June 25, 2004

More evidence of a profoundly unmilitary nation

The Governor-General gave out two Stars of Courage, the country's second-highest honour for bravery, today. One went to an 11 year-old who courageously went for help after a snowmobile accident. The other one went to a Canadian Forces member.

Guess which one is not mentioned in any way in the Globe's writeup?

Since no one else seems to want to mention it, here's the full citation for MCpl D.M. Pawulski, from the GG's site:

On July 18, 2002, MCpl Pawulski, then Cpl, saved the life of a fellow crew member after their helicopter crashed in a heavily wooded area of northeastern Labrador. Following the aircraft's violent collision with the ground, MCpl Pawulski managed to extricate himself from the wreckage, in spite of serious back and neck fractures. Using a satellite phone, he placed a distress call after assessing the condition of his three teammates. With the still-roaring engines posing a serious threat, MCpl Pawulski freed the other surviving crew member from the twisted debris and dragged him away from the wreckage to render first aid. In spite of fading daylight and heavy rain, MCpl Pawulski, ignoring the pain from his own injuries, spent the next two and a half hours preparing signals for a search and rescue team to locate the site and airlift them to safety. Sadly, the tragedy claimed the lives of the two pilots.

I may start printing all SC citations on this site; not that there's many of them. Some one has to.

Posted by BruceR at 05:34 PM

Good post on military deployments, this

Evan Kirchhoff's got it about right. But even the numbers he's looking at are old news.

(Which, for no real reason, brings to mind my D-Day joke I never got to use because I was ignoring you all... why did none of the other Canadian political leaders join Paul Martin in France for the D-Day celebrations this June? Because they thought they were somehow going to end up in Norway.)

Posted by BruceR at 04:45 PM

Election best guess

Everyone else is making them, so I might as well do the same for Monday's election.

Conservative: 126
Liberal: 104
Bloc Quebecois: 55
New Democrat: 22
Independent: 1

Thanks to non-proportional representation, there's still a lot of swing in that final number: we're right on the tipping point from a popular vote point of view. Libs are basically +/-20 from that number at this point: able to pick up/lose an additional 5 seats to the BQ and 15 to the Conservatives, so they could still easily end up in first-place; but it doesn't matter because the Liberal collapse in Quebec has been so total. The Quebec separatist Bloc, which can't possibly get less than 50 seats, will probably designate the next PM, because with results like these there'd mathematically be almost no other way for either frontrunner to govern (155 seats required); either party will have to make significant concessions to Quebec exceptionalism and lean even more strongly to the left in both foreign and domestic policy to keep his coalition together. Either PM will probably try to hold off on actually having a parliament for the rest of the summer. New election within 12 months.

Ironically, conservatives in this country were counting the current PM to do better in Quebec in this election, in order to have any hope of getting some of their agenda through. Now, a Monday victory for them in votes or seats will be bittersweet, even symbolic, at best.

UPDATE: I actually put some thought into this over the weekend (after posting... what, you expected more from this blog?) and, while I obviously wouldn't change a jot, if you asked me the same question today, I'd say Cons 120, Lib 109, PQ 54, NDP 24, Ind/Green 1. I think the Conservatives went into the weekend on the downtrend, but that's also going to mean a little more vote-splitting that will work out to the NDP's favour than I anticipated. (Hey, if Coyne can give two predictions, so can I; only the first one counts for the bloggers' pool, though. Um, what do you mean, 'there's no bloggers' pool?' This is Canada... there's a pool for everything. There's a pool on what time I'll show up for work, for crissakes.) Again, still a LOT of throw there; the plus/minus is still about what I said it was.

Posted by BruceR at 04:39 PM

Kandahar: the bitter end

Given that Maj. Harry Schmidt was facing a maximum of six months in jail even if he was convicted on the lesser charges he would have gone to trial on, his copping a no-jail-time plea at this stage really isn't that relevant or surprising to Canadians. Conduct such as Schmidt exhibited is a menace to his own nation's troops as well as ours; the best all ground soldiers can hope for is one condition of his non-judicial punishment will be an end to his combat flying days.

It occurs to me that Mr. Harper, now in full "play-safe" mode, may have missed a potential "Sistah Souljah" moment here. A stronger statement saying that he was disappointed with the outcome, especially coupled with the PM's rather mealy "but... but... there was an inquiry" platitudes, would have alienated no one in his base, and might have won some of the Mel Hurtig nationalists, now sitting pretty much in the Martin camp. Now I'm hardly a card-carrying member of that constituency, but I've got to say if this was the strongest statement Harper can make when an American could be listening, then I'm less inclined to waste my precious time voting for him Monday, too.

Posted by BruceR at 01:27 AM