Readers of mine will know that I am an ardent supporter of the Canadian Forces, and by extension Canadian democracy. I do this through my various writings as advocacy of a better prepared Canadian military that can carry out the tasks we request and require.
The military isn’t the sole defender of a democracy though, or even the most important.
We have the Rule of Law, our system which limits the abuses that an over-reaching political figure might be able to enact. We see this in the United States, where recently elected President Donald Trump has had immigration measures thwarted by the courts.
We also have the press. Some might balk at including the press as “Defenders of Democracy”, those people would be wrong. A free press functions to inform the public and ensure that issues that might be swept under a rug are brought to light. They point out both our successes and our failures. A good reporter/columnist informs us, a great one tells us why we should care.
In the United States we see the Marines United scandal unfolding and members of the press, with USMC veterans leading, bringing the scandal to light. It is only once dragged into the light that the issue can be properly addressed. The Marines United scandal is one where it needs addressing, urgently. Those brave reporters/veterans have done a service to both their USMC service and to their country. A corrosive atmosphere within the US military stands a far greater chance of being repaired now that it is exposed.
In Canada we have a dedicated members of the press who cover defence issues, or who use their public platform to call to task those who would neglect Canadian Defence. I’m going to highlight my top three in Canada. Let this be my way of showing gratitude to those who bear different weapons, and man different ramparts, but defend our country all the same. It is through their efforts the public learns of important issues and what it means when governments take, or don’t take, certain actions. Recently this has meant taking the government to task for the measures of Budget 2017, which catastrophically removes billions of dollars from the DND capital budget. Pushed back 20 years isn’t re-profiling, it’s outright cancellation. We just don’t know what has been cancelled yet.
Folks to follow on Twitter (in no particular order):
@CTVMercedes Mercedes Stephenson of CTV news has repeatedly shown that she not only understands the issues, but she can articulate them.
@mattgurney Matt Gurney of AM640/Global is an enthusiastic defender of the military and a powerful advocate for giving that military the tools it needs to accomplish what is called of it.
@davidpugliese David Pugliese writes Defence Watch for the Ottawa Citizen. He has brought to light issues from all ends of the Canadian defence establishment, Cadets to Command.
Stay better informed, listen to what these folks have to say.