The Quebec government has released an exchange of letters with Ottawa, where Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said the military would not help with the cleanup.The military role in aid to the civil power, disaster response, ends when it smacks into a possible business opportunity? Since fucking when?
Toews suggested that the military's role includes placing sandbags to protect property, but not picking up sandbags to clean up.
Toews also explained that the military should not stay behind because, if it performed any cleanup work, it would be competing with the private sector.
He wrote that he and MacKay had agreed on the subject — and, as a result, he never even transferred Quebec's request to the defence minister.
A rumour went around the troops during the Ice Storm of 1998 that Ontario Hydro was preventing Canadian Forces electricians and linesmen from restoring power to various areas because the former wanted the overtime hours. The military gets paid the same regardless. I have no idea if it was true, but that sort of selfishness pissed us off something fierce. Now, if this reads right, the Cons seem to be trying to privatize disaster response.
Here's a little bit of reasoning I was going to include in a different post. Climate change is inducing extreme weather events which are very likely worsen in the coming years. This month we've seen Slave Lake torched and major flooding in two provinces requiring military intervention. The Americans this month have lost entire towns and suffered three-figure mortality from tornadoes. Because we live in developed nations, we have an awful amount of "property" vulnerable to these events. More property and more severe environmental phenomena mean more deployments of the armed forces in response to natural disasters.
Thus domestic disaster response will be an increasingly important task for the armed forces in the coming years, utilising significant numbers of troops. The Ice Storm saw 15 000 soldiers mobilised, along with countless firefighters, police, hydro workers, and other skilled public services.
If the Conservative response to these events is to look for the 'market-based solution' or attempt to punish regions for not voting for them, they will exacerbate the severity of problem.
Then again, this is the MO of that class and we shouldn't be surprised.