Can you imagine if a natural disaster on the scale of Hurricane Katrina happened in Canada? What similarities can we draw and what differences can we discern?
First of all, Canada is not prone to hurricanes but a similar flooding disaster could happen in Vancouver.
As with the Asian tsunami that befell Southeast Asia last year, an oceanic earthquake off of the coast of Vancouver could submerge most of the city and wash away many victims.
The current outcry by many observers on the left describes a slow response by President George W. Bush and they decry erroneously that America was largely unprepared due to the number of national guardsmen in Iraq. The same armchair critics on the other hand describe that Canada does not require a military and that Conservative efforts to increase defence spending is brutish and unbecoming of Canadian ‘values’. The same people would declare that Canada’s military deficiencies would be adequately supplemented by our American friends. Not a single part of this illogical equation adds up.
Would our current leadership be decisive in handling such a natural disaster? The current Canadian Liberal leadership has been wholly unprepared and dithering on defence issues ranging from BMD to the lacking expression of military ability when it comes to defending our Arctic sovereignty against the likes of a country like Denmark.
For the past twelve years, as stewards of Canada’s national defence, the Liberal Party of Canada has allowed the erosion of our military spending has placed our defence and disaster relief capabilities in the dire position of complete collapse. Queen’s professor Douglas Bland mused as much in his study titled “Canada Without Armed Forces?”.
Whether rightly or wrongly, George W. Bush is likely to face significant questions of leadership for the speed of the federal/state/local response to the disaster that struck the Gulf States in the southern US. One does not require a considerable extension of thought to determine with adequate certainty that if an analogous distaster befell a major populated area in Canada, this country would be grossly unprepared to address it with the speed and unequivocal response required to protect the lives of this nation’s citizenry.
This question needs to be addressed now by our country’s government. We cannot allow certain failures of this magnitude to be the footnotes in the post-mortem report of a devastating natural disaster.