Author Topic: Toronto Star sowing dissension within the (top of) the ranks  (Read 3834 times)

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Offline MarkOttawa

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This really is yellow (red?) journalism (shared in accordance with the "fair dealing" provisions, Section 29, of the Copyright Act):

Can political battles be far behind?
Gen. Rick Hillier is supposedly eyeing premier's job in Newfoundland when he retires from the military

http://www.thestar.com/News/article/229405

Quote
Rick Hillier, premier of Newfoundland and Labrador?

Perhaps it's not so far-fetched. A persistent rumour in Ottawa this spring has the popular general taking up politics after he hangs up his uniform.

"I think people in the ranks understand that Hillier is awfully political. I hear people tell me he talks about running for premier of Newfoundland," said Senator Colin Kenny, who chairs the Senate committee on national security and defence.

It might not be such a big leap, say military observers, who argue that Hillier has dabbled in politics from the very moment he set his sights on the military's top job as chief of defence staff.

But he must wonder these days if a political life wouldn't be easier than the day job he holds now. In recent months, Hillier, the military's most outspoken ambassador in years, has found that life isn't easy under Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government.

The "energy" from the days when Hillier was appointed to the post in 2005 by then-prime minister Paul Martin "seems long gone," said Douglas Bland, chair of defence management studies at Queen's University.

"They were really simpler, if not naive days compared to what's been happening," he said.

"I think Rick Hillier is tired. I think he is working himself ragged ... and taking on his back all kind of difficulties."

Those "difficulties" were laid bare on May 30 when Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor publicly fingered Hillier and his bureaucrats for the foul-up that left at least one family out of pocket for funeral expenses for their son, who had been killed in Afghanistan.

Despite a military spending spree that is invigorating the department with new equipment and new troops, Hillier is finding all that comes at a cost – a Prime Minister who is front and centre on the defence file and a former general serving as defence minister who makes ill-considered comments.

But the problems run deeper for Hillier. More and more, the Prime Minister's Office is interfering with the department's communications strategy around the Afghanistan mission. Hillier's ambitious shake-up of the military organization has ruffled feathers and fuelled internal dissension.

The high cost of the Afghan conflict is forcing the defence department to delay other projects – like the planned purchase of new search-and-rescue planes.

And Hillier's bold plan to develop an amphibious unit that can quickly deploy to global hotspots has been put on hold.

Hillier's office has refused the Star's requests for an interview, despite requests dating to last November. His spokesperson says he has a backlog of interview requests.

Defence experts describe ongoing tensions in government about the military's budget woes, the strategy in Afghanistan and the long-delayed, oft-promised plan setting out the future direction of the armed forces.

"The entire machinery of government is convulsed over how to handle the war ... There's tension in the system," Bland said.

For a time this spring, there was open speculation that Hillier – appointed chief of the defence staff in February 2005 – would either quit or be dumped. That talk has died down but troubles remain between Hillier, Harper, O'Connor and Kevin Lynch, the clerk of the Privy Council, Ottawa's most powerful bureaucrat. The defence department has reportedly been unable to sell Lynch on the defence capability plan, a road map meant to lay out long-term spending priorities [emphasis added].

Kenny says Hillier deserves full marks for improving morale among the frontline troops, noting: "He's been very popular in terms of giving them self-respect. But he's got huge challenges in terms of managing the forces."..

...there's no doubt that the war – and the fallout at home – is proving costly for both Harper and Hillier, said historian Jack Granatstein.

"It's Mr. Hillier's war," Granatstein said. "He was the one who persuaded the Liberals to go into it. He's been the major spokesperson for it. Whether he's having any impact on the public, no matter how well he speaks, I think is highly doubtful. The poll numbers are dropping dramatically for his war."

Mark
Ottawa
« Last Edit: June 27, 2007, 09:46:40 by MarkOttawa »
Ça explique, mais ça n'excuse pas.

Offline desertfox115

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Re: Toronto Star sowing dissension with the (top of) the ranks
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2007, 16:28:06 »
Hillier can make his own ticket no matter where he goes. You can't please everyone and he willing to call the shots as he see them. Ottawa change by the mood swing and he has to march to there tune. :crybaby: ::)
Also he got along with both Liberals and Conservative party in office.
The Forces personnel respected him and that mean alot to him. :salute: :warstory: :cdn:

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Toronto Star sowing dissension with the (top of) the ranks
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2007, 16:38:08 »
With regard to Lynch vs. Hillier see this thread: General versus Economist.

Absent a coherent, cabinet and PCO approved approved grand strategy, Lynch was always, in my opinion, unlikely to agree any major DND long term spending 'plan.'

It's most emphatically NOT Rick Hillier's job to develop that strategy.  The main responsibility rest, almost exclusively, on the shoulders of Stephen Harper.  Ward Elcock, a variety of senior officials at DFAIT (possibly led by Drew Fagan) have key roles.  More important roles belong to: Rob Wright, at Finance, the Foreign and Defence Policy Secretary at the PCO, and Ian Brodie of the PMO.

I have heard no rumours (the only sort of information I might get) about such a WG.  But without the active, committed leadership of Prime Minister Harper nothing much is going to happen and O'Connor, Elcock and Hillier are going to get nothing more than a quick cup of coffee and a chat about the weather when visit the Clerk.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline dapaterson

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Re: Toronto Star sowing dissension with the (top of) the ranks
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2007, 16:49:02 »
It's most emphatically NOT Rick Hillier's job to develop that strategy.  The main responsibility rest, almost exclusively, on the shoulders of Stephen Harper.  Ward Elcock, a variety of senior officials at DFAIT (possibly led by Drew Fagan) have key roles.  More important roles belong to: Rob Wright, at Finance, the Foreign and Defence Policy Secretary at the PCO, and Ian Brodie of the PMO.

+1000.  There are clear lines in who does what to who in a democratic government.
Putting the *** in acerbic.

Offline retiredgrunt45

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Re: Toronto Star sowing dissension with the (top of) the ranks
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2007, 17:23:54 »
There's two sided to this situation.

 First off, Steven Harper is not the outspoken PM we had all thought he would be and he tends to sit out situations that he should be up and front with. To date the PC's have no clear mandate on what direction the military should take in the future, the war in Afghanistan has flab erghasted the PC's just like it did the Liberals and Hillier is just along for the ride. At the end of the day, he still must answer to the PM and the MOD. He may be the top soldier as far as the military is concerned, but he still only has a small part in the big picture, starring Steven Harper.

Secondly, O'Connor has pointed to many fingers in Hilliers direction to get out of some embarrassing situations a bit to often. He seems to think that by blaming Hilliers for his oversights, the opposition will overlook his shortcomings. He may have a been a decent military officer, but as a politician he has much to learn. Dion and Layton are having a field day with him and he's losing what ever credibility he last left rather quickly.

 I'm rather curious to see what happens when the house resumes in the fall, are we in for more of the same?
The first goal of any political party is to stay in power by whatever means possible. Their second goal is to fool us into believing that we should keep them in power.

A politician is like a used car saleman, he'll promise you a "peach" and then turn around and sell you a "lemon"

"Politicians are like diapers, they have to be changed often because their usually full of crap.

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Toronto Star sowing dissension with the (top of) the ranks
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2007, 17:30:48 »
I'm also guessing that a classic, national grand strategy is not at (not even near) the top of the very short list of 'most vital issues' Kevin Lynch gave to Prime Minister Harper last year.

If I had to guess I would say that the young, rapidly growing, poorly educated, hopeless aboriginal underclass worries him more.  I suspect that Lynch and his colleagues see a self-inflicted intifada in our near term future and they don't believe the CF is part of the 'right' response - necessary, perhaps, but not 'right.'
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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