Author Topic: Expert: Time for Def Min to Cross Canada Rallying AFG Msn Support  (Read 6071 times)

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Shared in accordance with the "fair dealing" provisions, Section 29, of the Copyright Act - http://www.cb-cda.gc.ca/info/act-e.html#rid-33409

War tour would aid morale analyst
Defence minister would be wasting time, McDonough says

Chris Lambie, Halifax Chronicle Herald, 3 Oct 06
http://thechronicleherald.ca/Metro/532035.html


Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor should go on a cross-Canada speaking tour to boost flagging support for the mission in Afghanistan, says a local military analyst.

A recent poll indicates a clear majority of Canadians consider the mission to be a lost cause. Fifty-nine per cent of more than 2,000 people polled by Decima Research agreed that Canadians are dying for a cause we cannot win.

"If the government simply gathers its tent around it and becomes silent, those numbers will increase," said Alex Morrison of Dalhousie University’s Centre for Foreign Policy Studies.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been promoting the mission quite heavily over the past month, even suggesting Canadian soldiers could remain in Afghanistan past 2009. Mr. Harper also made an impromptu appearance at a "Support the troops" rally in Ottawa last month, telling the massive audience that they owe their freedoms to soldiers just like the ones who are fighting terrorism in Afghanistan.

But that’s not enough, according to Mr. Morrison, a retired lieutenant-colonel.

"The military is feeling a bit lonely; I think it’s feeling a bit abandoned by the government," he said.

"Certainly over the past few months, government statements in support of the military have not been as strong and as frequent as they were up to about the beginning of the summer."

Mr. O’Connor could not be reached for comment.

"The government has got to continue to explain to the Canadian people why we are in Afghanistan," Mr. Morrison said. "And this can’t be done with a speech here and a speech there. It’s got to be done all the time."

Thirty-seven Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have died in Afghanistan since 2002.

Those deaths do play a role in public opinion, Mr. Morrison said.

"Canadians need to get used to the fact that our military is an instrument of last resort," he said. "In a democratic society, the military does what the government wants it to do, and unfortunately, that includes taking casualties."

It is "the duty and responsibility of Canadian government to make plain as many times as it can" why it has sent troops into the dangerous area, he said.

"We should continue to be in Afghanistan because the citizens there are being persecuted in a way no one should be persecuted," Mr. Morrison said. "Canada and other countries in the international community are doing their part to try to give the Afghan citizens an opportunity to decide what sort of life they want for themselves."

Scott Taylor, editor of Esprit de Corps magazine, doesn’t believe a tour by the defence minister would change public opinion on Afghanistan.

"I don’t think it’s going to work," Mr. Taylor said.

"(Conservatives) have been putting out their message as often as they can. The media has certainly given them an ample platform . . . and it’s still not convincing Canadians."


People are asking more questions than they did in past wars, he said.

"It’s not an easy sell any more," Mr. Taylor said. "It’s tough to tell them we’re in direct danger of this and make a plausible case."

Sending Mr. O’Connor across the country to justify the war in Afghanistan would be the "worst possible" response to decreased public support for the mission, said Halifax MP Alexa McDonough.

"The most superficial, morally bankrupt kind of response that one might fear from this government would be, ‘Well, we need to go out on a big hard sell mission here,’ " said Ms. McDonough, foreign affairs critic for the New Democratic Party.


Her party, which last month advocated a quick pullout from Afghanistan, is launching a series of roundtable discussions across the country on what should be done in the war-torn country.

"This government has shown no openness, no willingness to deal with it in any way except the most simplistic kind of jingoism and boosterism," Ms. McDonough said. "What they should have done remains something that Canadians want, which is an open, honest, frank, informed discussion about what’s going on, what the options are and what kind of role Canada could and should be playing in Afghanistan that would have much more promise of success."

( clambie@herald.ca)


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Offline geo

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Re: Expert: Time for Def Min to Cross Canada Rallying AFG Msn Support
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2006, 08:15:27 »
One of the main reasont that the Cdn population would feel the Afghanistan mission is a lost cause is because the Cdn MEDIA has labeled it thus.   When they make their surveys, they ask their questions in such a way as to lead the surveyee....

I know that each and every time I have been accosted while in uniform on this matter, I have explained some of the reasons why we are there and the people have concluded with wishing us good luck....

(do you think I should consider a career in politics? ;))
Chimo!

Offline tlg

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Re: Expert: Time for Def Min to Cross Canada Rallying AFG Msn Support
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2006, 08:49:03 »
...
(do you think I should consider a career in politics? ;))

Not a career in politics persay geo, but maybe a career in PR?
« Last Edit: October 03, 2006, 08:51:58 by tlg »

Offline cplcaldwell

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Re: Expert: Time for Def Min to Cross Canada Rallying AFG Msn Support
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2006, 09:08:04 »
0.02

Several things:

Quote
"The military is feeling a bit lonely; I think it’s feeling a bit abandoned by the government," he said.

And this is news ? ???

Quote
"I don’t think it’s going to work," Mr. Taylor said.
Quote
"The most superficial, morally bankrupt kind of response that one might fear from this government would be, ‘Well, we need to go out on a big hard sell mission here,’ " said Ms. McDonough, foreign affairs critic for the New Democratic Party.

Hmmm.. Taylor, McDonough, say nay.... Then, I'm all for it!

Quote
"What they should have done remains something that Canadians want, which is an open, honest, frank, informed discussion about what’s going on

Reference bolding: Thanks Ms McDonough, we concur, please copy that jerk of a leader you have with your opinions on this matter...

Quote
"Canadians need to get used to the fact that our military is an instrument of last resort," he said. "In a democratic society, the military does what the government wants it to do, and unfortunately, that includes taking casualties."

It is "the duty and responsibility of Canadian government to make plain as many times as it can" why it has sent troops into the dangerous area, he said.

To the persons in question... Step up people, you can't have it both ways, a silent service means a vocal ministry....

Quote
Sending Mr. O’Connor across the country to justify the war in Afghanistan ....

Well, I still vote for Rona Ambrose ;D
« Last Edit: October 03, 2006, 09:15:07 by cplcaldwell »
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Offline GUNS

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Re: Expert: Time for Def Min to Cross Canada Rallying AFG Msn Support
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2006, 09:31:14 »
The person you need to speak to Canadians is the CDS. The man is a natural born speaker and being from the Rock helps.
I have listened to the MND and he does not have the appeal that will keep people wanting to listen. Having some soldiers that served over there with whoever is the speaker would help.
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Offline cplcaldwell

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Re: Expert: Time for Def Min to Cross Canada Rallying AFG Msn Support
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2006, 09:35:26 »
Quote
The person you need to speak to Canadians is the CDS. The man is a natural born speaker and being from the Rock helps.

Couldn't agree more (Seriously)
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Offline Technoviking

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Re: Expert: Time for Def Min to Cross Canada Rallying AFG Msn Support
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2006, 09:36:12 »
Cplcaldwell:
+1
So, there I was....

Offline cplcaldwell

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Re: Expert: Time for Def Min to Cross Canada Rallying AFG Msn Support
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2006, 09:53:50 »
And furthermore.....

Quote
Having some soldiers that served over there with whoever is the speaker would help.

Arrrgh.... there is just so much I could say about this.... Mr And Mrs Canada gonna listen to a politician or a recently bloodied Cpl from The RCR BG presently in country.... (yes, VP I do not forget you).

If only the spin meisters could come back to the ground for a minute they would see the absolute truth of GUNS comments....

Shite, even I can't argue with these guys on this form I could hardly imagine Taliban Jack face to face with the persons in question.... >:D
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Offline Patrick H.

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Re: Expert: Time for Def Min to Cross Canada Rallying AFG Msn Support
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2006, 09:57:03 »
I think there are many ways to learn about the war in Afghanistan such as the internet, books, newspapers, et cetera. People should stop waiting to be spoon-fed by the media for their information and independantly research the situation to developed their own opinions.

Just some of my pocket lint..

Cheers
« Last Edit: October 03, 2006, 10:02:52 by Patrick H. »
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Offline cplcaldwell

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Re: Expert: Time for Def Min to Cross Canada Rallying AFG Msn Support
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2006, 10:03:45 »
Quote
People should stop waiting to be spoon-fed by the media for their information


Yes they should but they won't...

And the NDP know this....and will exploit an important international issue for their own parochial political ends.

Really, I don't think Jack Layton gives a flying frig about Afstan, but I I do think that he believes as long as he can ram enough Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt into the minds of the Canadian public it might gain him the balance of power in the next Parliament...

IMHO, to take liberties with an old saw, the best defence is a sound offence
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Offline Patrick H.

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Re: Expert: Time for Def Min to Cross Canada Rallying AFG Msn Support
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2006, 10:17:36 »
Quote
but I I do think that he believes as long as he can ram enough Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt into the minds of the Canadian public it might gain him the balance of power in the next Parliament...

But... but... Jack Layton and the NDP are providing the critical leadership so glaringly absent from the Harper government to take it to its logical conclusion: our Canadian Forces deserve to be sent only missions consistent with Canadian values, where the objectives are clear and where victory is attainable. - http://www.ndp.ca/page/4365

... because defending our country and liberating a tyrannized populace is devoid of our national character... ::)
Some mornings it just doesn't seem worth it to gnaw through the leather straps.

"It isn't what you've lost, but what you have left." - My great Uncle Daniel J MacDonald, Veteran Affairs Minister 1972.

Offline cplcaldwell

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Re: Expert: Time for Def Min to Cross Canada Rallying AFG Msn Support
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2006, 10:26:35 »
OHHHHH.... Now your just being nasty to me! ;)

But yes, this is precisely the kind of newspeak that must be combatted. Not with some rah!rah! but with a sensible dialogue. The NDP is not, (and I know you know this) engaging in a dialogue they are engaging in FUD.

Jack Layton is no more than a pit ball playing Tronna ward councillor, time to expose him for what he is.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2006, 10:30:13 by cplcaldwell »
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Expert: Time for Def Min to Cross Canada Rallying AFG Msn Support
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2006, 13:44:40 »
I do so love/hate hypocrisy.

Gordon O'Connor going around the country promoting "staying the course" is morally bankrupt.
Alexa McDonough going around the country promoting "withdrawal" is engaging Canadians.

(Tom, they're doing to me again).
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Re: Expert: Time for Def Min to Cross Canada Rallying AFG Msn Support
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2006, 20:38:58 »
Agreed with all who say the CDS would be the best speaker, BUT....

I'm going to stir the pot here a bit:  is it fair for any politician to task the CDS with selling ANY government mission or initiative? 

Yes, the CDS would, like any good soldier, follow orders, and would do a DAMNED fine job of it because I think he heartily and passionately agrees with the intent.  But in a minority gov't situation, where there's some merit in thinking that such a tour would be to help fight polling #'s showing a lack of support, is it fair to have someone working for the politicians doing the work that the politicians should be doing?

Also, what about the optics of NOT having the Minister, the chief spokesperson of the department, doing this?  If I were working for Taliban Jack (fat chance!), I'd tell him to keep his message track as follows:  "Why isn't the Minister facing the public to explain why our young men and women are dying thousands of miles away from home?"  And guess what the media will zoom in on?

Now I'll be even MORE weasel-like and try another devil's advocate position:  If you're, say, the leader of a party who's not in a majority position, and are eager (like any party of any stripe in a similar position) to have the nice things stick to you, but not the bad things, how much will you be worrying about sending one of your folks out on the pseudo-hustings to become a potential lightning rod for opposition to the very thing you're trying to sell?

Now, if you're truly cynical and believe this last paragraph is true, how does THAT make sending someone other than the Department's chief spokesperson and elected official out to discuss Afghanistan?

OK, fire away  ;D

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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Expert: Time for Def Min to Cross Canada Rallying AFG Msn Support
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2006, 06:29:52 »
Agreed with all who say the CDS would be the best speaker, BUT....

I'm going to stir the pot here a bit:  is it fair for any politician to task the CDS with selling ANY government mission or initiative? 

Yes, the CDS would, like any good soldier, follow orders, and would do a DAMNED fine job of it because I think he heartily and passionately agrees with the intent.


Hopefully this - sending members of the armed and civil services out to do politicians' work - is one of the several things Clerk of the Privy Council Kevin Lynch has already stopped.

I think Zachardelli's enforced silence until he was able and required to speak in an appropriate forum - a parliamentary committee - has all the hallmark's of a Lynch decree: clear, rational, reasonable and vigorously enforced.
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Offline cplcaldwell

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Re: Expert: Time for Def Min to Cross Canada Rallying AFG Msn Support
« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2006, 14:44:26 »
WRT, the appropriateness, of sending the CDS out on a road trip to sell the mission.

No fun!!, as usual Mr Campbell is right.

Upon further consideration, there is more to this than 'who is the best salesman' to be considered.

IMHO, The best one could do is have CDS standing beside the MND, so that when a question was asked the MND could answer, the CDS could (upon invitation of the MND) elaborate..... and I bet both Mr Lynch and Mr Campbell could shoot me up on that position  ;D
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Re: Expert: Time for Def Min to Cross Canada Rallying AFG Msn Support
« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2006, 20:22:16 »
... or at least remind you that it puts the poor CDS in a potentially awkward position if he has to contradict the boss.

Edward C - I hope it is the case, too, that bureaucrats (in the NICEST sense of the word, since I be one) aren't coralled into doing politicians' work.  As good as the bureaucrats can be, we weren't elected to steer the ship (I hate it when a reporter asks me, "how do you FEEL about this policy?") - we make sure the ship's engine runs smooth while telling the captain what'll happen if he steers this way or that.

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Re: Expert: Time for Def Min to Cross Canada Rallying AFG Msn Support
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2006, 22:05:54 »
And the Senate Committee on National Defence and Security agrees!

From http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,51355.msg457096.html#msg457096

The all-party committee said both the former Liberal government and the present Conservative regime have fallen down in explaining Afghanistan to Canadians.

The report said a government sending soldiers in harm's way should go through a checklist beforehand, answering questions that include:

-What is the purpose of the mission?
-Is the mandate clear and realistic?
-Can the success of the mission be measured? How?
-Does the government have the political will to persist even if the deployment becomes unpopular?

Senator Colin Kenny, the committee chairman, said two successive governments left the explanations to Gen. Rick Hillier, the chief of the defence staff.

"This was not his job."

Kenny said Prime Minister Stephen Harper should speak to the country on TV, explaining the rationale of the mission.
“The risk of insult is the price of clarity.” -- Roy H. Williams

The words I share here are my own, not those of anyone else or anybody I may be affiliated with.

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Offline geo

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Re: Expert: Time for Def Min to Cross Canada Rallying AFG Msn Support
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2006, 17:28:07 »
milnewstbay,
I tend to agree with you but, politicians appear to detest standing out on a limb
Chimo!