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.