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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Defending the Defender

Though Defence Minister Peter McKay is denying the rumors, federal Conservative insiders have leaked information to the media that Chief of Defence Staff, General Rick Hillier, will be replaced as Canada’s top military commander when his current three-year term expires in February.

Normally the top post has a set term but until recently many had expected an extension to be offered to Hillier. The prevailing logic being that with a combat mission underway in Afghanistan and with Hillier being so popular among the troops, for his actions to date, removing him from the position would be a step backward and perhaps jeopardize the mission.

Replacing the top military leader in any Country during a time of war is not something most national leaders enter into lightly. The decision is made only as a last resort when it becomes clear that the commander is incapable or inept at performing his duties.

So what is the word coming out of Ottawa and from some senior military analysts regarding Stephen Harper’s reasons for wanting to relieve Hillier of his duties?

1) Hillier made former Minister of Defense, Gordon O’Connor, “look bad” when O’Connor’s department failed to ensure that the families of deceased soldiers were fully reimbursed for the cost of their loved one’s funerals.

2) Hillier is popular with those he leads.

3) Hillier is popular with the Canadian public.

4) Hillier has shaken up the military establishment by promoting achievers and solid performers rather than routinely promoting individuals based on years of service or for political reasons.

5) While his political handlers are determined to source as much military equipment as possible from inside Canada, Hillier has fought to ensure that the men and women in the field are provided with the best equipment available regardless of where it comes from.

So, to recap, Stephen Harper believes General Hillier should be replaced because he stood up for the rights grieving families, is popular, is finding the best people to fill key military roles rather than making politically motivated appointments and is doing his best to protect the troops at a time of war.

I guess from that perspective it’s understandable why Stephen Harper would want to get rid of Hillier. The two men have absolutely nothing in common.

According to military and political insiders Hillier will likely be replaced by Lt.-Gen. Walter Natynczyk. The reason Natynczyk is expected to be the choice of the PM is simple, “…because the prime minister likes him.”

As a final note, for anyone keeping score, upon Hillier’s dismissal one more Newfoundlander will be out of work thanks to ongoing efforts by the federal government. I believe that now puts a very low ball estimate at something well over 60,001 doesn't it?

11 comments:

BNB said...

If these rumours turn out to be true then more power to Gen. Hillier for taking the high road. He is an extremely well respected man and he will move on to better things - at Canada's loss perhaps.

I hope he doesn't get lost in upper Canada though like Tobin, Peckford and so many others...

Anonymous said...

The general would make an excellent candidate for the NLFirst.I wonder if he would ever consider.

Patriot said...

Interesting comment Anon, but my view of the General getting into NL politics may be a little different than yours. You may want to read my commentary from July of this year on that topic. Here's the link:

http://freenewfoundlandlabrador.blogspot.com/2007/07/canadian-general-eyes-takeover-of.html

Patriot said...

Sorry, the entire Link didn't come through on my previous post:

http://freenewfoundlandlabrador.
blogspot.com/2007/07/canadian-general-eyes-takeover-of.html

Anonymous said...

I thought the best comment came today on Mike Duffy when a retired Canadian General said that if they "get rid of Hillier it will be a uniquely canadian thing, to fire somone for doing their job too well"

It says it all when it comes to Ottawa's mismanagement of everything they touch.

Anonymous said...

Lets be clear, Canadian politics is all about cronyism and bovine excrement. Nothing would surprise or shock me where Ottawa is concerned.

Anonymous said...

The general would make an excellent candidate for the NLFirst.I wonder if he would ever consider.

If Hillier would make an excellent candidate for NL First - if he fits in there - I don't think I'll be voting for NL First that is IF they ever run for election.

Also, to be realistic Hillier would never run for a separatist party. He's a hardcore Canadian federalist and is a diehard Conservative.

Anonymous said...

Whether General Hillier admitts to it or not, he is a political animal. You attain the position he has acquired without being politically savy.

With respect to The good General joining with the NL First party, extremely unlikely. This man swore an oath to protect Canada and has made a career doing just that. I do think he would be an interesting candidate for either an Member of Parliament or even Premier for this province.

Anonymous said...

My apologies on the sloppy post (October 04, 2007 12:21 PM), this is how it should have read.

Whether General Hillier admits to it or not, he is a political animal. You do not attain the position he has acquired without being politically savy.

With respect to The good General joining with the NL First party, extremely unlikely. This man swore an oath to protect Canada and has made a career doing just that. I do think he would be an interesting candidate for either an Member of Parliament or even Premier for this province.

Anonymous said...

"Also, to be realistic Hillier would never run for a separatist party."

"Our first objectives are to fight for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador from within the Province and to recover control of Newfoundland and Labrador's rich natural resources and their revenues, from the federal government of Canada."

http://www.nlfirst.ca/policies.html

feel free to correct your mistake.

Anonymous said...

feel free to correct your mistake.

No mistake. NL First, despite whatever it says on its website, is composed of people who are separatists (I've met some of them). No shame in it: I'm a separatist of sorts myself but Hillier definitely is not. Good luck bringing him on board.