The government's recent decision to purchase F-35 fighter jets to replace Canada's aging fleet of CF-18 Hornets has driven at least one point home to the Canadian public:
The Toronto Star seems to have attracted a stable of peacenik writers who simply refuse to acquaint themselves with reality.
Previously, it was Michael Byers, the foreign policy "expert" who implicitly suggested that Canada simply doesn't need fighter jets. Now it's Linda McQuaig.
Writing in an op/ed, McQuaig starts out by suggesting that Canadians simply don't want a new fleet of fighter jets.
"Of all the things Canadians want from their government, my guess is that new military fighter jets would probably rank close to last," McQuaig writes.
"But new fighter jets are what we’re getting," she complains. "Despite the enduring popularity of peacekeeping among Canadians, the Harper government continues to ramp up war-oriented military spending, most recently with its announcement of plans to buy 65 F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin."
McQuaig is clearly clinging to the Pearsonian model of peacekeeping despite the fact that the nature of modern conflicts -- which, as opposed to being inter-state conflicts tend to be ethnic or religious conflicts -- has rendered it obselete.
Few know this better than the person whom McQuaig likely hopes her criticism of this purchase would benefit -- Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff.
Ignatieff has made it clear on numerous occasions that the peacekeeping model people like McQuaig favour is simply no longer applicable to modern conflicts -- including Darfur, where McQuaig has previously made it clear she would like to see Canadians deployed.
During a 2008 speech at the University of Alberta -- carried in full exclusively at the Nexus -- Ignatieff cast doubt on a Darfur deployment as a peaceful alternative to deployments such as Afghanistan.
"The problems in Darfur are extremely serious. Sometimes people can say that 'if I can just go there. Why Afghanistan? Why not Darfur?'. The only thing to bear in mind when you say that is just think about what a deployment of Canadians in Darfur would look like.In a combat mission such as that in the Sudan, the paramount goal of Canadian forces wouldn't be to advance McQuaig's far-left hippie ideology. It would be to accomplish the goals of the mission with a minimum of casualties.
It's 55 degrees centigrade. There's no cover anywhere. Do you think the Janjaweed are going to get off their camels and walk up when they see a Canadian flag and our hand? No. It's a combat mission."
That demands air cover -- the kind of air cover provided by helicopters, and by a fighter jet like the Lightning II, that can hover and deliver its munitions in close combat situations.
McQuaig, however, clearly refuses -- simply refuses -- to acquaint herself with this reality.
Even McQuaig's insistence that the looming end of Canada's combat engagement in Afghanistan should lead to a reduction in military expenditures is highly suspect.
After all, the reduction in Canada's hard power capabilities led to situations like in Rwanda, where an under-sized, under-equipped and under-supplied contingent of UN peacekeepers -- under Canadian command -- were forced to stand impotently by while more than 800,000 were ruthlessly slaughtered.
In Canada, the lack of political will to make the appropriate contribution to that mission was compounded by the lack of political will to even have that capability in the first place.
Simply put, when people like Linda McQuaig criticize Stephen Harper's government for investing in Canada's military capabilities, they are simply talking out of their ass.
L:nda McQuaig doesn't know the first thing about these kinds of issues, and she never has. By the force of her own will, she never will.
McQuaig's commitment to a discredited peacenik ideology not only fails to save lives overseas, but would actually put the lives of Canadian servicemen at an unacceptable level of risk.
One could offer Linda McQuaig a crash course in reality, but any attempt to educate her in such matters will plummet to Earth faster than Canada's fleet of CF-18s will if not replaced in the near future.