Witness one of the questions asked by Conservative MP and former CF fighter jock Laurie Hawn during an appearance last week by Vice Admiral Dean McFadden, head of Canada Command.W.T.F.? I've been trying to find some sort of rational, sane, serious, political or policy explanation for this latest bout of CPC
Mr. Hawn used the vice admiral’s appearance to drill home the new theme being touted by the Harper government of the increasing threat to Canada from the Russians (a few days earlier the Conservatives had been getting great headlines about the supposed attempt by two Russian Bear bombers to challenge Canadian airspace).
“Are we concerned about any aerial incursions by the Russians for the Vancouver Olympics?” Mr. Hawn asked.
This question came out of the blue. VAdm McFadden hadn’t even mentioned the Russians as a potential threat to the Olympics. There is no indication the Russians are planning anything of the sort (of course an incursion into airspace over Whistler and Vancouver would likely been seen as an act of war).
Adm. McFadden indicated to Mr. Hawn that he was not concerned about any Russian “incursions.”
Not to be deterred, Mr. Hawn then started telling MPs on the Committee about how the CF-18s had been recently modernized and that they were doing a pretty good job “against the Russians” in the Arctic.
Afterthought: Something else is going on here. The Conservatives are making hay out of the Russians for some reason or other - two moments of manufactured crazy are not a coincidence. Maybe it's got something to do with gaining more domestic political traction out of their perpetually paranoid base who might be losing the faith after the budget/coalition/whatever fiasco. Or, perhaps they need a new enemy to distract us from failing Afghanistan. Or maybe this is really how they do Arctic sovereignty on the cheap. Scary words about Russians are cheaper than building fleets of ice/slush breakers. Or, it perhaps justifies CF-18 replacements during a recession, which in turn keeps Americans at Lockheed Martin and Boeing employed, which in turn keep certain defence stock portfolios healthy. Or maybe they want to keep the Russian air staff laughing. I don't know.
The relatively benign national embarassment of it aside, let's just hope Airshow et al don't talk the Air Force into doing something dumb like teasing Russian air defences outside of established custom. Because this little CPC gimick could very quickly turn not funny if they did.