Saturday, February 21, 2015

Impeach the Prime Minister

Stephen Harper has lost the right to govern Canada.  He has deliberately exposed the country to great peril and left the nation and our people vulnerable to war and terror at a time of grave and looming dangers.

Allow me to explain.

ISIS and Putin, keep those two in your mind.

We're told that Vlad Putin presents an immediate and 'existential' threat to NATO.  That we believe it is apparent in our prime minister's decision to send the standard six-pack of CF-18 fighters to defend the airspace of the Baltic States, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.  We're there with armed fighters on a war footing.  Threat One.

Canada is also confronting Putin over Ukraine.  We've levied sanctions against the Russians.  We've provided aid and non-lethal military equipment to the Kiev government.  We're considering requests for weapons supposedly needed to keep the pro-Russian rebels at bay.  Many observers believe NATO may be on the cusp of a shooting war with Russia, our first peer-on-peer war since we fought the Chinese in Korea.  Threat Two.

Having given up on defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan, Canada is in a shooting (okay, bombing) war against ISIS in Iraq.  Again the now ubiquitous six-pack of CF-18s. Today the newly minted DefMin/seminarian Jason Kenney says Canada will consider taking the fight to ISIS in Syria and Libya.  We would need a lot more than two more six-packs for those gigs.  Threat Three and potential Threats Four and Five.

Putin is now quite fond of sending Russian bombers to cruise the perimeter of NATO airspace, including Canada's far north.  Make that Threat Six.

Putin is also getting pretty aggressive with his submarines, intruding into Swedish coastal waters and twice getting boats up to the approaches of Britain's submarine base at Faslane, Scotland.  How long will it be before we sight one of Russia's subs in Canadian waters, especially our vast, marginally undefended Arctic waters?  Threat Seven.

By the governments own contention, we're staring at serious threats up the wazoo.  We're not even talking China or North Korea.

With all these threats stacking up and growing, what is this government's focus? It's on balancing the budget in time for the 2015 election.  We're in a state of war, and a Cold War, and in what could become the mother of all peer wars, and our government wants to focus on balancing its budget.

The budget priority could be defensible if Canada had its military in good order to meet all these threats.  However the prime minister has gutted the defence budget.  In terms of GDP, Harper's defence budget is half what we had under Pierre Trudeau.

We have the longest coastline of any nation yet our navy is at its weakest since before WWII.  We can't send a task force to defend any of our three coasts because we don't have functioning provisioning ships nor do we have air defence destroyers to protect a fleet against the sophisticated threat that Russia could present.  Our submarines?  Best we leave that for another day.

Our CF-18s are exceedingly long in the tooth.  What remains of the considerable force Pierre Trudeau bought for Canada is not up to the tasks that we might have for it at home and abroad.  There's a reason why we send six-packs of CF-18s to the Baltics and Kuwait.  We'd love to send a squadron but we can't.

So, we've got a navy so neglected that it can't deploy a task force.  We've got an air force that has to send fighters in penny packets.  The army?  Much of their kit is worn out from our adventure in Kandahar and money isn't exactly pouring out of Harper's treasury to make good their needs either.

Stephen Harper is counting on the gullible segment of the population to return him to power out of fear of the Russian and Islamist threats.  He's also counting on them not to realize how much he's done to leave Canada unequipped and unprepared to defend against these threats.

Stephen Harper will kick the defence of Canada and the security of the Canadian people into the gutter before he'll give up on balancing the budget for the next election.

No one knows where this Putin business is heading but even the best informed observers won't rule out an inadvertent war with Russia.  That's where we're at today and yet we have a government obsessed with defunding our military and sapping what remains of our ability to defend our country.

Now you might think the opposition, staring at an election, knowing that Harper is going to gin up these threats to terrify the gullible into voting for him, would be beating Harper over the head with this like a Newfie on a baby harp seal but you would be wrong.  Trudeau and Mulcair - the best thing Harper has going for him.


Pamela Mac Neil said...

The provocation of Russia by the U.S. and NATO is incredibly reckless. Harper and Kenny when indicating they may send Canadians to war are complete amateur buffoons. I look and listen to these men and think White Trash. Their really wrapping the rhetoric up on Russia being a threat! The NATO countries must know about the U.S. engineered coup in Ukraine, yet they just go along. Will they really join with the U.S. in a war against Russia? I know Canada and England will, but what about Europe? How does fighting a war with Russia benefit Europe? Why are they doing the U.S.'s bidding? This is a really good post. but it scares the hell out of me for a number of reasons.

Anonymous said...

My greatest concern is what's at play in Russia and Ukraine. Did the west help unseat a legit government in the Ukraine, putting a fascist puppet government in place to fill the hole? Is it possible that we're not hearing the whole story on this? Is Russia actually helping the world put these neo-Nazis at bay and Harper is using Canadian taxpayer dollars to keep them in play? Why are we allowing this tragedy to play out?

thwap said...

Well, harper long ago forfeited the right to govern us when he showed his contempt for the majority in Parliament.

End of story.

Alas, this is Canada and the story didn't end.

harper stole his present majority government. If we were a democratic people, he'd have been turned-out and put on trial. But we're not and he hasn't been.

But you're right to say that anyone who is ratcheting up the threat levels and doing so with jingoistic, militaristic rhetoric, ought not to be worried about balancing the budget while doing so.

Cutting taxes to corporations sitting on $600 billion they can't find a profitable use for, and starving your precious military (and wounded veterans) to do so?

Absolutely insane.

Anonymous said...

Good Idea Mound. Your suggested is one thing Canadians ought to be demaning. It is a good enough idea, you ought to advacate a movement to see it realized. Do you think you are fair in comparing all Newfoundlanders to the likes of Harper? There are approximately 2,800 persons who kill harp seals. They orginate from Newfoundland & Labrador, Quebec North Shore, Gaspe Bay Penisual and the Magdalen Islands. I am not condoning that slauter, however, there are 525,000 Newfoundlanders on the island and approximately 3,000,000 living else where. I don´t think they would appreciate being compared to Harper nor do I. Born in England and particially raised in Newfoundland, it seems to me, when ever something dirty goes on in Canada including unemployment, Newfoundlanders are used as a scape goat for the rest of the country. I know I don´t like being referred to as a batterer especially having lived on mainland Canada like so many other Newfoundlanders, contributing to the public coffers and a non-partisan at the moment, and having lived most of my life on mainland Canada and Asia. You may ask why I care. I think you could have found a better example such as monied people who don´t give a darn about the air the unborn will be that is also murder. Anyong

The Mound of Sound said...

No, Anyong, I'm saying that I wish the opposition would emulate Newfoundland seal hunters.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree...ooppps sorry.Anyong

Purple library guy said...

I actually find it somewhat of a relief that, in his quest for balanced budgets, Harper has been doing with defence what right-wingers traditionally do vis-a-vis the economy: Coast on the assumption that the conservative aura of assumed-to-be-good-at-that will cover up the reality.

In this he's actually unusual for a conservative. The right typically only talks balanced budgets when in opposition. When in power they normally splatter the red ink all over the place, cutting revenues as Harper did but offsetting any expenditure cuts from useful programs with expenditure increases from defence, police-state costs, corporate pork and so on.

Harper is vulnerable enough that he's been forced to actually cut expenditures overall in an attempt to get something balanced-budget-looking despite revenue cuts. As a result, we've been spared some of the boondoggles that he wanted to spend money on for the military. I'd much rather a half-starved military than what was in the cards otherwise, which would be a military in which gobs of money had been spent on largely useless boutique equipment, leaving it functionally half-starved while appearing overfunded. The latter situation is harder to recover from because nobody would want to throw more money at a military crying poor when they're overflowing with F-35s and various other expensive pieces of kit.