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Saturday, May 26, 2007 

General Hillier Getting More And More Political In His Speeches

Canada's top soldier, Gen. Hillier addressed the Economic Club of Toronto with what can only be called a purely political speech.

There was a time in the 1980s and 1990s when Canadians were not so united behind their troops, he said, which he blamed partly on a profound disconnect between the military and the public and partly on an organizational command structure that did not give Canada the strategic edge it could have had internationally.

Gen Hillier said that was no longer the case. He said the Canadian Forces was in the midst of a "revolution" that was changing "everything we do and how we do it..."

Gen. Hillier said this new vision of the Canadian military aims for what he called the "Vimy effect."

"The geopolitical strategic implications of Vimy, carry on to this day," he said. "What we want to do is sort ourselves out in such a manner and do our job in such a manner that the geopolitical strategic implications for Canada will resonate from every tactical job that we do."

Hillier's comments about the Canadian Armed Forces in the 1980's and '90's totally disrespects our peacekeeping missions and those men and women who served in Cyprus, Egypt, Rwanda, and numerous other locations.

Hillier's right wing political world view is showing through and I want a chance to vote against him. Oh wait, he serves Canada, I can't; he is not a politician.


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Why is a general speaking to the Economic Club of Toronto? When I saw a clip of him yesterday, my first thought is that he positioning himself for a run at office. Next Conservative leader?

He's probably about the same age as Harper. Nevertheless, I hope not.

I made a sort of throwaway post comparing him to Douglas MacArthur, now I'm thinking that there's really some substance to that comparison. Except in this case, instead of Truman reining in the power-mad general, you have Harper signing off on his demands.

It is disturbing that a serving military general has assumed such an active role in Canadian politics. Hillier is, of course, entitled to free speech but he has a duty to avoid abusing his office. Using his position as a pulpit from which to preach his political ideaology is an abuse of the trust we have placed in him.

If Harper has any guts he will fire the man. My guess - Harper is waiting for an excuse to do just that.

My fear is that Harper has given Hillier a green light to politic all he wants. The General basically uses all of the Tory talking when he speaks anyway.

Might he be considering a political future?

I do not believe Hillier's comments are designed to be interpreted, nor can they be interpreted as a discredit to our military service personnel. I think that saying that our public was desensitized from our military during the 80's and 80's is quite an insult to our people and our media; not our soldiers. It stands to reason it wouldn't be popular.

His reference to Vimy Ridge; which had over 10,000 casualties (wounded, dead and missing) only months after Canada suffered over 24,000 casualties during the Somme is a pivotal time in our history. It represents a time when the conflicts we were forced into and participating in gave our military the opportunity to do more than win a battle. Vimy gave our government additional political power through the strength and determination of our servicemen. It gave Canadian's a legacy; of international respect. In France; the highest point of Vimy is a Canadian war memorial; a national park of Canada granted in perpetuity to our people by the French.

When the peace of WWI was signed; Canada was recognized as a nation. This reasoning; can be directly correlated with those battles. Canada was the only British Dominion who had an independent signature in the Treaty of Versailles; as a nation.

A nation that referred to itself as Forged in Fire.

For our General to see opportunity to do more than just participate but lead nations and a desire to evolve strategies that do not involve slaughters (Vimy Ridge claimed 800,000 Casualties throughout the war before the Canadians captured it); but a desire to inspire policies and thought in the international community. To give Canada's words a stronger voice through our actions.

That he recognizes that there are geopolitical repurcussions and possibilities behind how he leads our military is a prerequisite of being a modern military man.

His ambition to increase our political strength through conflicts we are in; is something we should respect; not critisize.

I think he is saying; he wants to make the military more transparent to the public and provide training to troops at all levels to realize that they are a modern army; and each one of them is an ambassador for Canada. Every action of every solidier is scrutinized.

Insofar as why is he talking to Toronto's economic club? Perhaps he recognizes that lobbyists hold a great deal of sway over government policies; often more than public opinion. He knows an election is coming; and by convincing the Rich to support the military; perhaps they will fund a party that wishes to do the same. Better enabling him to do his job.

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