A Deep Question

HCMS Victoria

The picture on my left is copyright SPG Media and is courtesy of this website. This post is crossposted to the BlogsCanada eGroup

Mentioning my facetious response on what we should do with our unexpected surplus riches (buying a few good subs), my father disagreed, raising an interesting question:

Why subs, exactly?

In all of the kerfuffle over the purchase of four lemons from the British Navy, I and a number of others had just come to assume that Canada needed submarines, and that our focus should be on getting our money back on these and buying decent ones. But why? What do subs do that would be of benefit to Canada? How do they defend our sovereignty? Would not our money be better spent on, say, icebreakers? Or destroyers? Or ships capable of carrying Sea King helicopters? Or something to replace the Sea Kings at last?

You can’t exactly park a Sea King on a submarine and then submerge it, so submarines aren’t quite destroyers that sink. So what purpose did the original purchase of the four submarines serve? Other than covering the shame that the West Edmonton Mall had a larger fleet than we did.

I admit that our military is overdue for a reinvestment, but over and above that, it needs a rethink. What do we want the military to be capable of in this day and age, with our nation of tremendous size but small population? How shall we support our peacekeeper operations, if indeed we decide to continue with peacekeeping? Are we suited for (and should we be suited for) minor support roles for various expeditions by the world’s only superpower? Or should we concentrate on responding to the needs of Canadians during natural disasters?

Truthfully, this has not entered my mind nor, I’d wager, the minds of many Canadians. And I agree that it is time for this to change. You can’t blame the questions surrounding the state of Canada’s military strictly on the Liberals, I’m afraid. The responsibility for not thinking about it lies with a significantly larger chunk of the Canadian population. So, mea culpa.

But that’s in the past. I’m interested now. Let’s talk about this, and decide what we’re going to do.

We Just Flipped the Numbers and Got Our Surplus

One of the rumours I heard out of the blogosphere was that the $9.1 Billion Canadian surplus wasn’t a surprise so much as it was some poor, lowly treasury department official accidentally flipping the numbers and making it look like the government’d had only a $1.9 Billion surplus.

If the government is offering this up as a serious explanation, this ranks right up there with the fuddle-duddle dodge.

Legal Heat in the Blogosphere

Don from AllThingsCanadian has an interesting post in the BlogsCanada eGroup about a disagreement between Canadian uberblogger Warren Kinsella and a few other bloggers. Be sure to read the full post and the comments that follow, because it’s an interesting read.

To sum up very briefly, Mr. Kinsella disagreed with some items that some bloggers had posted and made his feelings known. The other bloggers noted his disagreement, and resented the weight with which he presented his disagreement. That’s the reason why this matter is now up on the eGroup.

Mr. Kinsella comments on the article noting (edited):

let me ask two hypothetical questions:

  1. If you were accused of being complicit in a soldier’s death, would you let it stand?

  2. If one of your parents recently died, and was called “retarded” by someone trying to get at you, would you let it stand?

Jim Elve replies (edited):

My answer to Warren’s hypothetical questions would also be no. (But — added by me later for clarity —jb) I’m not sure that threatening a lawsuit would be my method…

As I said, read the post and read the comments for yourself. Myself: I’d be leery of suing somebody either, no matter how mad I got. Doing so runs the risk of your action generating the very publicity you hoped to avoid. However, I note that Mr. Kinsella is a lawyer, and I’m not. For him, he has a tool at his fingertips that I don’t have. I’m a writer of young adult fiction. What could I possibly do with that ability?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to write about Ray Corrie and his terrible encounter with the sucking mudhole…

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