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Who Was The Best & Worst Defence Minister? [changed from Liberal DF]

Colin Parkinson

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Ok So who was the “Best of the worst” when it came to Liberal defence ministers. I know that some had more money to play with than others and some had a better presence in cabinet. I would like to hear the opinions of the people that served under the Liberal defence ministers who they liked, disliked and why.

Bill Graham certainly gave the impression of being decent, and seemed to have access to money and the authority to fix things, to little , to late?
 

Old Sweat

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In my opinion one of the best defence ministers was Liberal Doctor Frederick Borden, who served circa 1896 through into the early twentieth century in the Laurier government. He embarked on a post-Boer War modernization of the Department of Militia and Defence that saw the creation of the various supporting arms and services such as signals, service and ordnance corps as well as the adoption of a force structure that could cater for a major overseas war. He, of course, had his faults and could play politics and slather on pork with the best of them.

On a more personal side, he waged an unsuccessful campaign for the award of a posthumous VC to his only son, Lieutenant Harold Borden, of the RCD who was killed in action on 16 July 1900.
 

manhole

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geez.......so many to choose from regarding the worst........  Bill Graham probably one of the better ones - at least as far as his political masters would allow............

Ubique
 

geo

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+ 1 for Graham.  Surprisingly, he listened and went to bat for the CF
 

Edward Campbell

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You might want to consider Norman Rogers (1939/40) who, in effect, created the 'modern' DND.  He was killed in a plane crash in 1940 but he had, already (having only been appointed in Sep 40), begun the essential transformation of the naval, militia and air ministries into a single, cohesive (sort of) whole.

 

TCBF

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I thought Barney Danson -  a WW2 infantry (QOR) pl comd who lost an eye in Normandy - had a good three years.

Most aren't there that long.

Hard to believe that Art Eggleton (11 Jun 97 - 25 Jun 02) had the job for over five years.  For longevity, that was the longest since Brooke Claxton (10 Dec 46 - 30 Jun 54).

Sir Frederick William Borden 1896-1911 , the longest.

Adolphe-Philippe Caron 1880-1892 , the next longest.



 

Cloud Cover

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Colin: you just ruined a perfectly good whiskey buzz with this topic.

I'd say Kim Campbell, John McCallum and that egg headed prick Collenette that disbanded the airborne are tied for the bottom of the barrel in the modern era.

Can we add a new category called "bumbling idiots", because while there are many examples, Bill "Peeler" McKnight is pretty close to being a winner.

Disagree on Hellyer- it could have been much worse - Trudeau as defence minister.  :(

 

calgarytanks

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whiskey601 said:
Disagree on Hellyer- it could have been much worse - Trudeau as defence minister.  :(

integration, as we called it, was a perfectly rational idea, it was just poorly implemented. hellyer hasn't helped himself in recent years with his 'out of this world" ideas. Trudeau as defence minister is an interesting notion. He did have military experience...in Canada...when his generation was in Europe killing Germans...
 

geo

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.... and he had the Ba!!s to call out the military in Oct 70
 

vonGarvin

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Even though it was short lived, David Pratt (though equal kudos to Bill Graham)
 

redleafjumper

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From where I am sitting, out west and up north (and I have letters from all of the recent ones), the liberal Ministers of National Defence and Ms. Campbell (who as a Red Tory was really a liberal) for the past several decades have been empty suits.  If I have to choose a liberal, I'd probably go with Sir Frederick William Borden, who helped to build something out of very little.
 

karl28

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Who was the best & worst Liberal Defence Minister?  I was unaware that the liberals had good ministers LOL sorry couldn't resit that one
 

Lumber

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karl28 said:
Who was the best & worst Liberal Defence Minister?  I was unaware that the liberals had good ministers LOL sorry couldn't resit that one

Now, I'm new to politics, hell I'm new to life. But it would seem we are bashing the liberals for simply being the mind numbingly incompetent party that they are. Before you say anything to that: I voted liberal. Give them some credit. Yes they became way too comfortable in their position of power and frequently abused it, but thats not to say that even in recent time, their were, if only a few, some very competent and inspiring liveral cabinet ministers. We'll keep it to the Defence minister.

Point in fact: I was watching a TVO political analyses show during the pre-election build-up (the name of the show loses me) which consisted of the defence critics from every party (and a couple non-political yet notable critics) as well as Bill Graham debating about, well defence. The debate was being held at a University seminar room, I can't recall which University, but Ottawa rings a bell. The host of the show paused the debate to poll the all-student audience. His question: Do you agree with Canada's mission in Afghanistan? How many people out of approximately 300 put their hands up? Half? Two thirds? WRONG! At most, fifteen. What was the reaction of the critics? Shock obviously, but from Bill Graham it was more of a passionate frustration (if such an emotion is possible, but thats how it looked). He TORE into the crowd criticizing for their lack of perspective and went on a torrent explaining how Taliban insurgents were murdering school masters of villages who allowed girls to attend glass. He went on about how it is because of the Canadian military (and coalition forces in gerneral) that little boys and girls are now free to attend those classes.

Now, with the party's history of inability to push miltary projects through, its understandable that Graham wasn't really able to get all that much actually 'done'. But any defence minister willing to stick it to your face like that instead of simply an 'empty-suit' 'yes-man', regurgitating party lines and policies deserves a little respect!

Kudos to you, Mr. Graham.
 

geo

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redleaf........
would say that most liberals would take offence at your grouping Kim campbell within the Liberal party.
 

Lumber

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geo said:
redleaf........
would say that most liberals would take offence at your grouping Kim campbell within the Liberal party.

Lol, Kim Cambell? Can't believe I missed THAT one!
 

vonGarvin

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RCA said:
Worst - Marcil Masse
Marcil Masse (sic) wasn't Liberal.  Was a conservative, later bloc? 
I have to agree that Bill Graham was a good minister.  How did he vote on the latest debate on the deployment extension?  I think he was in favour, if memory serves correctly.
 

Lumber

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vonGarvin said:
I have to agree that Bill Graham was a good minister.  How did he vote on the latest debate on the deployment extension?  I think he was in favour, if memory serves correctly.

He voted in favour of the deployment extension but its how he approached the vote that was really admirable. Instead of playing politics and voting against it simply because he was liberal and the ones putting forth the vote were the concervative, he actually took the time to decide how to vote. He basically said: "Now look, Im pissed off because you pulled the debate and vote out of your ass with no warning whatsoever. But if during this short debate you can convince me that this is the right course of action, then despite the fact that I'm particularly ticked right now, I'll vote in favour of it."

Now I didn't watch the debate, but I guess the conservatives did a pretty good job of convincing him, and 17 other liberals that voted Yea.
 
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