The old phrase is: mess with the bull, and you will get the horns. Is it a coincidence that after the Prime Minister and Defence Minister let Chief of Defence Staff Walt Natynczyk hang out to dry for flying on government planes that we then get a flurry of stories about questionable flying decisions involving Minister of Defence Mackay?
First, there is the story that Mackay got a lift back from his vacation via a search and rescue helicopter (of which there are mighty few). Then there was the story of an Air Force cargo plane (C-17) being used to deliver a firetruck for charity to the Dominican Republic despite the complaints of the Air Force folks. Given that C-17s are few and had been busy with Afghanistan and other missions, this seemed like a questionable use of resources.
So, last night I engaged in a twitter conversation with my friend who is wise in the ways of Canadian civ-mil relations, Phillipe Lagassé, about the timing of these revelations. Seems to us, more or less, that the CDS, who was chosen in large part because he was far more soft-spoken than his predecessor, Rick Hillier, is still very much of this current generation of senior officers. That is, savvy, proud, and perhaps more willing to push back than the generation before Hillier. It may not be the case that Natyncyzk is firing back at his bosses, but like mortar fire, indirect responses are harder (although not impossible) to trace and stop.
I have no inside knowledge--this is just semi-wild speculation. Of course, all of this is really just about different folks yelling: "hey, look! A distraction." or "Squirrel!!" The important issues of the day are not a few flights here and there, but those that I have listed before on my previous squirrel post.
Given my current obsession about squirrels as a means of distracting folks from core issues, I think I might need another sauce for my collection. We have denial, perspective, awesome and secret sauces. Perhaps we should have distraction sauce? If so, I am pretty sure it would taste like squirrel.