Don’t look away (III)

The Star expands on what Hillier’s memoir says about the debate over what the public could and should see of the flag-draped coffins of Canadian soldiers returning from Afghanistan.

The controversy over letting the media show the return of Goddard’s body from the dusty district of Panjwaii, where she was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade on May 17, 2006, turned into a very public battle when her grieving father upbraided the Conservative government for censoring a politically painful event. But it was also the source of a private dispute between the head of the Canadian Forces and his political masters…

In the book, Hillier recalls attending graduation ceremonies at the Royal Military College in Kingston in May 2006 and being called into a backroom to take a call from the Prime Minister’s Office. The unelected staffers gave the decorated soldier and the defence minister orders that they wanted a change in Goddard’s repatriation ceremony – an emotional but fairly standard event where the coffin is unloaded from a military plane at CFB Trenton and driven to Toronto on Highway 401 in a sombre procession. ”Look, don’t bring the Airbus in, or if you bring the plane in, turn it away from the cameras so that people can’t see the bodies coming off, or do it after dark, or do it down behind the hangars, or just bar everybody from it,” Hillier quotes the PMO staffers as saying. “They clearly didn’t want that picture of the flag-draped coffin on the news.”




Browse

Don’t look away (III)

  1. Who are these people to be issuing orders to our military?

    • The elected government, via the inform-and-advise role to the Crown's commander-in-chief power.

      Effective civilian control of the military: shocking, eh?

      • No, these are partisan political toadies hired to make sure everything the government says conforms with the PR of the Conservative party. They were elected by nobody.

        Who is an unelected staffer to be giving orders to the millitary AND the defence minister (who was actually elected)?

        Blamo already answered that for me – they're the hacks in the PMO that control what the puppets do.

      • I must have missed the election for PMO staffers.

        Personally, I don’t think staffers should be issuing orders to our military. They are close to 100% unaccountable.

        • Don't be obtuse.

          • I’m not being obtuse. I don’t think the PM or Defense Minister should be delegating control of our military to unelected political operatives. Any interference in military operations by the government should come from the minister, the PM or parliament.

      • Last time I checked neither I nor anyone else voted for Broadie the Toadie. Last time I checked conservative bag men and spin doctors were not trained to determine the honors due to the service men and women who die in the line of duty. I am not a particular fan of General Hillier but in this case he was standing up for could no longer stand up for herself. For political reasons to base to comprehend the toadies in the PMO wanted to deny Ms Goddard the honors that were her due. If General Hillier had not told them where to go who would have?

    • The same twits who've been giving orders to elected members of parliament, cabinet ministers, and senators for the past 3.75 years.
      I think it's got somethingto with openness, accountability and respect for parliament that Harper used used to pontificate about.

  2. I want to know the name of the staffer. I'll bet it was Sandra Buckler or Brodie, the Toadie.

  3. The staffer is irrelevant. The policy is the problem.

  4. Right, you think the PMO toadie's orders came out of a vacuum? It's real neat when even the so-called leader can now blame everything on his self-appointed lackies. Next it'll be his magic mirror's fault.
    Time to look in the mirror, conservative supporters.

  5. I was sitting next to Hillier and his Aide-de-Camp at that graduation ceremony at RMC, and had always wondered why he was pulled away to the Commandant's office for that emergency call. Absolutely disgusting what Ottawa was trying to force him to do.

  6. "Look, don't bring the Airbus in, or if you bring the plane in, turn it away from the cameras so that people can't see the bodies coming off, or do it after dark, or do it down behind the hangars, or just bar everybody from it,”

    Because the proper way to deal with this in modern times is to bring them back in the dark of night, shove them in a hole somewhere, and hope no one notices.

    Guess we need an updated definition for 'honoured war dead'.

Sign in to comment.