Obviously alarmed by my letter in the National Post today in response to Dinosaur Jack’s insulting attack against Canadians who don’t agree with his hawkish views, the Conference of Defence Associations rushed out its own counterspin email to its list of hundreds of military and media contacts.
The CDA is worried because when its funding deal with the Department of National Defence was revealed by the Globe and Mail, people were shocked to see the hoops that the DND demands CDA jump through to receive its slice of the military’s budget. (In case you missed it, here is the (once secret) $500,000 funding agreement between the CDA and DND.)
In its email to military and media contacts today, the CDA said:
Jack Granatstein in the National Post (see link below) writes on the current Canadian ‘peace movement’. Steven Staples of the Rideau Institute responds in a letter to the editor (see link below). We remind our readers that the CDA and the CDA Institute together conduct an annual seminar, an annual graduate student symposium, regular roundtables, and publish a reputable quarterly magazine ‘On Track’ and annual ‘Vimy Papers’. Its substantial ‘access’ to public servants, military personnel and representatives of the media is based on presenting credible and balanced information, and we take pride in our work. Contrary to what Mr. Staples says, the CDA does not receive “millions of dollars from the military to write op-eds and be quoted in newspapers” – our funding is $100,000 a year, and we have to fulfill a number of Treasury Board-approved requirements, including running our events and publishing our periodicals.
But of course it undertakes all of these activities – it has to because the military makes it a condition of the CDA’s funding!
For instance, the CDA’s “On Track” magazine mentioned above is part of the funding deal. Here’s what the DND contract requires of the CDA:
“Publish at least 4 issues of “On Track” each year with a distribution of 800 copies per quarter, and at least 1 major study per year with a distribution of 1500 copies, in addition to electronic distribution of all publications to a minimum of 750 targeted recipients.”
The deal also requires the CDA to submit everything to the military. The deal says:
“The CDA must place the [Department of National Defence] Directorate of Public Policy on its distribution list for upcoming events, conferences, and receive this information at the same time as members.”
“The CDA (or the CDAI) will forward a minimum of one copy of all publications produced in the fiscal year being reviewed.”
And the military even ensures it can make “a snap inspection” of the CDA:
“The [Department of National Defence] Directorate of Public Policy reserves the right to attend events for assessment purposes and to visit the CDA throughout the funding cycle.”
Of course all of these activities are absolutely normal. The Rideau Institute holds seminars, publishes reports, and gets calls from the media every day. But we don’t report our work to the military and stand prepared for a visit from a representative of Defence Minister’s MacKay’s office, and this work is not a condition of government funding.
I have urged the Conference of Defence Associations to give up this funding from the military and become truly independent. Come on…is it really worth it?