Saturday, June 04, 2011

Sneaky

Updated (Sunday a.m.) below.

File under things that might have been inflammatory during a federal election that are now being rolled out and are objectionable.
The Canadian military is in talks to establish a permanent presence in up to seven foreign countries, the Minister of Defence confirmed on Thurday, marking the first time since the end of the Cold War that Canada has aimed to expand its military reach around the globe.

“As we look out into the future what we obviously try to do is anticipate where and when we will be needed,” Peter MacKay told reporters in Ottawa.

The plan, dubbed the Operation Support Hubs Network, involves establishing a permanent presence in up to seven countries including Senegal, South Korea, Kenya, Singapore and Kuwait.

In addition, Canadian officials have already signed agreements with Germany and Jamaica.
Canada is not a global military power and the need for permanent facilities in "up to seven" countries is not a discussion we've had. Yet some agreements have been signed.

There is the whole expense question too, as we see the choices being made by the Harper government, prioritizing such military expansions as above when the government is simultaneously talking up an era of restraint.

Further, there's the disregard for more civilian based efforts, such as increased support for Foreign Affairs, for example, for democratic institution building. The uprisings in Arab countries have demonstrated a real need for support of that nature from western democracies, Canada could be making a real difference that way. Those are choices we could be making.

This looks like a face-changing move for Canada and it's a little surprising to be reading about it just within one month of a federal election.

(see also)

Update (Sunday a.m.): Apparently there is an effort to dial this story back: "Canadian Bases Overseas. Maybe or Maybe Not." Reads like they're conscious of the blow back and are engaged in public relations.