If only 1/4 of what has been reported in the press about the thoughts of Conservative defence critic BGen (Ret'd) Gordon O'Connor is true then the Conservatives are in deep intellectual trouble.
Mr. O'Connor is reported to have authored (or, at least pronounced) some monumentally silly ideas: JTF-2 in Goose Bay, procurement of JTF-2 equipment and, most recently, grenades as land mines being just three examples. His recent knee-jerk criticism of the CDS-sponsored visit to Afghanistan (for which he was rightly berated by MGen (Ret'd) Lewis Mackenzie) was completely unwarranted and, as Mackenzie pointed out, certainly did not reflect any interest in the welfare of the soldiers concerned.
If the Conservative Party of Canada wants to be taken seriously by those who serve in and support our armed forces then they need to enunciate and explain sound, sensible defence policies and not cheap, ward heeling vote grabs or downright silly critiques of the military. If critical comment is to be effective, it must be both constructive and educated. The recent pronouncements from the Conservative benches have been neither. What is required from the Opposition is a sensible, well thought out alternative to the Liberal program, particularly now that the Liberals have committed to adopting many of the proposals touted by the Tories in the last election. Opposition for opposition's sake does not serve the CF or the country in general.
Attention Mr. Harper: simply because someone wore a uniform "once upon a time" does not mean that they are cognizant of today's operational and strategic realities. Mr. O'Connor has demonstrated that he knows very little about either. He has done nothing for the CF since assuming the critics portfolio and has instead alienated a large number of those for whom he presumes to speak. Many serving and retired military personnel who are dead tired of the Liberals will not - cannot - vote Conservative so long as Mr. O'Connor remains in his current post.