March 01, 2002



Yet another recommendation by yet another dedicated group of public servants that Canada spend considerably more on defence. They're preaching to the choir: everyone of every political party, that thinks the governing Liberals are not spending enough... right to left, right across the spectrum. The Trudeau nationalists and the left want increased spending so Canadians can stop relying on Americans for such things as troop lift and continental air defence. The right just wants to blow up stuff real good. Does it make a difference? No. Remember, in this fall's budget, with planes literally falling out of the sky and the entire political opposition calling for a multi-billion increase in annual spending, the government choked on spending more than $500 million, and most of that was one-time-only rather than a real year-over-year spending increase. Now yet another report has called for a $4 billion increase in annual spending, on top of the current $11 billion a year (enough to allow us to improve our forces to something like Australia's level). What's changed since Sept. 12 that would give this recommendation any more hope of being heard? No, the only thing that's going to change military spending in Canada is a governmental change, and as we all know, that isn't happening this decade. Move along people, nothing to see here...

Posted by BruceR at 10:44 PM



Years of immersion in Classic Simpsons has left me unable to watch an amusing real-world event without thinking of one of their bits. Case in point: the recent blading of Canada's minister of defence by his officers, who admitted he had to be told three times on three separate days before he realized Canadian commandoes had finally seen some real action in Afghanistan. Ever since, I keep seeing Art Eggleton as Homer in the "Cape Fear" episode:

Agent: Tell you what, sir. From now on, you'll be, uh, Homer Thompson at Terror Lake. Let's just practise a bit, hmm? When I say, "Hello, Mr. Thompson," you'll say, "Hi."
Homer: Check.
Agent: Hello, Mr. Thompson.
Homer: [stares blankly]
Agent: Remember now, your name is Homer Thompson.
Homer: I gotcha.
Agent: Hello, Mr. Thompson.
Homer: [stares blankly]
[A long time later]
Agent: [sighs in frustration] Now, when I say, "Hello, Mr. Thompson," and press down on your foot, you smile and nod.
Homer: No problem.
Agent: Hello, Mr. Thompson! [stomps on Homer's foot a few times]
Homer: [stares blankly]
[to other agent] I think he's talking to you.

Posted by BruceR at 10:23 PM



Good story in the Toronto Star on Canada sending another company of Patricias to join the battlegroup in Kandahar, bringing Canadian strength there to 880. Notably, the new troops being sent are attached from the 2nd Battalion of the Patricias, in Winnipeg, not the remaining company of the 3rd Battalion, based in Edmonton, where the rest of the force hails from. Not sure what the competing commitment is that prevents the rest of the 3rd being sent instead.

The Star hasn't written much about Kandahar since their reporter there, Mitch Potter, was expelled by Canadian Army Public Affairs for allegedly revealing too much about Canadian and American deployments in stories he filed from Afghanistan.

While there are a lot of soldiers staging out of Kandahar, it's notable that the base's actual defense falls on only two battalions: the 1st Battalion, 187th Regiment, 101st Airborne, and the Canadian PPCLI battlegroup. If you subtract out all the Americans doing prisoner guard duty, flying helicopters, doing logistics, or stopping by en route to some other mission, it's likely the actual base defense troops will be barely over 50 per cent American after these latest reinforcements land.

Posted by BruceR at 10:02 PM