Wednesday, July 25, 2007

CDS takes on silly Conservative campaign promises

This sure needs a lot of guts; one can hardly call Gen. Hillier partisan now:
The federal Conservatives' campaign promise to create new army units across the country appears to be in doubt after the country's top soldier suggested the proposed units are unnecessary.

The Conservative party's Canada First defence plan included proposals to establish a new airborne regiment and as many as 14 territorial defence battalions stationed in cities across the country.

But in an exclusive interview with CBC News, Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier says some of the proposed new units are unnecessary.

Hillier said there are no plans to revive the airborne regiment, which was disbanded in 1995 after Canadian soldiers beat a Somali teenager to death during a peacekeeping deployment to the African country.

"We're meeting all the operational demands that we would possibly have to meet with an airborne capability right now," said Hillier.

Each of Canada's three regular force infantry units fields a company of about 120 paratroopers, he said.

As well, every soldier posted to the new Canadian Special Operations regiment is qualified as an airborne trooper, said Hillier. Set up in 2006, the Petawawa-based regiment supports regular and special forces, including the top-secret Joint Task Force 2.

The general also poured cold water on Conservative plans to create up to 14 territorial defence battalions.

"We're not in the business of creating new units. We have sufficient units [hmmm - MC]," he said.

Under the Tory plan, each unit was to be made up of 100 regular and 400 reserve force personnel. A 2006 news release from Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor said the proposed battalions would be "the first line of response to any disaster."

However, Hillier did say the military has decided to revamp its existing reserves to help meet the spirit of the Conservative promise...
The general has some spirit indeed.

An earlier post of mine on the subject (taking a certain journalist to task), plus a discussion thread at

Update: A Globe and Mail story.


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