I wanted to give a brief update about my “connected” POE 206 class now the day 1 of 3 in the Mock Parliament has happened. We spent the last 3 weeks having students give presentations on political subjects of their choice such as education reform, First Nation land claims, Sikh right to not wear helmets while driving a motorcycles and so on. When the last presentation was given this week on education reform, we had a big discussion on the 3 functions of industrialized education:
- create productive workers,
- create a national unity,
- create a civic minded population.
When the presentation was over, I had the students split into the government and opposition for the mock trial based on their responses to a political orientation survey I gave. As soon as the class split into its Liberal, NDP, and Conservative party groups, one lady commented that now she understood why certain people had certain views on political issues. Once it became clear what their party affiliation was, their commentary made sense. Last night I had 11 conservatives, 4 Liberals and 1 NDP. I had noticed that the class had a pro-conservative bias from the very first night. This was different that the military I knew in the 1980-1990s which was much more evenly split between Liberals and Conservatives.
I then wondered how perhaps the Afghanistan mission may have changed military members political orientation and posed the question:
Who of each party had voted for another party in 2004 other than the one they were in last night.
It turns out 4 of 11 Conservatives had voted Liberal in 2004. And 2 of 4 liberals had voted conservative. My NDP had voted NDP in 2004. Looking a the numbers then, I had 7 Liberals/NDP in 2004 and 9 Conservatives, a much more even split. I then stated to the class that even though the Conservatives were in power, the Liberals had committed the Armed Forces to Afghanistan. The Armed Forces take great pride in their mission in Afghanistan and view it as a cathartic event because for the first time since the Koren War, the military has a clear purpose. The Canadian Armed Forces is reaching within and re-discovering its reason d’etre: “To win the nations wars.”
Soon after going to Afghanistan, a national election gave the Conservative a minority government. Since then, they have had to spend significant sums of money on new equipment for the mission or to support the Canadian Forces in general: C-17 strategic air lifter, CH-47 medium lift helicopter, Cormorant Anti-submarine helicopter, Leopard 2 tanks, mine detection/clearing equipment, mine resistant vehicles, , unarmed aerial vehicles for reconnaissance, new artillery rounds, a satellite surveillance system to monitor the Arctic, with a new C-130 replace soon to come. With all this new equipment, why wouldn’t a CF member support the current government . The Conservative government is making up for years of equipment declines. This is no different than any employee in a large organization pledging their support to a division or department that is currently undergoing expansion or growth.
So that is a political theory I am advancing on why the CF is currenlty very supportive of the conservative government.