A recent editorial in The Telegram, “To the rescue,” completely missed the mark on one of the hardest working Canadian leaders of a generation, Peter MacKay.
The editorial grossly misrepresented some important facts and your readers deserve to know the truth.
In 2003, when Peter MacKay was elected leader of the Progressive Conservative party, he won the contest with over 60 per cent of the final votes cast.
I was at the convention in Ottawa when he was elected.
He was selected in favour of other contenders, such as Scott Brison and David Orchard — the latter having supported him on the final ballot after agreeing to terms with Peter.
Peter released the terms between himself and Mr. Orchard as a demonstration of his openness and transparency as he began to lead the party.
After years of Liberal mismanagement, including a decade of darkness for our military and a sponsorship scandal in which the governing party helped itself Liberally to taxpayer money, Stephen Harper and Peter MacKay began a discussion about working together to form a viable federal alternative to the Liberal party.
Over 90 per cent of the membership eventually voted to form this alternative and, in 2006, that united Conservative party formed government. (And David Orchard? He later ran for the Liberal party and lost.)
In government, Peter has been the minister responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador and helped the province in Ottawa as ACOA minister.
He spent his vacation here in 2011 and when he was called back to work early in order to announce a $34-million armoured vehicle contract, he seized a confluence of activities and matched his return to work with a search and rescue demonstration aboard military aircraft.
The pilot of the flight confirmed it was a fantastic opportunity to showcase their skills.
Others flew, too
Peter is not unique in taking such a flight; Liberal MP Scott Simms participated in a familiarization flight which was carried out on Jan. 17, 2011.
New Democrat Jack Harris did so on July 19, 2010.
And, while Harris was fretting in the House of Commons about the care of Taliban terrorists, Peter was minister of National Defence during the height of Canadian military operations in Afghanistan.
While Peter was busy getting the troops tanks, helicopters, artillery, life-saving bomb clearance equipment and visiting them over Christmas and throughout the year, Mr. Harris spent his time trying to smear Canadian officials over Canada’s handling of Taliban prisoners.
When Peter was at the repatriation of those who fell in service to our nation, Jack Harris continued to play politics with Taliban prisoners … only to find no substantiated evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Canadians.
What wasn’t discussed in The Telegram’s editorial was that Peter recently announced six initiatives to revitalize Canada’s search and rescue system — including a quadrennial review that includes all stakeholders involved in saving lives.
It standardizes a comprehensive review every four years to keep the system up to date.
This has never been done before and wouldn’t have been done now without Peter’s vision and commitment.
In 2012, Peter reallocated
$11.4 million from his departmental budget to increase the care of ill and injured military personnel.
Since 2009, Peter has led the largest security forum in North America, the Halifax International Security Forum, which brings leaders from around the world to Canadian shores to discuss the important issues of the day.
He is a member of a government that has increased the defence budget by $5 billion since 2006.
It is disappointing to see The Telegram seize so eagerly on the partisan attack spin of opposition MPs.
The truth is that Canada would be a much stronger nation with more people of Peter MacKay’s ability and character in the House of Commons.
Russ Carrigan writes from Paradise.