Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Blurring the lines...

From the caption:

OTTAWA, ON— The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, and Mr. Laurie Hawn, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, train with Canadian Forces (CF) members from the National Capital Region in preparation for the 94th International Four Days Marches Nijmegen...Both Minister MacKay and Mr. Hawn will be participating this year. Between July 20th and 23rd , a Canadian contingent of 189 marchers will cover 160 km through the Dutch countryside — often walking the same terrain where many Canadians fell 65 years ago during the Second World War.

Hawn has half an excuse, but Peter MacKay, if you really want to wear the uniform, visit a recruiter. You'd make their fucking day.

I have to add to this. It's one thing if you're a politician touring a military facility and wearing the required personal protective equipment - SAFETY gear - such as helmets or life-preservers.

But it's a very different thing when the civilian minister of defence or any other politician suits up in a uniform of the CF that has nothing to do with personal protection in the immediate environment (Ottawa and Dutch roads, not a leafy green tactical environment) and proceeds train with them in public, and then go abroad with them on an international military activity. MacKay and Hawn have inserted themselves where no politician has any place being.

It's not only a baseless, shameless exercise in self-serving political theatre, it also blurs the line between partisan politics and the armed forces which absolutely must, in a democracy like ours, remain as clear defined as possible. It violates an institutional boundary on par with church and state, and represents a clear and overt co-opting of the armed forces for partisan political alignment. The Canadian Forces are not the Conservative Forces and are duty bound to serve any government we elect. MacKay is not a military governor occupying a colonial possession, he is not First Sea Lord Churchill, nor is he a political leader in a militarised state. However, politicians with martial fetishes tend to try to create them.

You don't need to have ever worn a uniform to understand how this works.

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