Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Mea culpa

Babble on.

It looks like I was a little too quick to condemn our new CDS as just another bureaucrat in uniform.

In his change of command speech - his first public statement as Chief of Defence Staff - he bluntly stated that the CF needs more money. In fact, he phrased it as an admonition to two of his political masters seated on the dais with him: Paul Martin and Bill Graham.

"In this country, we could probably not give enough resources to the men and women to do all the things that we ask them to do," [Gen Hillier] said at the Ottawa ceremony marking the transfer of command from his predecessor, Gen. Ray Henault. "But we can give them too little, and that is what we are now doing. Remember them in your budgets."
"The difference is that he said it in public. . . . So at least he's broken that taboo," said [Conservative Defence Critic Gordon] O'Connor, a former brigadier-general and once Gen. Hillier's superior officer.

Nicholas pointed me to another story that, if accurate, also raises my estimation of Gen Hillier.

A senior defence department official said Gen. Rick Hillier took one look at the much-ballyhooed defence policy review shortly after his promotion Jan. 14 and scrapped it.

"It was boring, dry and dreadful," an official close to Hillier told Sun Media of the report, which would have had the blessing of outgoing CDS Gen. Ray Henault.

Contrary to what I wrote earlier, this is a promising start. I definitely jumped the gun on Hillier. Now let's see how hard he fights and how effective he is.

Babble off.


At 12:52 p.m., Blogger Andrew said...

I agree - he's shaping up to be an excellent man for the job.

At 1:58 p.m., Blogger Timmy the G said...

Absolutely - what a breath of fresh air into the stale bureaucratic halls of Defence Command. I'm almost hopeful.

At 8:48 p.m., Blogger Chris Taylor said...

I would have been more impressed had he refused the job and told the pols to go to hell. Having a CDS concerned about the mission and the men is good, but still impotent. Hillier will have many years of frustration ahead, since he is powerless to procure more funding or define clear foreign policy goals. Those areas are quite properly the province of politicians; thus having politicians with the spine to lead and fund will be the real breath of fresh air.

At 11:09 p.m., Blogger Timmy the G said...

Gotta start somewhere, Chris. If he had refused the job, what sort of ineffectual person would we have ended up with?

Hillier gave the PM and Defence Minister a rebuke in public in his very first speech. I'd say he's got the balls for the long haul ahead.

Let's at least be pleased with a bit of progress in this area.

At 10:50 a.m., Blogger John the Mad said...

Most wonderous phenomena! This general will be interesting to watch. But it all depends on the moola. Will the budget give the CF the cash it needs? I will believe it when I see it, and right now I don't see it.


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