MacKay, as shown in these emails obtained by the Toronto Star under an AIA request, clearly abused his ministerial position for purely political reasons and put uniformed members of the Canadian Forces to work in a sphere which violates the apolitical requirement of every member of the armed services.
Military personnel were asked to dig up dirt on an opposition MP in the wake of revelations Defence Minister Peter MacKay was picked up in a search-and-rescue helicopter from a 2010 fishing trip, defence department records show.One clear point. Members of the Canadian Armed Forces swear an oath or affirmation to the Crown; not to a politician.
The morning of Sept. 22, Royal Canadian Air Force staff — including an officer posted in MacKay’s office — were digging through flight logs to find instances where opposition party MPs took rides aboard military aircraft, according to emails obtained by the Toronto Star.
The search fixated on Liberal MP Scott Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor), whose riding includes the 9 Wing Gander air force base and who was critical of MacKay in the initial CTV report.
By noon that day, the air force officials had found what appeared to be information that might take the edge of Simms’ criticisms.
It brings up another issue. MacKay was well aware that he could not justify his employment of RCAF operational assets for his own personal use. His subsequent actions in tasking RCAF personnel to a political activity further exacerbate the abuse of the original act.
And yet another issue. Some members of the RCAF are forgetting or have forgotten the responsibility which accompanies their wearing of a uniform and their membership in a disciplined Canadian institution. They are required to live within the bounds of Queen's Regulations and Orders, Defence Administrative Orders and Directives, subordinate command orders and instructions, and published SOPs. Living within that framework means steering well clear of any activity which may be perceived as "political". It also means refusing to accept unlawful commands and commands from those not authorized to issue them.
The Minister of National Defence has no authority to issue orders to individual members of the armed services. That office, responsible for a great many things in relation to defence policy, makes its requirements known and issues orders only at the very top of the uniformed chain of command - to the Chief of Defence Staff.
From the emails recovered in this instance, it is clear one particular RCAF major should have done one thing. He should have advised MacKay that he could not serve MacKay's request without higher uniformed authority being involved and offered to kick it up to the CDS.
MacKay should be fired and at least one RCAF major should be sent down for a junior leadership course so as to rediscover his actual reason for existence.