O’Leary’s abhorrent attack on the Canadian military

Kevin O’Leary attack on the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces should exclude him from the leadership of the Conservative Party

o'leary military

TORONTO, Ont. Dec. 20, 2016/ Troy Media/ – Kevin O’Leary still hasn’t decided whether he’s going to run for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. After his recent remarks about the Canadian military, I would strongly advise him against it.

In an interview with the Ottawa-based talk radio station CFRA last week, the popular financial commentator was asked about his foreign policy positions. This was his stance on the Canadian Armed Forces’s role, “Canadians are known as peacekeepers above all and not warriors. There’s nothing proud about being a warrior, war is a desperate outcome for a human being, peacekeeping is extremely noble.”

To be fair, this isn’t dissimilar to a comment O’Leary made on CTV News Channel’s Power Play back in February. He said that Canadians had a “moral authority … to be peacekeepers” and would prefer this to being “war mongerers” and, much like his CFRA interview, expressed little interest in fighting against ISIS.

Both comments were equally abhorrent and disrespectful to our brave men and women in uniform, however.

No-one living in a democracy in the 21st century likes war. It would obviously be great if we didn’t have to fight wars, and could live in peace with one another.

Alas, the man who likes to call himself “Mr. Wonderful” doesn’t seem to realize there are rogue states, totalitarian nations and terrorist organizations who think war is just, well, wonderful. 

Bloodthirsty groups like IS and al-Qaida are hell-bent on the destruction of western democratic societies, ideas and values. They are the enemy, and they think the same of us. That’s why we need to engage in this fight against radical Islamic terrorism, no matter how long it takes.  

It also doesn’t matter whether O’Leary, or any other would-be political leader, wants to directly participate in this war. Canada won’t be left alone, or completely ignored, by our enemies because we choose to stay out of a particular battle. The spectre of evil will always find us in the end.

Meanwhile, there’s much to admire about these warriors.

Many Canadians fought – and, in some cases, died – on the battlefield to defend our cherished values of democracy, liberty and freedom. The important roles that they play, and have played, for this country deserves our constant admiration.

Who does O’Leary think he is to tell a soldier that he/she shouldn’t have pride in being a warrior? Even if they don’t regard themselves as something akin to warriors, it’s not his place to slough off their hard work, dedication and commitment to protecting our nation.

As for peacekeeping, yes, it’s a noble component of the Canadian identity. That being said, it’s not the only thing this country should be known for. 

When Stephen Harper was prime minister, Canada took on an unexpected second foreign policy role. We became a world leader when it came to fighting terrorism and totalitarianism, and defending safety and security. Many democratic nations admired the fact that our country, historically known as a middle power, was punching well above its weight.

This period of international exaltation was short-lived. Justin Trudeau’s victory in last year’s federal election pushed Canada back to the kiddie table when it comes to foreign policy. So, the peacekeeping mission that O’Leary wants to defend with all his might is back in action. 

Canada’s Conservative Party has to choose its next party leader wisely and carefully. It’s therefore hard to imagine that any thoughtful, right-thinking Tory could still consider supporting O’Leary after this debacle. While his capitalist instincts and free market virtues are both solid, his views on most domestic and international issues, including foreign policy, aren’t small “c” conservative – and are often beyond the pale.

Moreover, if Kevin O’Leary can’t endorse what the Canadian Armed Forces, and our veterans, have done for this country at home and abroad, the Tories shouldn’t endorse him.

Troy Media columnist and political commentator Michael Taube was a speechwriter for former prime minister Stephen Harper. Michael is included in Troy Media’s Unlimited Access subscription plan.

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