Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Bring The Force To The Cities

If crippling natural disaster or insurrection were to strike one of our major cities today, and the armed forces had to provide aid to the civil power, too much time would be lost scrambling to find airlift capacity to bring them in from far-flung bases.

Stephen Harper's proposal to create compact rapid deployment force bases near major cities is a step in the right direction:

Mr. Harper said 20 to 25 per cent of the Conservatives' proposed military budget will go toward re-establishing operations in the West, citing years of neglect and the closing of B.C.'s only regular army base in Chilliwack.

He is proposing setting up urban army bases of 100 regular personnel and at least 400 reserve-force personnel in several Canadian cities, including Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg and Toronto.

The urban army forces will be better able to respond to natural disasters such as earthquakes and ice storms than current police or ambulance personnel in the cities, Mr. Harper said.

"Canada's military capacity in this region has been allowed to age and deteriorate," he said. "British Columbia, which is in an earthquake zone, is now the only region of the country without a regular army presence."

Mr. Harper said the Liberal government has said in the past that in the event of a B.C. natural disaster, Canada would rely on American forces from Seattle to help out.

How true. The Liberals have thought they could get away with endless hectoring and smug declarations of moral superiority, and the U.S. would have no choice but to take it and let us keep freeloading off their defence.

But in this post 9/11 world, the U.S. is not going to put up with this garbage anymore from its supposedly closest ally.

Let's not wait until an earthquake levels Vancouver or a Paris-style uprising hits Toronto to find out that we're on our own without the manpower or the plan.

Source: Globe and Mail

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