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George Petrolekas's picture
Key election questions
Posted on Sep 18, 2015

It is 39 days into Canada's federal campaign, and there's a sense of "enough already"… at least the daily dose of the economy.  We know now the details of each leader's priorities with respect to balanced budgets, spending and deficits. We have a pretty good idea of how the economy would grow under the three differing options . There's enough information to make choices on that front. Enough already.

Being the leader of a G7 nation is far more than keeping a stringent eye on the books, growing the economy, and our national taxation rates.

Half way into the campaign, we know little of how our prospective leaders would act on the world stage, and less so on how they would act on the security front.

Yes, Bill C51 is security-related with its mirror image of Charter of Rights protections, and the position of most parties is fairly clear on that front.  On the current ISIS mission we know the party positions, but no one has tested their positions.  The Prime Minister will continue the campaign as he rightly describes the never ending litany of horrors that ISIS perpetrates, but clearly the Coalition strategy is flawed as, in over a year, no ground force has materialized and the air campaign has created a stalemate, at best. Think of it just in economic terms… at $300 million a year, for how many years are we going to be involved or conversely what will Canada convey to its allies to finish this war as quickly and expeditiously as possible?

On the other hand, Tom Mulcair's plan to remove the Canadian Forces from the region needs to be tested further.  Yes, we have no legal commitment to remain, but we gave our word to our allies that we would be there to share the load.  Of course any government has the sovereign right to withdraw, but Mulcair must explain how our allies would then see us.  Furthermore, to not engage in the destruction of the so-called "Islamic State" militants, which each day plumbs new depths in the horrors of the human soul, is to <em>defacto</em> accept its existence.

And Mr Trudeau needs to explain how throwing in more trainers, will instantly reverse an effort which has produced minimal results in over a year.  His is an option that at best can be described as "one foot in".

For all who speak of a diplomatic solution, please remember that those are indeed fine words, yet no one has been able to come up with a model or path which makes noble words believable when it comes to diametrically opposed cultures.

Back at home, Canada has several acquisition projects coming online.  Key decisions on ships, SAR aircraft, fighters, and what occasions the government envisions it would utilize the Canadian Armed Forces. Procurement decisions made in the expected course of a four-year mandate will have an impact for close to 40 years in the future (given how long we presently operate platforms we buy).  And the use of the CAF will say much about our own vision in the world and our independence.  For example, some have postulated that Canada would only send forces into places or missions that have UN sanction – which would mean Canada's scope of action would be limited by the wishes of any dissenting security council member.  Major nations do not act in that way.

So yes, the economy and budgets are important, as is the refugee crisis, but PLEASE let us know more about how you will govern, how Canada will act in the world, and where and when we would be prepared to act – and with what.