Sunday, January 05, 2014

Killing the Canadian Coast Guard. One massive hack at a time.

You would naturally believe that Harper and his hillbilly cohort would be strengthening the Canadian Coast Guard for several reasons, not the least of which would be to strengthen any claim on the Arctic with positioned Arctic escort ships, search and rescue and just plain hanging a flag. Another reason would be the woefully inadequate CCG resources to deal with the upcoming traffic jam in Douglas Channel. Given that Harper's national shipbuilding fantasy includes a bevy of new ships for the Coast Guard you'd expect them to be viewed as essential, and thus insulated from Harper hatchet work.

Not so, it would seem.
The ongoing gutting/changing of budgets and services at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the Canadian Coast Guard are beginning to defy logic.
The bulk of the cuts are expected to come within the Canadian Coast Guard, where the story said $20 million will be shaved off and as many as 300 people could be shown the door.
Many insiders knew the axe was going to fall, but I would hazard to say few people expected it to be quite this dramatic.
Ah yes. Harper didn't get his extreme austerity when he had a minority government. Given that it is the lone tool he knows how to use after being trained as second-rate economist, he intends to tell you in 2015 what a wonderful manager of the economy he is and kindly ignore the fact that our SAR resources don't sail, our aids to marine navigation have rotted on their cables and vessel traffic control in congested areas simply doesn't work. Oh yes, you might also want to ignore those 300 unemployed seafarers.
One of the more stunning elements could come in the form of what looks like a major reduction - a $4.2 million budget cut and 23 job losses - in Canada's offshore surveillance of foreign fishing vessels. That would mean less monitoring of foreign vessels fishing outside Canada's 200-mile limit. 
What's more perplexing than the decision is the rationale for it.
The powers-that-be suggest they've done such a good job of reducing "serious" (a word DFO has worked very hard to cut out of its list of fishing citation reports in recent years) foreign overfishing infractions in the last while that we just don't need as much monitoring any more.
I won't ramble on about the rationale, only to say it's comparable to firing the cops because you haven't had a serious crime in a while.
Bingo (I say in a singing voice).  This is the tough on crime bunch who, despite plummeting crime rates, spent billions and forced the provinces to spend billions to lock up more people than ever because they knew there was more crime out there than we could actually see ... or that we reported. You'll recall Brother Stockwell lying through his teeth to convince you that spending billions of dollars on crime prevention was worth it, if only because he loves watching people who make him feel icky, suffer. But when illegal fishing, particularly off the Grand Banks and the Flemish Cap gets curtailed ... (well, not so much curtailed as reported using different language to make it look like there are fewer violations) ... that's cause to dismiss your patrol force and the unique experts who staff it.
What is particularly interesting about this investigative piece is that it noted top bureaucrats in the department - including the deputy minister - have advised against making the cuts and have recommended spending be increased - not slashed.
If the federal government is making these cuts in spite of what their own top people are telling them, then why are they doing it, and where is that information coming from?
Ah, yes. The $200 million question. Where is their information coming from?  How about ... the PMO? The frat boys in short-pants don't know a coast guard from cattle dung. If it isn't important to them, to hell with advice.

And let's not forget the court jester running the Treasury Board. Tony Clement, a refugee from the Ontario Mike Harris fiasco, a man who never saw a tax dollar he couldn't spend on himself, simply told DFO to lose a few hundred million of budget line items. It doesn't matter what they are because this whole coast guard thing is way too expensive and anyway, they have no presence in Muskoka except to harass people about their boat operator cards.

It also demonstrates the weakness of Gail Shea, so-called Fisheries Minister. Clearly she has about as much influence at the cabinet table as Flaherty's pet cockroach. This wouldn't be happening if she'd threatened to resign, which makes her another Harper knob polisher.
(O)ne minute a bottle of champagne is being broken against a new Coast Guard ship or a brand new station is slated for construction.
The next minute, people who work on those ships or in those stations are getting their Records of Employment (ROE) and being shown the door. 
Government logic. Certainly an oxymoron.
No, not actually. What it shows is two things, both of which highlight the fiscal and administrative incompetence of Harper and his chosen ones. No logic, but worst of all no plan


the Keystone Garter said...

I like the French ship maker DCNS because they do tidal research. My industrial policy would be to give every Province repeated shots at a winner, ideally in an already fast growing municipality (like Winkler in MB) and ideally with a host of Crown institutions that teach values of a post-modern country and the Scottish Enlightenment (a library, daycare, Cdn history, and humanities core that explores ancient Greek culture and Scottish reverence for learning and peaceable uses of the IR technologies)...Some part of Halifax would get Quantum Computers instead of a shipyard; QCs are a winner but not in the hands of emotionally immature small-town cowards. Winkler would need some rationality; though there religious beliefs are probably of the good Gospel kind that funded the 1st schools.
NB would get tidal/wave. AB and SK plastic petro-chemical refineries...this would work for each State and State college as well. The innovation here is Core Curriculum, actual high quality-of-life corporate winners, and a European social net, to go with siting at growing cities well positioned to grow cheaply.
Airforces are structured to be able to take out certain classes of other air forces and other infrastructures, but to be vulnerable to better planes.
This is part of why I liked the F-111 and the A-10; they are both good at taking out ground infrastructures. The A-10 can probably be still serviced in a pandemic and in a situation of AI hacking into communications. There is a way of structuring military assets to be able to win against existing threats as well as future robotics and AI threats. It will be necessary to strike against nations potentially building Skynet. But you also need to strike against a domestic possibly DoD-employed cell that is hacking your own infrastructures. Here, all the software in the newest fighters is a weakness. If robots can pilot planes, you want enough munitions to be able to kill infantry. The F-111 has a large payload capability and the A-10 fires cheap bullets.
Bombardier can build SIGINT planes. They could probably build most of the non aerial superiority military aircraft needed. The munitions might need to be American.

the Keystone Garter said...

It is convenience all planes can be refitted for electronic intel purposes. Why I like the F-111 is it can hold alot of fly sensors. You monitor electronic emissions from a plane, you find a structure that is opaque, and you disperse your Mind's Eye anti WMD/tyranny sensors. The F-35 was okay if on budget. It was dreamed up in 1981 when the USAF had no idea if they even waanted air-to-air or air-to-ground superiority. They asked the contractors what they thought the USA needed. They tacked on the stealth specification at the very last minute of the R+D tender. Lockheed's early deisngs were drawings because 1984 computers were still only able to sim triangles. I'm not yet sure how important it will be to attack non-treaty participants. The F-35 would be useful for that. I'm looking at industrial policy in terms of sensors and anti-tyranny implements, but will also have aerospace libraries to lobby for.