Note from the new Broadsides Moderator

Happy New Year to you all.

This year ahead could be interesting, particularly if a Defence Review is conducted by the new government. Hopefully, it will be a public review rather than an "in house" re-examination of the prevailing facts.

Recently, Jim Carruthers, President of the Naval Association of Canada,  commented on this expectation to his Association:

"It looks like an ‘interesting’ year as our new government gets its teeth into defence policy. I have heard that their aim is to have ‘new’ policy available in the October time frame. To me this would indicate we may see a recycling of current ideas since time is very short. We should expect funding to be an increasingly difficult issue as the government continues to announce new initiatives."

I agree, but believe strongly that we need a public review that goes back to first principles of defining broad defence policy guidance and defining specifically what general military capabilities are needed to support Canada's place in the world. As navalists, our focus should be on one basic issue:

"Should Canada retain a highly flexible, combat capable fleet as it has since the end of the Cold War in 1989, or has the world situation, and Canada's place in that world, changed so much that general purpose naval forces are no longer needed?"

The last full and public defence review of 1994 (implemented by another brand new Liberal government) was conducted without the benefit of social media or even the Internet. The provision of accurate data upon which to build sound analyses and arguments was highly important and time consuming. Now, we have most of that data readily available and so it is the use, or misuse, of that data in framing arguments that becomes the essence of the public input to the forthcoming defence review.

I contend that publishing those arguments, regardless of perspective, is the role of Broadsides.

As the Moderator, I have two rules:

  1. No unsubstantiated criticism or "rants"; a reason for disputing a statement or policy must be given.
  2. No direct or inferred personal criticisms, they are simply not acceptable.

Otherwise, everything "said" will be taken as the writer's personal opinion whereby the validity of the argument will rest upon the strength of the evidence produced. And thus, completely open for others to critique or counter.

On that note, let the debate commence.
Peter Haydon
January 6, 2016


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