Editor’s Corner article

Three items... will they ever change?
CHRIS MacLEAN  |  Mar 15, 2012

There are three items on my “are they hopeless?” list.

(1) Defence Procurement. Has the system has improved? Somewhat. Yet the process is broken. The Secretariat bandwagon may be a good choice to assess the entire process and revamp it; it may take 5-7 years, as was the case when Malaysia reorganized its Coast Guard; but it needs to be done. Appointing another Talking Head isn’t getting us anywhere. We are all tired of talk. Surely the Prime Minister can find someone who has what it takes to objectively assess the entire system and develop an intelligent, straightforward and unbiased replacement. The PM will have to back it up with the authority and funding to allow change to be implemented. It should be someone who actually cares, impartially, about all stakeholders – from government to industry to taxpayers (unfortunately the first and third are not one and the same). It is important to connect with all of these groups. It is not acceptable to create a system that depends on the defence industrial sector yet refuses to address its concerns. Likewise, it is important to understand the workings of government and parliament, without being restricted to following the status quo. I can think of a ­certain former Bloc MP who might be encouraged to run as a Conservative. Despite his unfortunate previous party affiliation, Claude Bachand was always highly respected among the defence community for his accessibility, for his determination to understand the military and defence communities, and for his desire to make a positive ­difference for Canada.

(2) Search and Rescue. Let’s start by prioritizing rescue over recovery, and stop hiding behind “jurisdiction” when it comes to lives in peril. In other words… “to heck with the regulations, we have to save this person” would be a more appropriate protocol. Yes, we need to change the protocols (thanks to Minister MacKay for implementing one change quickly) – we need to change some laws too. So? Get it done. What are you waiting for? I dare an opposition MP to argue against it. Who should do this? The National Search and Rescue Secretariat has eaten our taxes for the last 26 years – there has been enough thinking on the subject. We need an ambitious and energetic Director who can lead real action. And incorporate the Rangers into any plan for the North!

(3) Communication Control in the federal government. Don’t get me started (I’ll need a LOT more room). I’m at my wits’ end on this one.

Chris MacLean, Editor of FrontLine
© FrontLine Defence 2012