Update February 2, 2017

A wooden mock-up of the F-35 in Canadian Forces markings, 2010

The New Government’s integrated posture in the Middle East has its fair share of kinetic POT SHOTS to dumb down the previously active participation of their foes…the Conservatives

The Prime Minister has danced around the question about the decision to pull our CF18s out of the fight. His Defence Minister has repeatedly said in the House of Commons: Combat is complex and we will get it right.

After listening quite intently, it seems that we have not put forward anything other than a politically cobbled plan to engage and reorganize the efforts of the new departments of the government.

At today’s Press Conference, the inevitable shot was fired by no other than the Humanitarian Commander and the presumed Integrator, the Foreign Affairs Minister, summarizing the proceedings as setting out the (chicken and egg) goals of development – sustainability being pursued.

Three pre-election notions were advanced well before the election by a council of advisors. The first that stands out with respect to the Defence Department was “More teeth and less tail.” Today, there was no sign of either. The other advisor in the context of IRAN SANCTIONS: Talking to the bad guys is what diplomats do.

The second more and very obvious multilateral goal is a matter of pride – a return to the rightful LIBERAL seat on the United Nations Security Council, the glow of Pearson successes and the Iran Caper, though under a Conservative executive action aside.

The third notion, probably not very obvious to those who generally hail from the post-Vietnam era, loosely put is that Departments of Defence should be merged with the Departments of Agriculture where troops cropping wheat to feed the starving of the world is a more useful goal.

The University of McGill as it happens is going to court on MORAL grounds against the production of what is perceived to be kinetic stuff or used to fire it or engage in the use of it. This case is illustrative of the divide between engaging the enemy and the consequences for “innocents” in the theatre of war, civil or otherwise.

With that backdrop, today’s announcement sets a deployment strategy or trial balloon: Redistribution of resources almost in a defence attaché mode under diplomatic and intelligence cover to cover to participate thinly in as many countries as possible. Such also serves to satisfy the Liberal Government election promises in satisfaction of a “voter mandate.”

In General Terms, the optic for the F-18 is that the Kinetic end of the F18s is the precision bombing-destructive end. That is where the big bucks go and could be redistributed to the humanitarian end of the Syrian civil war, Support for Iraq, and Rebuilding.

In that context, the Announcement today is a political one and a coordinated effort with which to outline Canada’s contribution, to the allied effort in the region, net of bombing the hell out of ISIL.

All this to say, the withdrawal of the F 18s is a separate matter from the election promise to cancel the F35 and likely has more to do with political foreplay in the development of a DEFENCE POLICY. Rash judgements aside, this has more to do with the “more teeth than tail” reorientation of the Defence Department.

Before the political smoke and mirrors, trite and risible remarks about the Conservatives “not getting the job done after 10 years in office” take shape, the Liberal record has its own history dating back to the 70s when they purchased the F18 at twice the budgeted price, launched the joint development of the F35 in Canada and chucked the EH101 Helicopter on the scrap heap.

The Conservatives have finally taken delivery of a Helicopter from one of the other original bidders after so many new names and changing roles, the act of trying to be all things to all needs. Meanwhile, Canada is not meeting its NATO contribution targets.

The Liberal ISAF deployment to the Afghan theatre was concluded under the watch of the Conservative Government after they had been equipped inappropriately with Jungle Greens instead of Desert Dress, among other tactical deficiencies arising from “the age of darkness.”

As an Armed Services Veteran, it is my view that our Forces did an extraordinary tour of DUTY while politicians argued about other matters of association of human rights misconduct in theatre to preserve their own Teflon or political Kevlar.

The Diplomatic Corp were present on the ground in Afghanistan. Christopher Alexander was Ambassador from 2003 to 2005 approx 15 months to later become the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship from 2013-2015 in the Conservative Government.

By comparison to the Liberal rental arrangements after selling off theatre lift capacity for troop deployment, the Conservatives delivered the C-17 heavy lift upgraded air lift capability for rapid deployments to theatre rather than having to rent Russian-built Antonov airlifters.

This capability is considerable given the current number of places Canada has deployed its troops on matters- Russia-Ukraine, ISIL, and the Middle East.

The matter of DEFENCE POLICY or the absence of one is the Elephant in the Room. It seems, rhetorically speaking, we have no enemies and carry no vengeance until after a full review of Canada’s DEFENCE Requirements has been taken.

The venerable F18 replacement and its capabilities, likely fall in the category of “leave it to Beaver.” That is another matter.

My crystal ball says: look to the Story of Pierre Trudeau, Sylvain Cloutier and General Dextraze concerning the action following the Unification of the Canadian Armed Forces, the cancellation of our aircraft carriers, built in Northern Ireland, purchased from Britain and its destination and ownership in Australia, plus the debacle over Aurora and Sea Kings.

In general terms, the attempt to build Silicon Valley North was made at that time by removing civilian stuff out of the Department of Defence to build the computing information-communications (Distributed Information Processing), attract foreign investments for regional industrial benefit distribution purposes, among others, while reconfiguring the military complement.

In general terms, this time around it is very likely “onward ho!” all over again to “Advanced Defence Valley North”, regional and social/industrial benefits and other distributions for the fourth industrial revolution, some of which is already here, just saying.

The F35 is the Trojan horse, filled with teachers, conscientious objectors, and humanitarian hearts and minds, temporarily parked outside the walls of Kinetic Conflict, Civil War, and Terrorism for more than 40 odd years, symbolically speaking.

The decision to withdraw CF-18’s GROUND SUPPORT from those opposed to and or seeking sovereign rights in the fight against ISIL may well be a strategic mistake, more so in the eyes of our ALLIES.

The decision to REVAMP in the middle of the ALLIED EFFORT against ISIL is a domestic, political, and ideological one based on an election promise.

Best wishes to our Defence Minister on his encounter when he meets his Allies and Partners in conference and to our Prime Minister and his distinguished PRE-ELECTION Council Advisors; the current Liberal Government Whip and the Former Ambassador to the Federation of Russia.

Best wishes to those on the home front who believe that A JOB is the gold standard of Peace, Unity, and Security – We stand on Guard for thee!

Update, February 11: Today’s editorial “Libs must explain issues better” in the Ottawa Sun is a fitting companion piece to this article:

Canadians will decide themselves whether [the decision to withdraw jets] is a good or a bad idea for their own reasons. But without knowing why the PM made the decision he did, nobody can truly determine whether he made the right choice.

Update, February 16: Today’s Ottawa Citizen editorial “Do we really need a seat at the table?” tackles the issue of the Liberal government’s desire for a seat on the Security Council, and it is well worth the read.

Update, February 18: Consider Michael Den Tandt’s article in the Ottawa Citizen, “Will stormy days disrupt sunny ways?” A few choice quotes:

The government’s biggest misstep has been its incoherent, clumsy and tortuously slow handling of the withdrawal of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s CF-18s from the U.S.-led air war against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. [..] [Trudeau] and his team appear to have stopped chirping “Canada is back,” […] perhaps aware now of the stunning arrogance implicit in the statement. […] This country, perhaps to state the obvious, is much greater and more complex than the necessarily narrow set of assumptions enshrined in any one political party’s policy manual, supported by its true believers in the anile, demented echo chamber of social media.

Update, February 2, 2017: Toronto Star, January 24, 2017   Federal Court dismisses Quebec professor’s challenge of Saudi arms deal by Mike Blanchfield

The FEDERAL COURT dismissed the Saudi Arms Deal challenge by the Quebec Law professor.  Justice Daniele Tremblay-Lamer ruled that the court’s role was not to “pass moral judgment.” The court only had to ensure the DECISION was legal and all the relevant factors in the opinion of the court had been CONSIDERED.

Kevin Murray was conscripted under the NATIONAL SERVICE ACT then enlisted to serve in the Royal Air Force. He worked in support of NATO then in SEATO operations. He served a two-year tour of DUTY with troops and soldiers, civilians, and security personnel from Commonwealth countries of Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji in support of MULTI-LINGUAL Malaya to safeguard its sovereignty under the Anglo Malayan-Defence Treaty.

These troops further assisted MALAYSIA during its formation during the Armed Confrontation with Indonesia that ended successfully August 12, 1966. Malaysia is a TIGER of the South East Asian Economy. TREATIES are in support of the common good.

He immigrated to Canada in 1967 as a qualified plumber with hopes of finding work in the OIL FIELDS. He came to Ottawa in 1969 to work on the implementation of the Glassco Commission Recommendations, specifically in the Department of Supply and Serves. hived out of DND during the building of SILICON VALLEY NORTH.






Kevin Murray-Mourne is a former Trade Commissioner for Space, Aerospace, Defence and Security with the Department of External Affairs and International Trade Canada. He is a Veteran of Her Majesty’s Armed forces. He attended the Canadian Centre for Management Development, the Canadian Foreign Affairs Institute and is a Graduate of the American Management Associations Management Program.

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