresponsibly disseminating it for the world to see, the CBC hurt Canada’s image, our military’s image, and unnecessarily offended Arab’s around the world. By spinning this and putting it out for international consumption, the CBC is propagating racism. They took a video that was internal, personal, and limited to a very few, and turned it into an outward Canadian racial attitude for the rest of the world to believe.
“By calling upon CBC comedian Shaun Majumder – a visible minority – to speak out on the supposed ‘cultural insensitivities’ of this video is the height of hypocrisy, as Shaun has portrayed bin Laden as an Arab himself. The CBC attempted to detonate a racist scandal where there simply was none to be found.
“To frame this in perspective, the late Leslie Nielsen has portrayed Osama bin Laden in film – does that make him decidedly racist or insensitive? No, in fact he is recognized on Canada’s Walk of Fame and has also received an Order of Canada.
“Shaun Majumder – the CBC spokesperson condemning the actions in this video – has portrayed Osama bin Laden in skits himself, most notably in a spoof video poking fun at both bin Laden as well as the H1N1 virus during the outbreak. Majumder never faced any backlash or criticisms for his portrayal although it certainly could be said that he was propagating racial hatred not in a simple private event but worldwide.
“This video should not have been news-worthy, but the irresponsibility of the CBC’s reporting has served to define what this harmless skit has now morphed into.
“In the face of this incident, we have to thank the men and women of our Canadian military who were doing nothing more than relieving themselves of the endless stresses of their jobs with a little bit of black comedy that from time to time many people of all races of all countries enjoy, and ended up showing us where the evil truly exists in this country – the CBC headquarters.
“God help us if we have a CBC that does harm to our military and to our country worldwide by exploitative sensationalism.
“I call on the Prime Minister to call up the CBC to issue a sweeping apology to not only our military but our entire country. Their reckless reporting surrounding this non-story has done a great disservice to both our military and out country’s reputations.
“It’s time to consider whether the CBC is with Canadians or against.”
Defence Minister Peter MacKay said the video included “inappropriate content and poor taste.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, October 1, 2012 at 5:08 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Peter MacKay held in his right hand a white piece of paper, on which was apparently written everything he needed to know to get him through this odd spot he now found himself in.
With the Prime Minister away from the House, it was apparently Mr. MacKay’s turn to lead the government side. And with Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz also absent, there was apparently no other option but to let the Defence Minister handle the increasingly insistent questions about the handling of the nation’s beef products.
Rising to open QP, Thomas Mulcair alleged two issues: the Agriculture Minister’s earlier suggestion that no contaminated meat had reached store shelves and Mr. Ritz’s claim that there been no cuts to food inspection.
Mr. MacKay stood and assured the House that consumers were the “top priority” and that Mr. Ritz would be holding those responsible for food safety to account.
Mr. Mulcair then elaborated on his two concerns. Referring to the Harper government’s financial planning documents, he noted a budget reduction of $46.6 million over two years and the elimination of 314 jobs at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Mr. MacKay repeated his assurances en francais and then switched to English. “Let us be clear,” the Defence Minister clarified, “under this government we have actually seen an increase in inspectors. We have actually seen 700 food inspectors added to the rolls since 2006, including 170 particular to the subject of meat inspection.”
The Conservatives applauded. Mr. Mulcair was unpersuaded. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
W5 goes looking for answers on the F-35.
Silence from the Minister of Defence. So we requested interviews with the outgoing and incoming Commanders of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the newly-announced Chief of Defence Staff. No dice. Fine, can we please talk to someone – anyone – at DND about the F-35? Sorry, nobody is available. Please accept formulaic stand-by statement instead.
Meanwhile, the defence minister’s communications director responded that that the F-35 program and the future of Canada’s air force are two very different things, so W5 should contact the Minister of Public Works and the Associate Minister of Defence responsible for procurement. We did. One by one, everyone passed the buck leading us down the dead-end street of refusals and stand-by statements. As luck would have it, W5 had a crew was in Wolfville, NS working on another story, when we learned the Defence Minister was scheduled to speak at an event in the Maritime town of 5,000 people. W5 could not pass up the opportunity to ask Peter MacKay for an interview in person. “These types of tactics are always disappointing and, I believe, below the standards of your program and network,” wrote the minister’s communications director after his boss refused to talk to W5.
W5′s full report is here.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 1:29 PM - 0 Comments
David Pugliese quibbles with the Defence Minister’s announcement of new “next generation” tanks.
It seems that MacKay’s public relations machine was in full swing and “as usual they got way ahead of themselves in hyping this,” explained one individual associated with the file. “Just like all those re-announcements the minister made this summer,” said another. So exactly what is this “next generation tank?”
That is the name that is being used by the CF and MacKay’s office for those used Leopard 2 A4s that Canada ordered years ago. MacKay will announce that ten tanks have been repaired and overhauled and delivered so far. The tanks are going to be used for training and Defence Watch has been told there is nothing new or special that was installed on board. The transmission was worked on and upgraded a little but there are no new electro-optics or computers. These tanks are not even the equivalent of the more modern Leopard 2s outfitted for the Afghanistan war (since after all they are to be used for training in Canada).
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 2:15 PM - 0 Comments
While digging around for something else this week, I happened to come across the following pronouncement from December 2010.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has said if his party forms a government, they would ditch the multibillion-dollar deal and open up a competitive bidding process to find the most cost-effective replacement for the country’s aging CF-18s. Prime Minister Stephen Harper says that would jeopardize the lives of air force personnel and jobs in Canada’s aerospace industry.
Officials with two European companies told the Commons defence committee this week that their respective companies could provide a plane that would be suitable to Canada’s needs. But MacKay said that is simply not an option. He said the previous Liberal government committed Canada to the Joint Strike Fighter project nearly a decade ago, and the current Conservative government isn’t about to turn back the clock. ”If we don’t buy this aircraft now … it’s like hitting restart,” he said. “We would have to go back, lose our preferred place in the production line. ”We have made our decision. We are firm in pursuing this course of action and purchasing this aircraft, which will accrue maximum benefits to the air force, the aerospace industry and to Canada.”
A few days later, Mr. MacKay was in the House and referred to the existence of an “actual contract.”
Of course, Mr. MacKay’s assertion of a decision and reference to a contract predate this spring, since which the government—in hopes of clearing up any “misunderstanding“—has strived to be quite clear that no decision has been made and no contract has been signed.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 1:09 PM - 0 Comments
As John Geddes notes, Lt.-Gen. Tom Lawson is an avowed fan of the F-35.
He was, for instance, asked about the plane by Conservative MP Ray Boughen during a March 2011 committee hearing.
Everything that the air force has done by way of analysis of all those aircraft available to Canada suggests that there is no comparison.
A month earlier, he’d been in Mississauga to talk up the purchase.
We’re not only defending Canada,” said Major-General Tom Lawson, assistant chief of Canada’s air staff, “we’re also doing that with a partner to the south who expects us to meet our NORAD obligations.” … Buying the fighters will give Canada the best and most inexpensive method of fulfilling its obligations to its military partners, including the United States, said Lawson, a former Commandant at the Royal Military College in Kingston.