Saturday, May 15, 2010

The surprised Peter MacKay

Update (Sat 6:20 p.m.) below.

Have not been following this story that closely but it's certainly worth a read now. The "...Chief of the Maritime Staff, issued a directive April 23 telling commanders that half of the navy’s fleet of 12 Kingston-class patrol ships would be de-manned and docked, because budgets are tight and money needed to be devoted to frigates and submarines." That April 23rd decision was announced on Thursday. It apparently came as a surprise to the Defence Minister. We know this because General Natynczyk "belayed" the order or rescinded it pending a further review and took the blame by stating this:
“It’s my job to make sure that my minister’s not surprised,” he said.
Who knows what is going on behind the scenes here, but suffice it to say that there are issues between MacKay and his department. Whether the Harper civilians are asleep at the switch or there's backroom budgetary bickering going on, we don't know. That's a bit of a problem. Got to be more to the story than this.

Update: Here's a fun theory that may be totally off base, but let's just throw it out there. Ban Ki Moon was here on the 12th, Canada's prospective seat on the Security Council is in issue, the navy makes this decision public on the 13th. If the navy had announced these major cuts on the 12th, that would have been too embarrassing and just not cool. But boy it was close. Just a thought.

Update (6:20 p.m.): From David Pugliese:
After speaking to a number of military personnel in the wake of Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Walter Natynczyk’s Friday press conference, it is clear the mood at NDHQ isn’t a happy one.

Natynczyk rode to the rescue of Defence Minister Peter MacKay, who has been under fire because of capability reductions ordered by Navy commander Vice-Admiral Dean McFadden.
“We have not stood down a single ship,” claimed Natynczyk even though the process of preparing some Kingston-class vessels for docking had already begun.
The big question is how to adjust resources?

The money for operations has to come from somewhere. Will the government provide additional funds or will the military rob Peter to pay Paul?