With this attack ad dominating the news this week and being a member of the Canadian Forces, I thought I would comment.
Firstly, this is rightly perceived as an attack on the military. How is a CPC policy of adding a few hundred soldiers to various major centers a threat? The ad seems to imply "Soldiers. With guns" are somehow a threat to civilians. Perhaps they are in various lawless dictatorships where our soldiers are often sent, but I cannot see how anyone would believe this would be a serious threat in Canada. This ad revels to me that the Liberals seem to think that soldiers (meaning me) are a threat to democracy.
Yesterday, I was at my military office doing a bit of work. This young journalist from the Edmonton Journal came in looking for some comments on the ad. He had already been to the Base, trying to get comments from passing soldiers at the Robin's Donuts. I laughed. I asked him how he did. He completely struck out. I explained to him that soldiers are told that they can speak to the media (as soldiers) about things that they have direct knowledge about. If you are a journalist and want to do an article on how a machine gun works, they will be happy to get someone who knows everything about it. However, the reverse of that is soldier are told not to speak about something they do not have direct knowledge of. If a journalist asks me to comment, as a soldier, on the CPC policy of stationing a few hundred soldiers in major centers to help with disaster relief, etc, my reply would be "I don't know". And I don't. I, (Marcel, private citizen) have thoughts on the policy, but as a soldier, I have nothing to do with disaster relief policy. The basing of soldiers, the costs involved and relative merits, are not my area of expertise.
That said, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what a soldier would say about the Liberal attack ad. My perception of that ad is one that almost everyone would agree with, Liberal candidate protestations to the contrary. Soldiers are fairly well educated and you would be hard pressed to find a serving member who did not have at least a high school education. Most military members would come to the same conclusion as I.
Now, here is a bit of a tip about Canadian soldiers. They really believe the "good guy" stuff that we have been feeding them these past 20 years. Very few see themselves as instruments of coercion for the state. They see themselves as peacekeepers. So, now Martin and his bunch are saying that soldiers are a threat to democracy.
How would that make you feel?
Of course, no soldier would give this journalist what he wants. Why would they? It should be blindingly obvious what a soldier would think about the ads, so why risk punishment by breaking the rules? And punishment is likely. We see ourselves as defenders of Canada and that means it is important to be above politics. We defend the country, not any political party. Showing favouritism to any particular party calls that into question. Even me, who despises the Liberal party and what it has done to Canada and the military, would have no problem reprimanding someone who broke this rule.
That said, I noticed a few letters to the editor in the paper where serving military members spoke out against these ads and included their rank. This is a bit of a risk. That even a few are willing to state their opinion and take that risk should say something to every Canadian on what we think of this issue.
The Liberals have been destroying the military since 1993, when they cancelled the EH 101 contract. Everyone knows this, military members experience the effects of Liberal policies on a daily basis.
I think you would be hard pressed to find any serving military member who would vote for the Liberals in this election.