Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

I was going to save this piece for next week, but in light of the story breaking on the CTV about General Rick Hillier being replaced, I felt it was necessary to address something right away.

In reading the comments on the above news article, I am shocked at how many Canadians actually think it was Rick Hillier that rebuilt the military and restored the faith and groundswell of support for our troops.

A General within the military does not have the power to acquire Billions of dollars of funding from the Finance Ministry to rebuild the military. That feat was accomplished by the Honourable Gordon O’Connor.

A General within the military is not the one that stick handles billions of dollars of expenditures through committees and the House of Commons in a minority government to ensure the purchases of equipment get made. That feat was accomplished by the Honourable Gordon O’Connor.

A General within the military cannot swing deals with Boeing to get Canada’s C-17 heavy lift moved up to the front of the queue so that we can get our aircraft years ahead of schedule. That feat was accomplished by the Honourable Gordon O’Connor.

The list goes on and on.

The groundswell of support for our troops was not headed up by Hillier either. A big part of this was started by Lisa Miller and Karen Boire, the two young ladies who started the “Wear Red Fridays” drive. This single handedly has to be the one thing that has started to spread across the nation as a show of support for the troops and their families. I still wear red every Friday, even if it is just a small red ribbon pinned to my lapel with a Canada flag pin.

I am not saying Rick Hillier should or should not be removed from his post. My opinion on that is neither here nor there. But what I am saying is that if praise is to be given for the restored quality of our military, and renewed faith that our forces are one of the best outfitted in the world, that praise should be given to the previous Minister of National Defence, Gordon O’Connor.

I for one am extremely proud of Gordon O’Connor and all he has done to ensure our military is well outfitted. Below is a list of accomplishments Minister O’Connor accomplished while he managed the Defence portfolio.

Major Accomplishments

Budgetary Accomplishments:
-Increased Defence budget by $5.3 billion over 5 years

Procurement Accomplishments:

A 3-OCEAN NAVY, A ROBUST ARMY, AND A REVITALIZED AIR FORCE
·Announced up to 8 Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships ($7.4B)
·100 modern main battle tanks (Leopard 2) ($650M)
·Purchased 4 C-17 strategic airlift aircraft ($3.4B)
·Announced the intention to acquire 17 tactical airlift aircraft (C-130J) ($4.9B)
·Announced the intention to acquire 16 medium-heavy lift helicopters (Chinooks) ($4.7B)
·Announced the intention to acquire 2,300 medium-weight trucks ($1.2B)
·Announced the intention to acquire 3 Joint Support ships (JSS) (2.9B)
·25 New Nyala Armoured Patrol Vehicles ($31M)
·82 Armoured Heavy Support Vehicle Systems (AHSVS) ($87M)
·5 Buffalo, 5 Cougar, and 6 Husky mine-protected vehicles ($29.6M)
·6 M777 Howitzers
·Announced the modernization of 12 Halifax-Class Frigates ($3.1B)

Policy/Operational Accomplishments:
·Announced the establishment of an Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagotville
·Announced the re-opening of the College Militaire Royal (CMR) St-Jean
·Extension of Afghan mission until 2009
·Extension of NORAD Agreement, incl. maritime surveillance
·Deployment of HMCS Ottawa to the Gulf under Operation ALTAIR
·An infantry to protect the PRT
·A Leopard tank squadron to Kandahar
·Military engineers to PRT’s
·Counter-mortar capability
·Opening of the Sergeant David L. Pitcher NORAD facility at North Bay

CF Force Expansion:
·New Recruit Advertising Campaign Launched
·In 2006 the Total Paid Strength of the CF grew by over 2,000
·In October 2006, the recruiting process was streamlined

Quality of Life/Other:
·Introduction of a modernized pension plan for CF reservists
·New operational allowance for CF members who are medically repatriated
·Opening of the Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) facility at Gagetown
·$19 million provided to 41 Military Family Resource Centers
·Clifton Wenzel receives compensation

8 thoughts on “Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

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  • October 3, 2007 at 7:43 am
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    I agree. The Honourable Gordon O’Connor certainly did a lot more for our military than people gave him credit for. But the sad fact is that he allowed himself to be sandbagged by the Opposition on several occasions, and did not handle the Afghan detainee issue very well. His failure to handle these issues did not make our government look very well.

  • October 3, 2007 at 8:59 am
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    This is as may be but politically it is completely irrelevant. The ONLY issues are whether Hillier is an effective Chief Of Defense, whether the PUBLIC believes in him AND does believe that he is the man responsible for the Military Enhancements, and whether the Government will look bad doing doing this.

    The answers are I believe:
    A. Yes
    B. Yes
    C. Yes

    This appears to be a BAD MOVE and it will hurt. If you think that the CTV comments are annoying take a look at the comments at the Globe and Mail Site. The ones supporting this decision are virtually ALL LEFTIES who hate the ‘militarization of Canada’ and think Hillier is just a warmonger.

    Now that’s a base Harper can really count on for future support. Unlike people like me for example who are seriously considering abandoning this Government over this decision and the ‘get tough’ NEW DRUG POLICY which I consider to be asinine.

  • October 3, 2007 at 9:19 am
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    Hillier’s term is over in Feb. 08.
    Any expectation of his remaining in the post for longer than that is baseless and using the premise that he might be kept in that role just wishful thinking.
    CTV or whoever started this story are spinning like mad to make it into a conservative government failure by creating a false assumption about Hillier’s continued role then building a fiction around his relationship with his political masters.

    While the MSM went out of their way to amplify and distort any perceived contradictions between what Hillier and O’Connor had to say about the Afghan mission over the last year or so we now see the attempt to justify their previous distortions and hype by drawing the conclusion that Hillier’s planned departure proves all they have said.

    It’s called completing the circle or circling the square.

    It’s ALL BS….

  • October 3, 2007 at 9:56 am
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    Hillier’s term is over in Feb. 08.
    Any expectation of his remaining in the post for longer than that is baseless and using the premise that he might be kept in that role just wishful thinking.

    I note that Peter MacKay RUSHED to deny this CTV report as soon as he could. His statement today is very clear and clearly recognizes the ‘political’ situation.

    “There’s no basis to this discussion. We’re at war with respect to terrorism. Gen. Hillier has shown great leadership and we have tremendous confidence in his ability,” MacKay told reporters in Halifax on Wednesday.
    “He serves at the pleasure of the prime minister, and the prime minister is pleased with the work he is doing.”

    Seems pretty clear to me, but perhaps I am just guilty of ‘wishful thinking’.

    If Hillier leaves it will be by HIS choice or at the least by mutual consent or the Government will pay a political price. A price it simply cannot afford.

  • October 3, 2007 at 10:46 am
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    I believe that the Feb. 08 date as the end of his term is a fact. That does not mean that his term will not be renewed.

    Whether or not General Hillier moves on then is …. as you quite rightly say …. at the pleasure of the Government or he may quit if he chooses.

    Do not misinterpret my meaning … I believe that CTV Globe etal are manufacturing a controversy!

    My “wishful thinking” comment was directed at the apparent attempt by CTV to make this into a drop dead timetable.
    When you look at this story more deeply it becomes ever more clear that the media are practicing a manipulative campaign … to what end?

    Making the government look bad…. it’s just smoke and mirrors … an anti-conservative PR blitz.
    That’s my beef!

  • October 3, 2007 at 11:14 am
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    The appoint to the position of CDS is normally 3 years. Gen Hillier was appointed by PM Martin in early 2005, so Feb 2008 is likely the time when that term will expire. Extensions are rarely given as his departure would allow those below him to advance. The only CDS I can recall that was granted an extension was De Chastelaine, although he wasn’t really extended, but was was brought back by Cretien to oversee the reductions in the early – mid 90’s.

    To give credit where credit is due, it was Gen Hillier who invisioned and implemented Canada’s current strategy in Afghanistan, which I might add, wa adopted by NATO and the US. The concept involves a 3 pronged approach which is known as the 3 D’s, Defence (security) Development (reconstruction) and Diplomacy, the latter involves mentoring the Afghan Government to establish good governence, rebuild its judiciary and basically run their country like a relatively stable democracy. The end state of this is when the Afghan Government can do all of this by themselves without international support. Despite what the MSM continually reports, there has been measurable, but slow progress as this is clearly not going to happen overnight. He sold this concept to the Martin government, so for the Liberals to say our approach in Afghanistan is wrong, they are being disingenous to say the least.

    That said, Gen Hillier has been the only CDS in my memory that is genuinely concerned about the welfare of the troops, which is why he supports the red ribbon and red shirt Fridays campaigns. Whatever, the outcome of all this might be, Gen Hillier’s succsessor will have very large boots to fill indeed.

    I personally don’t give a damn what Robert Fife thinks or reports, given he really doesn’t give a rat’s a$$ about the troops or the CF; only his “scoop” and trying to make political hay out of it. Remeber it was he who reported on Canadian Casualties before next of kin were notified and would continue to do it, were he not called out on it.

  • October 10, 2007 at 7:55 am
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    I agree…..
    Except on the issue of CTV’s reporting!
    When tools like Fife are not publicly called on their BS it means that they have succeeded in their small way to promote their agenda.

    This is at the root of the Hillier story and should be addressed.

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