Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Military response to the Liberal ad.

Our lads and lasses in uniform are pissed off. Rightfully so:

Soldiers past and present say they are insulted and outraged by a "despicable" and "incredibly stupid" Liberal campaign ad suggesting Canadian cities would be subject to military occupation under a Conservative government.

"It's pretty dumb to use soldiers as a wedge issue," said retired general Lewis MacKenzie, who ran for the Tories and lost in 1997. "It took my breath away; I just couldn't believe anybody could be that dumb."

"People I work with echo my disgust that Canadian politicians are now using Canadian Forces personnel, past and present, to threaten people into voting Liberal," said one airman from Cold Lake, Alta.

The airman, who has served for 26 years, wrote in the e-mail to a national veterans' group that the ad appears directed at least partly at immigrants whose experience with militaries are almost invariably negative.

"We can only see this as a desperate attempt to win a few votes from what some would call the ethnic minority," he said.

"We have been honoured to walk Canadian streets. We have gone to the aid of municipalities in ice storms and the odd snow flurry in Toronto. If a city asked us for armed help during a crisis (as in the Oka or FLQ incidents, both a Quebec problem), I hope we would serve Canada well."

Retired colonel Alain Pellerin called the ad an act of desperation that is particularly "despicable" since CF members - even the chief of defence staff - are muzzled and cannot publicly respond.

"To use the Armed Forces for a purely crass political aim, to me is despicable," said Pellerin, a former infantryman who heads the Conference of Defence Associations, a lobby group and think tank.

He said it's even more offensive given that it's virtually the only reference the Liberals have made to the military in the entire campaign.

The Conservatives are not proposing anything new, Pellerin added.

"The army with guns in the city - we've been there since the foundation of the colony. Most of the time they were there to help . . . like the Winnipeg floods, the floods in the Saguenay, the ice storm in Ontario."

In an online blog, former navy seaman Lance Levsen of Delisle, Sask., said he was angered by the ad.

"That ad doesn't attack Harper and the (Conservatives). It attacks me," Levsen wrote. "The group of people that this ad targets are suggested to be a threat to peace in our Home and Native Land. That was me. ME!

"That ad targets my comrades who had the courage to join a profession whose job description includes death. That ad targets the heroic people of the UN peacekeeping missions who stand between warring factions defending peace."


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