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New Liberal Defence Critic: Hon Denis Coderre

Edward Campbell

Army.ca Myth
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This, reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act, is from today’s (18 Jan 07) Ottawa Citizen:

Dion names mix of old and new to shadow cabinet

Meagan Fitzpatrick, CanWest News Service
Published: Thursday, January 18, 2007

OTTAWA - Liberal Leader Stephane Dion named some fresh faces to his shadow cabinet today, but several veteran MPs - including John McCallum at finance and Ralph Goodale as House leader - held their positions.

With the environment expected to be one of the key issues to dominate the upcoming session of Parliament, Ottawa MP David McGuinty was given that post and will face off against fellow Ottawa MP John Baird, who was appointed environment minister during the Tory cabinet shuffle earlier this month.

“You have a good mix of continuity and renewal in what you will see now,” Dion told reporters at a news conference in Ottawa.

Karen Redman keeps her job as party whip and Lucienne Robillard was given the post of deputy House leader.

Dion also handed several key appointments to his former leadership rivals.
Toronto MP Michael Ignatieff, who came second to Dion at the party’s December leadership convention, is deputy leader of the opposition and will vice-chair a new committee.

Dion assigned the transport critic’s job to another Toronto MP and leadership contender, Joe Volpe. Scott Brison was given the industry portfolio. As expected, Denis Coderre was appointed defence critic, a challenging portfolio considering the divisive issue of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan. The choice of a Quebec MP for the post, replacing Vancouver MP Ujjal Dosanjh, underlines the fact that polls indicate support for the Conservative government’s policy in Afghanistan is always lowest among Quebecers. 
Coderre is considered an ambitious politician with a feisty personality that will contrast with Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor’s reserved style. The 43-year-old MP is a former immigration minister. Dosanjh will still play a role however, as foreign affairs critic.

Other appointments included: Bonnie Brown as health critic, Omar Alghabra as immigration and citizenship critic, Belinda Stronach as competitiveness and the new economy critic, Marlene Jennings justice critic and Mark Holland natural resources critic.

“This team will have the enormous responsibility of offering Canadians a constructive, effective opposition and to pave the way for an election that could come at any time,” Dion said of his new shadow cabinet. “We’re not hoping for it but we have to be ready for it, and we also have to pave the way for a future Liberal government which will focus on the major issues facing Canada,” Dion said.

In announcing the appointments, Dion spoke of the need for the Liberals to have a strong focus and to be cohesive. He called his caucus skilled, experienced, and high calibre.

“We have an opportunity to work as equals with a lot of collegiality and then to tap into that talent and skills of everyone as long as we are not all over the map and we have a strong focus,” Dion said. He added that he does not want an election in the coming weeks or months and he believes Canadians don’t want one either, but that the party is preparing for one.

Preparation includes a mentorship program for new candidates to learn from current MPs. Gerard Kennedy, who ran for the Liberal leadership but does not hold a seat in the House of Commons, is leading that initiative.

Dion also announced the creation of four new committees focusing on social justice, economic prosperity, environmental sustainability and Canada and the world.

“These four caucus committees will reflect my approach for the country,” said Dion.

He also announced a new priorities and planning committee to which former prime minister Paul Martin and interim Liberal leader Bill Graham will serve as special advisors.

© CanWest News Service 2007

A couple of points:

• Denis Coderre - http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/about/people/key/bio.asp?Language=E&query=9182&s=M - is a smart, experienced and ambitious politician; he plans to be prime minister of Canada.  He will be a formidable and effective critic – in sharp contrast to Ujjal Dosanjh.  I, personally, doubt that Gordon O’Connor will match well against him – O’Connor is a plodder, Coderre is a star.  The Liberals plan to use national defence to undermine support for the Conservatives.  There are not many dumb Liberals.

• The rumoured plans for modest increases in defence spending – so modest, in my view, as to indicate that Hillier and O’Connor are afraid to press a real, responsible case for rearming Canada and will settle for slow disarmament by stealth – may not be in danger of being gutted.  (Not that there could be much to gut when the proposed ‘growth’ is nothing more than inflation ± ½ of 1%.)  See: http://forums.army.ca/forums/threads/55999/post-513098.html#msg513098

• The new Liberal caucus committee on “Canada and the world” means that foreign and defence policy will be front and centre.  This will not be good news for the government which has shown an unwillingness or inability to enunciate a clear view of Canada’s role and responsibilities in the world.

I would have liked to have seen Bill Graham as defence critic.  He was a fairly good defence minister during the previous government.
Edward Campbell said:
The new Liberal caucus committee on “Canada and the world” means that foreign and defence policy will be front and centre. 
You're right; Coderre will definitely outshine O'Connor...especially with Vandoo rotos in the hopper.

However, the fact that they not only left Dosanjh in Cabinet (  :rofl: , sorry. Do they fear the Vancouver NDP vote that much?), but have him as foreign affairs critic weakens the argument that foreign policy is particularly important. After all, if they want to campaign on foreign policy, they'll have to discuss relations with the US, which is always a sure bet to stir up the granola & anti-Bush crowd.
The Libs have always used Anti-Americanism to bolster their polling numbers.  It really sucks that a political party has to stoop so low to get extra points (oh wait... it's politics and its the Liberals...)
hotelquebec9er said:
The Libs have always used Anti-Americanism to bolster their polling numbers.  It really sucks that a political party has to stoop so low to get extra points (oh wait... it's politics and its the Liberals...)

Check back in history and you will see every party has stopped to this level. Its nothing new nor is it unique to the Liberal party. ::)
How do you think Sir John A Macdonald got back into power after the scandal with the railways? ;)
Flip flopping with lightning speed..........


Where do the Liberals stand on defence procurement?
Douglas Bland
National Post

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

When the House of Commons convenes in January, the standing committee on national defence will begin detailed hearings on defence-procurement policies. The hearings will provide the Liberal party an opportunity to implement its pre-election promise to help rebuild the Canadian Forces, reform the defence-procurement process and expedite long-delayed major equipment contracts.

But now that the Liberals are sitting in opposition, that promise appears to have been an exercise in optics rather than policy.

Take the case of the new medium-lift planes our Armed Forces need to replace the 32 aging Hercules that make up the present fleet. On Nov. 22, 2005, then Liberal defence minister Bill Graham and Scott Brison, then minister for public works and government services Canada, the contracting agent for defence procurement, announced their intention to acquire 16 medium-lift aircraft to replace the Hercules fleet as the first step in a wholesale rebuilding of air-force transportation capabilities. The purchase, Mr. Graham announced, was central to the government's defence policy and "absolutely essential to the mission" of the Canadian Forces. The Herc replacement plan, moreover, would be "based upon a very small number of minimum performance requirements established by our military operational experts."

The ministers denied that these requirements worked in favour of the new Lockheed Martin Hercules C130J. Mr. Graham, however, emphasized that an operationally certified aircraft must be delivered within "36 months from when we sign the contract ? and we are going to work trying to get an aircraft earlier than the 36 month [deadline]." These criteria effectively blocked a bid from the only other competitor on the horizon, the Airbus A400M, which at best would not be deliverable before 2010 and more likely not before 2012.

Be that as it may, the urgency of the situation demanded, said Mr. Graham and Mr. Brison, "a streamlined ? procurement process." Mr. Graham declared that barring a spring, 2006, election, he would be able to get the whole package approved in six months. He assured Canadians: "I can promise you if this government is returned [in 2006] we are absolutely determined to proceed with this selection -- with this selection process and with the rest of the package as early as possible."

Yet the urgency that inspired Mr. Graham and Mr. Brison to act decisively a year ago is now a distant memory. The Liberals have mounted a concerted attack on the new Hercules C130J. In 2005, Messrs. Graham and Brison pegged the total cost of the aircraft and it supporting package at "around $4- to $5-billion." But they seem to have forgotten all about that: In Question Period on Dec. 12, the Liberals professed to be scandalized because the Conservative estimate for essentially the same aircraft package is $4.9-billion.

Denis Coderre, the newly appointed Liberal defence critic, has decried the C130J as an "expensive flying lemon," yet he said nothing of the kind when Mr. Graham promoted the same aircraft as defence minister.

The fact is that Paul Martin's defence policies in 2005 and Conservative policies today are almost identical. Both parties agreed during the last election on the urgent requirement to rebuild the basic capabilities of the Canadian Forces before they fail completely. They both pointed to the existing Hercules fleet as a first priority in a larger package that would also provide medium-lift helicopters and search-and-rescue planes. They both acknowledged that the current defence- procurement process is unreliable and could not produce a replacement for the Hercules in time to forestall the loss of our lift capability entirely.

What do the Liberals believe? It is a question that they have forced Canadians to ask in the face of their sudden opposition to government military-procurement policies they implemented when in office. Without a clear answer when Parliament returns on Jan. 29, voters might well be left to believe that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is right when he says: "We see here once again the Liberals opposing new equipment for our military under all circumstances, just as they did for 13 years in office when they starved the military."

- Douglas Bland is professor and chair of the Defence Studies Management Program at the School of Policy Studies at Queen's University, Kingston.
They're just pissed they can't spin off any contracts and free cash giveaways to their special inner circle of party supporters. Still two faced as ever. Just like skunks, lieberals can't change their stripes either.
Only a partial win...Dosanjh was giving me an ulcer, but....  :-[

The flip flop from Graham to Coderre does nothing for people who apply critical thought to the issues...that said, how many Canadians think that way (critically)?

From watching the debates, Mr. Coderre isn't an effective debater at all...he screams and yells alot, and throws out the odd good soundbite. Critical thinking be damned!