Don't prejudge soldiers' votes

Jeff Davis’s article in this week’s Embassy Magazine would have readers believe that soldiers will vote overwhelmingly for the Conservatives, but the article does not actually quote any soldiers.

Instead, it cites a trio of spokespeople from military-funded organizations such as the Conference of Defence Associations, and the hawkish historian, Jack Granatstein.

Davis quotes retired colonel Alain Pellerin, executive director of the Conference of Defence Associations: “I would suggest that most of the members of the Canadian Forces would probably vote Conservative in this election,” he said, “I think the message from the current Conservative government probably resonates more with the troops.”

We could all easily guess that Dinosaur Jack Granatstein and Col. Allain Pellerin (ret) will vote for Stephen Harper, since their groups get a lot of funding from his government, but do they also have some “Vulcan mind-meld” with Canada’s 62,000 regular military personnel that allows them to know who soldiers will vote for?

I think that we would all be surprised to learn that military families have the same priorities as the rest of the Canadian population.

During the 2006 election, I listened to an incredulous reporter interviewing a military wife who said she was far more concerned about health care funding than more money for military equipment.

And again, this week the CBC interviewed a military wife in CFB Petawawa who said that many wives wanted the troops home right away. Could they be planning to vote NDP? Sacre bleu!

In fact, when I last checked, Alexa McDonough, Canada’s leading voice for peace in Parliament, has been elected four times as MP for Halifax, one of Canada’s most military of cities.

I’d like Jeff Davis to get outside of Ottawa’s defence lobby beltway, and go and talk to real soldiers, veterans and their families. I bet we’d all be surprised to learn that they hold a wide range of voting intentions, just like other Canadians.

Tags: Defence lobby, Defence policy, Elections