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Cons: Put your money where your mouth is over “supporting the troops”

Ever since the Conservatives have come to power, they’ve tried to paint themselves as being the only party that supports the troops. Of late however, that claim – which was dubious to begin with – has even had the military folks questioning it. First, we had Harper’s communications person Sandra Buckler doing what I’m presuming is instinctive for Conservatives – which is to blame everyone else for their troubles – and saying the military were the ones who didn’t tell the government about the detainees not being handed over to the Afghani authorities. That went over like a lead balloon, and she had to hurriedly retract it.

Now, we have a soldier publicly blasting the Canadian Armed Forces for issuing them substandard equipment:

A Quebec soldier has reignited a lingering controversy with claims the equipment issued to him and his colleagues from the Royal 22nd Regiment is shoddy and ill-suited to the combat mission in Afghanistan. The Canadian military boasts its soldiers are among the best-equipped in the world, but those claims don’t square with the frequent grumbles from the front lines. Frustrated by what he termed the Canadian Forces’ unwillingness to act, Cpl. Daniel Beaulieu took the unusual step of going public, contacting a reporter from the Quebec-based TVA network this week… Tactical vests issued to infantry soldiers are substandard and don’t have enough pockets to carry spare ammunition, Beaulieu said, adding that holsters for side arms are so poorly designed weapons routinely slide out – a major problem given soldiers’ pistols are often loaded. Boots that bite into soldiers’ feet on long marches are also a problem, he said.

That accusation sent the government into scramble mode, with Peter MacKay issuing a statement that the government tries its best to get good equipment, and the military holding a news conference where they claimed the majority of the soldiers were happy with the equipment.

I’d humbly suggest to Petey MacKay that while you’re looking for all that extra heavy equipment you want to buy to send to Kandahar, you throw in a few extra bucks and get our troops some proper clothing and boots. Those can’t be that hard to find. Put your money where your mouth is and get what they need, rather then mouth plaudits all the time and cast aspersions on others who don’t believe in your Afghanistan philosophy that they somehow don’t support our soldiers because of it.


9 comments to Cons: Put your money where your mouth is over “supporting the troops”

  • Barkman

    <i>Let me point out a couple. Instead of glory, Somalia brought infamy.</i>
    And yet, after 2 and a half years and 25 million dollars was spent on the investigation without any conclusion or resolution into the matter being reached, and with no further consequences for any of those involved in the alleged cover-up, the Government of the day shut down the Somalia Inquiry before we could find out who was responsible.

    Which Party was responsible for that little bit of "infamy" again? Oh yeah, the Liberals! 😀 

  • Paul want them all to die in a needless war that can’t be won with the strategy and equipment they have. He really loves the troops. What are you Scott some kinda free-thinking pinko? He supports the right to die for no reason, why don’t you?


    Paul…go post that horse-crap over that the Galloping Beaver and see what kind of treatment you get. Crawl back under your rock at Cjunk where you belong.

  • Paul

    Like there is somebody in the world who believes you give a shit about our soldiers Scott. The fact that you would even mention this article proves you are clueless about the military in any event.

  • Aaron has just done another example of the Conservatives and their supporters blaming everyone but themselves for something that comes up to trouble them. We’ve seen it from the Environment to Chalk River to now inadequate army supplies.

    I couldn’t have asked you Aaron, to give me a better example of this blame game the Cons. pull  then what you just did. Thanks very much.

  • Scott, we’ve seen this con game played more than once since Harper took office. Someone in the military complains and every trips over themselves to throw more money at them. Here was the last time they did it.

    By the way, fix the coding in my last comment. Thanks.

  • Being as you are a supporter of the party that, under your hero Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien, systematically dismantled the Canadian Forces by slashing its funding

    I call bullshit:

    Former prime minister Pierre Trudeau may still be widely reviled in the military community as a "pinko" who slashed the budget of the Canadian Forces in the ’70s, but a new analysis done by Parliament’s research branch ranks him as the top spender on defence in the last 37 years.

    By the way, Aaron. Harper completely agreed with the military spending cuts when he was an MP with the Reform Party.

  • I’m a former Canadian infantry soldier. This made national news because Afghanistan is in the news. One thing the media hasn’t reported is that troops ALWAYS bitch about their kit – whether it’s peacekeeping, in a war zone like Afghanistan or doing a live fire exercise at CFB Gagetown.  There is no 100% perfect kit available and any soldier worth his salt learns to improvise. Does it mean the guy is wrong for making his complaint available to the national press? Not really – he wants better ammo pouches. (Most soldiers I served with chucked their ammo pouches and stuffed their pockets with mags for their C-7 rifles. Disposable pre-loaded magazines was what we really craved.) Another thing to remember is that kit can only be tested under a bunch of assumptions when you’re not in a war zone – the stuff this guy is complaining about was designed to assume that Canadian troops are operating in a peacekeeping environment. (And in peacekeeping, if you’re armed at all, your fully loaded magazine is kept OFF your weapon and the bolt of your rifle is fully forward) What I would hate to see is this guy’s legitimate beef about his kit become fodder for partisan sniping between Liberals and Tories to score cheap political points that matter only to Liberals and Tories and not one tiny wee bit to the average voter out there.

  • Luke

    ALW how conveniently you forgot to mention the 8 years of your hero, Brian Mulroney (I have nothing to hide, but don?t look into my tax records) rule where he dismantled the CF in more ways than one. Let me point out a couple. Instead of glory, Somalia brought infamy. With the army?s resources stretched to the limit, the only troops available for the mission were the Canadian Airborne Regiment, a proud fighting unit with a lineage dating back to the heroics of Canadian paratroopers during the Second World War.A decade ago, the Netherlands took delivery of seven medium-lift Chinook helicopters formerly belonging to the Canadian Forces. Why?  Because the Tory government of Brian Mulroney decided it would rather have the cash.Let?s not forget the hardship CF soldiers endured with a pay freeze from about 90-96 due to Mulroney?s incompetent fiscal polices. He took off with his envelops of cash and left the Libs with an empty vault.

  • ALW

    1) Being as you are a supporter of the party that, under your hero Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien, systematically dismantled the Canadian Forces by slashing its funding, and repeatedly attacked conservatives who supported the military as military-industrial complex warmongers, your credibility in terms of genuine concern for the armed forces is pretty much less than zero.
    2) I really, really, really don’t think the Liberals want to start adopting, verbatim, what soldiers in the field are saying – since you and I both know what the overwhelming majority of them think of Stephane Dion, the Liberal position(s) on the mission, and the Liberal Party’s treatment of the armed forces in general. But I guess it’s okay for you to pick and choose when to listen to them. When they talk about their pride in and support for the mission and their sincere belief they are making a difference, you have a tin ear; but when they say the boots they are being issued are uncomfortable, you’re all over it. Because hey, it’s politically beneficial for you to beat the Tories over the head with it!  Maybe in another post you can explain how you’re really behind them all the way, but it’s just that you think what they’re doing is pointless. 
    3) Now that a complaint has been raised, the Harper government will at least take it seriously and try to fix it. Under successive Liberal governments, the military complained repeatedly and was ignored every time until Paul Martin came to power, because there were no votes to be had in increasing funding for the military.

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