In an editorial just below the Ruxted Group invited political parties to give some thought to national defence. We did not expect defence policy to become a major issue; it did not, but it was used – by all parties – to embellish their campaigns in specific ridings. Too bad, but we quite understand.
The Ruxted Group congratulates the Conservative Party of Canada and Prime Minister (elect) Harper on running a good, solid, issue oriented campaign; we congratulate them on their success and wish them well.
We wish to offer one, and only one piece of advice: time spent in recce is seldom wasted.
This is an old soldiers’ maxim which reminds one and all that it is better to look before leaping, etc. We want the new government to continue to rejuvenate, rebuild, re-equip and transform the Canadian Forces. We think it will do that best if it avoids knee-jerk actions, even to keep campaign promises.
We remind political leaders and Canadians, at large, that the Canadian Forces has, in the not too distant past, suffered from a range of problems – including documented failures in leadership which led personnel (all ranks) in the fleet and the field to lose confidence in their own military leaders and in the officials and politicians who direct them. We believe that a generation of leaders have, slowly (but not always surely) turned that around and that they created an environment into which General Hillier and his team could move and within which General Hillier could embark on his welcome transformation project.
The new government will not want for advice, including advice on defence policy, force structure, equipment and so on. Some, indeed much of that advice will be expert; much will also be self serving; that includes our advice.
We would like to remind Prime Minister (elect) Harper that he has expert, impartial advisers, including Deputy Defence Minister Elcock and, especially, General Hillier. We believe that these advisers have good, solid ideas – perhaps not the very best ideas, certainly their ideas are not above being fine-tuned or changed, but good ideas which, importantly, are shared by the men and women in the fleet and the field. We hope they get a full, fair, thoughtful hearing before the government takes action.
We wish you well, Mr. Harper and we hope you hit the ground walking so as to avoid the pitfalls and minefields.