Conservative Party of Canada attacks Steven Staples & the Rideau Institute

The Harper government is under increasing pressure on a number of issues regarding the military. A recent bulletin from the Conservative party angrily lashed out at its critics, including Steven Staples and the Rideau Institute, instead of actually addressing serious concerns about their policies (“NDP Still Anti-Canadian Armed ForcesConservative Party of Canada, 21 August 2012):

Thomas Mulcair himself has been critical of the investments we’ve made in our Canadian Armed Forces: “They’ve increased military spending… They’ve spent on things that weren’t necessary.” (CBC News Network, March 5, 2010)

The NDP leader at the time even criticized the selection of shipyards in B.C. and Nova Scotia under the $35 billion National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.

Steven Staples, President of the left-wing NDP think-tank, the Rideau Institute has lobbied for the NDP’s real goal: “The government should reduce National Defence spending, with the ultimate goal of returning to pre–September 2001 levels.” (November 16th, 2011).

The NDP’s opposition to our government’s investments in the Canadian Armed Forces has even led them to the extreme position of alleging that wars will be found to use the equipment being bought : “Will it become the case where our defence policies will be dictated by the military equipment we have?” (Translation) (Le Devoir, August 11, 2009).

NDP MP Denis Bevington even opposes the work of the Canadian Rangers to protect the Arctic:

“I’m not a fan of militarizing the Arctic. It would represent a failure of international diplomacy and co-operation. There is lots of room within this world for us to make a success out of international Arctic agreements and understandings. I think that’s where we have to go.” (News North, May 25, 2009)

NDP MP Peter Stoffer was on target when he said to the 2006 NDP Convention, “Where we as a party fall down is on issues of defence and foreign affairs.” (Chronicle-Herald, September 10, 2006)

Mulcair’s NDP has only one military policy – do nothing to support our military.

[emphasis added]

Of course, the bulletin neglects to mention that in 2010-11, spending by the Department of National Defence was estimated to reach $22.2 billion, which was 19% higher than spending during the final days of the Cold War and 40% higher than the days immediately preceding the attacks of September 11, 2001 (Steven Staples, “Canada Is Overspending on Defence,” Embassy, 16 November 2011).

Tough questions asked by Staples and other critics about why defence spending continued to rise even as Harper was making across-the-board cuts to government programs and the public service still have not been answered.

Photo Credit: DND

Tags: Canadian defence policy, Canadian military spending, Conservative government, Conservative Party, Defence policy, Stephen Harper, Steven Staples