Hillier vs. Harper - Macleans.ca

Hillier vs. Harper

Former chief of defence staff takes aim at the prime minister


Rick Hillier, Canada’s former top soldier, once described the Taliban as “detestable murderers and scumbags.” His opinion of the prime minister—and his band of all-controlling minions—isn’t much better. In a new autobiography, the retired chief of defence staff says he was continuously at odds with officials in Stephen Harper’s office. On one memorable occasion, after a media blitz publicizing job opportunities in the Forces, Hillier said he was hauled into a meeting with Gordon O’Connor, then the defence minister. “We want to see less of you,” O’Connor told him. Writes Hillier: “While he was never specific about who had been complaining about my profile, there was no doubt in my mind this ‘request’ was coming from the Prime Minister’s Office staffers.” Hillier also reveals that Harper’s underlings ordered him to ban the media from covering the repatriation of Capt. Nichola Goddard, the first Canadian woman killed during the Afghanistan mission. “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.”

CTV News

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