Author Topic: Canada's New Defence Minister  (Read 134129 times)

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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #25 on: November 04, 2015, 14:27:36 »
Super happy about this!  Harjit Sajjan is a man I have tremendous respect for.


Notwithstanding his personal qualities, which, since I do not know him, I am happy to agree are many and exemplary, I fail to see how he is qualified, as a reserve LCol or as a police detective, to direct and manage one of the largest, most complex and biggest spending departments in government and one which has a regular, sad but noteworthy habit of tripping over its own dick.

There's nothing about a military career that especially suits one to be MND: Brooke Claxton, one of the better ones, was a Battery Sergeant Major in the First World War, but he was a very good defence minister because:

     1. He was a skilled and veteran politician who had the confidence of his prime minister, St Lauren; and

     2. He was immune to the blandishments of his admirals, generals and civil servants ~ perhaps because he, not they, "ran" the department, for his, not their, purposes.

I also think the Gordon O'Connor was a good MND in part because of his recent military experience. He was a retired BGen, retired from NDHQ, who knew how the "office politics" worked and he was mightily unimpressed with the CDS of the day. He got what he wanted because he knew how to work with and within cabinet and how to push and pull all the levers in NDHQ.

Minister Sajjan's résumé is pretty light on high level management, which is what a MND does.

He may be, I'm sure he is, an estimable man, but I think he's a token choice for MND and I fear that DND will not do well, in the political centre (PMO, PCO, Finance and Treasury Board) with a rookie at the helm.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #26 on: November 04, 2015, 14:44:28 »
Full List


The full list of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's new 31-member cabinet, in order of precedence, being sworn in today at Rideau Hall in Ottawa (with their province in parenthesis):
■Justin Trudeau (Quebec) - Prime Minister, Intergovernmental Affairs and Youth.
■Ralph Goodale (Saskatchewan) - Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
■Lawrence MacAulay (P.E.I.) - Agriculture and Agri-Food.
■Stéphane Dion (Quebec) - Foreign Affairs.
■John McCallum (Ontario) - Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees.
■Carolyn Bennett (Ontario) - Indigenous and Northern Affairs.
■Scott Brison (Nova Scotia) - Treasury Board President.
■Dominic Leblanc (New Brunswick) - Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.
■Navdeep Bains (Ontario) - Innovation, Science and Economic Development.
■Bill Morneau (Ontario) - Finance Minister.
■Jody Wilson-Raybould (B.C.) - Justice and Attorney General of Canada.
■Judy Foote (Newfoundland and Labrador) - Public Services and Procurement.
■Chrystia Freeland (Ontario) - International Trade.
■Jane Philpott (Ontario) - Health.
■Jean-Yves Duclos (Quebec) - Families, Children and Social Development.
■Marc Garneau (Quebec) - Transport.
■Marie-Claude Bibeau (Quebec) - International Development and La francophonie.
■Jim Carr (Manitoba) - Natural Resources.
■Mélanie Joly (Quebec) - Heritage.
■Diane Lebouthillier (Quebec) - National Revenue.
■Kent Hehr (Alberta) - Veterans Affairs, and Associate Minister of National Defence.
■Catherine McKenna (Ontario) - Environment and Climate Change.
■Harjit Sajjan (B.C.) - National Defence.
■MaryAnn Mihychuck (Manitoba) - Employment Workforce Development and Labour.
■Amarjeet Sohi (Alberta) - Infrastructure and Communities.
■Maryam Monsef (Ontario) - Democratic Institutions.
■Carla Qualtrough (B.C.) - Sport, and Persons with Disabilities.
■Hunter Tootoo (Nunavut) - Fisheries and Oceans, and Canadian Coastguard.
■Kirsty Duncan (Ontario) - Science.
■Patricia Hajdu (Ontario) - Status of Women.
■Bardish Chagger (Ontario) - Small Business and Tourism.


Map shows the regional distribution of ministers in the cabinet of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (CBC)

Ref: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/full-list-of-justin-trudeau-s-cabinet-1.3300699

All things considered - this line up could give the Tories 8 years to consider their options.

If the LPC acts true to form and "Governs from the Right" - despite the shiny pony - this presents a good, middle of the road government with some solid credentials.

"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #27 on: November 04, 2015, 14:48:20 »

Notwithstanding his personal qualities, which, since I do not know him, I am happy to agree are many and exemplary, I fail to see how he is qualified, as a reserve LCol or as a police detective, to direct and manage one of the largest, most complex and biggest spending departments in government and one which has a regular, sad but noteworthy habit of tripping over its own dick.

There's nothing about a military career that especially suits one to be MND: Brooke Claxton, one of the better ones, was a Battery Sergeant Major in the First World War, but he was a very good defence minister because:

     1. He was a skilled and veteran politician who had the confidence of his prime minister, St Lauren; and

     2. He was immune to the blandishments of his admirals, generals and civil servants ~ perhaps because he, not they, "ran" the department, for his, not their, purposes.

I also think the Gordon O'Connor was a good MND in part because of his recent military experience. He was a retired BGen, retired from NDHQ, who knew how the "office politics" worked and he was mightily unimpressed with the CDS of the day. He got what he wanted because he knew how to work with and within cabinet and how to push and pull all the levers in NDHQ.

Minister Sajjan's résumé is pretty light on high level management, which is what a MND does.

He may be, I'm sure he is, an estimable man, but I think he's a token choice for MND and I fear that DND will not do well, in the political centre (PMO, PCO, Finance and Treasury Board) with a rookie at the helm.

ER:

We have had civilians and soldiers, officers and NCMs, men and women, as MND.  I can't think of any situation where the background was a reliable predictor of performance.

I think we just have to wait for the targets to start popping up downrange, when and as.....
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Offline Remius

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #28 on: November 04, 2015, 14:57:01 »
All things considered - this line up could give the Tories 8 years to consider their options.

If the LPC acts true to form and "Governs from the Right" - despite the shiny pony - this presents a good, middle of the road government with some solid credentials.

I agree with you on this. It looks like a very solid line up.  We'll see if it holds.
Optio

Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #29 on: November 04, 2015, 15:03:51 »
I would like to think the new MND would know the ROE before he engages with his fellow Parlimentarians.

It's a different battlefield.
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Offline Brihard

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #30 on: November 04, 2015, 15:06:53 »
I would like to think the new MND would know the ROE before he engages with his fellow Parlimentarians.

It's a different battlefield.

It certainly is. I think he'll have the smarts to observe and adapt.
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Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #31 on: November 04, 2015, 15:10:30 »
It certainly is. I think he'll have the smarts to observe and adapt.

Plus the beard. THAT alone will stop a lot of lace knicker folks from espousing "good ideas"  :)
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Offline CountDC

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #32 on: November 04, 2015, 15:11:17 »
So we have it done, we have a new minister that isn't Leslie, the question now is

Where's my pay increase?

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Offline NinerSix

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #33 on: November 04, 2015, 15:14:51 »
I am cautiously optimistic. As a reserve chauvinist, this makes me tremendously happy. Never mind that I always had a soft spot for the BCR.
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Offline dapaterson

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #34 on: November 04, 2015, 15:20:33 »
So we have it done, we have a new minister that isn't Leslie, the question now is

Where's my pay increase?

As always, the answer will probably be "Once the public service settles theirs".

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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #35 on: November 04, 2015, 15:30:56 »
It certainly is. I think he'll have the smarts to observe and adapt.

Actually, Isn't the B.C.R. a reconnaissance unit? Isn't there unofficial by-line: "Improvise, adapt, overcome"?  :)

Personally I tend to agree that first, we should let the gentleman deal with some upcoming problem and juge him on his record then. I don't know him and have no reason to have anything against him at this point.

He hasn't got enough "management" experience ! Every minister is there to "manage" a department. And where it comes to managing a government department, private sector experience is irrelevant and ill prepares you anyway. He has been exposed to public sector management (police force and DND) for most of his life and probably knows more about that than his "private' sector colleagues, who will have a steep learning curve. If he is smart - and everything I read about him so far seems to indicate that he is - and remembers that he is there to manage the department of defence (the civil servants), not to run the military operations (job o the uniformed personnel), he should do fine.

I wish him well.

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #36 on: November 04, 2015, 15:35:00 »
I was wondering how quickly they might settle with the PS if only to keep them sweet natured and pay back for their support.

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #37 on: November 04, 2015, 15:39:02 »
All things considered - this line up could give the Tories 8 years to consider their options.

If the LPC acts true to form and "Governs from the Right" - despite the shiny pony - this presents a good, middle of the road government with some solid credentials.


There are a lot of rookies in there, some in very key portfolios. Rookies are prone to making mistakes ... which leads to more and more centralized management from the PMO.

I agree there are some "solid credential," there are also a few flakes, in my opinion, and a couple of tokens, too.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline Lumber

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #38 on: November 04, 2015, 15:53:45 »
I agree there are some "solid credential," there are also a few flakes, in my opinion, and a couple of tokens, too.

go on...
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Offline PuckChaser

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #39 on: November 04, 2015, 16:12:34 »
go on...
They made someone who gave a TED talk against globalization the minister for international trade.

Offline Haggis

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #40 on: November 04, 2015, 16:16:40 »
Every minister is there to "manage" a department.

It's good that you used quotations in that sentence because removing them would also remove the truth that the Ministers do not really manage anything.  More, they represent their departments to the Cabinet and PMO.  Public servants - mandarins - manage the departments and if things don't go their way (i.e. the Ministers actually attempt to run things) the mandarins can quickly, quietly and anonymously throw their Minister under the bus.

And where it comes to managing a government department, private sector experience is irrelevant and ill prepares you anyway.

If the CDS and DM brief him properly, keep him informed and ride herd over their respective parts of the Defence portfolio, he may survive contact with Ottawa politics.

He has been exposed to public sector management (police force and DND) for most of his life and probably knows more about that than his "private' sector colleagues, who will have a steep learning curve.

His experience to date has also exposed him to both the uniformed machine and the unionized machine.  He is decorated and experienced and has achieved a measure of success in both careers.  This means that his former operational and political masters have seen him fit to lead.  This may well position him better than most to succeed as MND.

I wish him well.

As do I.
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Offline Baden Guy

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #41 on: November 04, 2015, 16:31:19 »
Odds are he will be an improvement compared to the place holder Jason Kenny .

Offline MCG

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #42 on: November 04, 2015, 17:13:41 »
If the CDS and DM brief him properly, keep him informed and ride herd over their respective parts of the Defence portfolio, he may survive contact with Ottawa politics.
I wonder if his in-brief will be similar to the last guy's.
Quote
National Defence gave minister more info on public opinion research than on ISIS operation, NATO
February 2015 transition books detail public polling results, media requests.
Marie-Danielle Smith
Embassy News
28 Oct 2015

A new Liberal defence minister will inherit a self-conscious department that seems more than a little concerned about how it's perceved by the public.
 
When Jason Kenney took over as national defence minister in February 2015, he was briefed with a thicker stack of papers about public opinion and media operations than about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, Operation Reassurance and Operation Impact combined.
 
Embassy obtained the transition books for Mr. Kenney through an access to information request. Similar documents may be provided to a new minister when prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau names his Cabinet Nov. 4.
 
In a book about “Key Strategic Issues,” about 70 pages long, there are 17 pages worth of public opinion and media analysis, complete with graphs tracking Canadians’ perceptions of the department over years of polling data.
 
Conversely, only two pages of the document appear to be entirely devoted to Operation Reassurance in Central and Eastern Europe, two pages to Operation Impact in Iraq and Syria, four to NATO and two to NORAD.
 
More Canadians think CAF doing 'poor job' caring for returned soldiers
 
“Public opinion research is an important engagement activity to assess how Canadians view the Canadian Armed Forces," the document told the incoming minister. "It is also an evaluation of our public affairs activities by allowing us to gauge what is resonating with Canadians."
 
Public perceptions of the CAF’s care of returning soldiers declined over the past five years. The department and its counterpart, Veterans Affairs, was criticized for cuts to services and closures of Veterans Affairs offices under the tenure of outgoing Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
 
Though the percentage of people who felt the CAF was doing a “good job” taking care of veterans stayed static at 51 per cent, the percentage who said it was doing a “poor job” increased from 20 per cent in 2010 to 38 per cent in 2014.
 
Surveys also found that general awareness of the CAF was at a 10-year low in 2014. Only 34 per cent of those surveyed had recently seen, read or heard something about the CAF, versus a high of 74 per cent in 2006, the year that Mr. Harper was first elected.
 
Most Canadians apparently get information about the CAF from television or the internet, and to a lesser extent daily newspapers and radio.
 
In 2014, 89 per cent had strongly positive or somewhat positive impressions of CAF members, versus 88 per cent in 2005 and 78 per cent in 1999.
 
The document did not include information about how much the public opinion surveys cost the department.

Department tracking media outlets, journalists
 
A page offering an overview of the “public environment” warns of a “24/7 instantaneous news cycle expedited by social media” with DND and the Canadian Armed Forces “under constant public and media scrutiny.”

The defence minister is provided, in these first few briefing books, with detailed tracking of media requests, down to full-page bar graphs showing the most frequent publications and the most frequent individual reporters that contact the department.
 
About 3,500 media requests were received in 2014. That’s close to 14 per workday, or close to one every 30 minutes, the document adds in bolded text. It's also up from the 2,796 media queries the department said it received in the 2012-13 fiscal year.

A pie chart illustrates that journalists’ deadlines were met 94 per cent of the time. “Spikes in interest typically occur when a significant event occurs,” the document explains.
 
Issues that caused spikes in media coverage last year included: the Oct. 22 attack on the National War Memorial and Parliament Hill that killed Corporal Nathan Cirillo; an attack two days earlier that killed Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu; Operation Impact, including Canada’s bombing mission against ISIS; military procurement; and defence spending.
 
The deaths of Cpl. Cirillo and W.O. Vincent garnered 4,580 mentions in print and broadcast media combined, while Operation Impact was mentioned 1,434 times. Procurement was mentioned 540 times, defence spending 453 times, the mission in Ukraine 375 times, mental health issues for military members 313 times, military justice issues 303 times.
 
On social media, the deaths were mentioned nearly 140,000 times, according to the DND transition book, while Remembrance Day was mentioned 74,870 times and Operation Impact 23,767 times.
 
Parliament not mentioned in brief on decision-making
 
Another transition book, titled “Who We Are and How We Work,” provided a broader departmental overview to the new minister of national defence.
 
Just shy of 70 pages, it includes information about ongoing Canadian Armed Forces operations, including all international engagements. It also gave the incoming minister a handy guide to key department officials, complete with photos and biographies.

A brief on strategic decision-making acknowledges that a prime minister or defence minister can make unilateral decisions on defence policy.
 
Cabinet does not need to sit together as a whole for major decisions to be made, the document explains.
 
“In some cases, a deployment decision will be made by a cabinet committee and, in others by the prime minister, or by the minister of national defence alone, or in conjunction with the minister of foreign affairs,” the transition book states.
 
This section on military decision-making does not mention Canada’s elected Parliament.

While the government is not legally or constitutionally required to seek Parliamentary approval for military deployments, it was the political choice of the Harper government to do so on several occasions.

Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #43 on: November 04, 2015, 17:36:41 »
I seriously doubt that Embassy got the complete briefing books of minister Kenny on an access to information request.

I suspect that most of the minister's briefing on the more military side of things is classified and therefore in a different briefing book and neither released nor even acknowledged as existing in an answer to a request for access to information.

Offline Pieman

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #44 on: November 04, 2015, 18:28:20 »
I worked alongside LCol.  Sajjan overseas for a bit. He is sharp and thinks outside the box. He pushed hard to start looking at the Taliban as a Mafia rather than an insurgency creating networks of linking one person to another through money exchange. It was an interesting perspective and likely came from his work police work in gangs. He may be a reservist but has lots of time overseas working directly with General Vance. They know each other well and that can only strengthen the government - military relationship. I suspect he will be an interesting MND.

Graffiti in regimental toilet stalls: The official guide to troop moral....apparently.

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Offline FSTO

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #45 on: November 04, 2015, 19:43:47 »
I do not know the man at all, but being a reservist he may cast a healthy critical eye at the way the department does its business and may have a more intuitive look at cutting (or redirecting) the right waste and not the most convenient waste.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #46 on: November 04, 2015, 19:45:45 »
I worked alongside LCol.  Sajjan overseas for a bit. He is sharp and thinks outside the box. He pushed hard to start looking at the Taliban as a Mafia rather than an insurgency creating networks of linking one person to another through money exchange. It was an interesting perspective and likely came from his work police work in gangs. He may be a reservist but has lots of time overseas working directly with General Vance. They know each other well and that can only strengthen the government - military relationship. I suspect he will be an interesting MND.


More work for those who must not be photographed?
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Offline whiskey601

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #47 on: November 04, 2015, 20:03:09 »
I worked alongside LCol.  Sajjan overseas for a bit. He is sharp and thinks outside the box. He pushed hard to start looking at the Taliban as a Mafia rather than an insurgency creating networks of linking one person to another through money exchange. It was an interesting perspective and likely came from his work police work in gangs. He may be a reservist but has lots of time overseas working directly with General Vance. They know each other well and that can only strengthen the government - military relationship. I suspect he will be an interesting MND.

That's great because there is no bigger mafia in Canada than NDHQ.

As for the rest of the Cabinet, all I can say is that when you have a Prime Minister that is good for nothing, you had better have a Cabinet that is good at many things.  Time will tell.
I applaud the new MND, wish him well and hope that he can get things moving in the right direction. By all accounts, he is a no BS, "get things done" copper that successfully worked his job from a solid plan that he took a crucial role in developing.   I think anyone trying to pass a load of crap past him is going to be shown the door (in a polite but firm way). 

Offline Colin P

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #48 on: November 04, 2015, 21:44:30 »
Just ran into a BCR Major at my daughters karate class, he is beaming with pride and quite pleased that I mentioned the appointment.

Offline Pieman

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Re: Canada's New Defence Minister
« Reply #49 on: November 04, 2015, 21:57:12 »
Quote
More work for those who must not be photographed?

I suspect that depends what Trudeau wants to accomplish...which I don't really know what his goals are.
Graffiti in regimental toilet stalls: The official guide to troop moral....apparently.

“Perfectly symmetrical violence never solved anything.” - Professor Farnsworth