The Department of National Defence is currently being hounded by Treasury Board, which had designed a system that makes it impossible for DND to manage its budget. As a result, the military keeps falling behind in equipment purchases and capacity keeps declining. The government could put an end to this stalemate if it wished to, but instead seems delighted that it is pocketing the unspent money to meet its deficit-fighting promises. Canadians already have a small military and it just keeps shrinking.
The facts are that Putin is not erratic or crazy, but is rational and predictable. He knows the West is divided and he is executing his plan like the KGB officer that he is. He wants total control over Europe's gas markets, and accompanying influence, and has done, and will do, whatever it takes to achieve this.
The Harper government has mastered the art of selective morality. When it is convenient, Mr. Harper takes cover behind international law to attack those he disagrees with on ideological or religious grounds. And those with whom he has an ideological or religious connection, his government wilfully ignores their indiscretions. This selective application of morality is at odds with the principles of social justice, which all Canadians hold dear.
What country in its right mind would willingly and consciously walk into a Winter Games with the possibility of anything even reaching toward $50 billion on its table? The Sochi Games gave everyone else a chance to think about it for a second, and once you do it's sort of like being sober in a club where all your friends are buying bottle service... you can only get so drunk.
Given Canada's proximity to the United States, we tend to take our peace and security for granted. This comfortable distance from most of the world's violence has also led us to underestimate how useful Canada might be in defusing threats elsewhere using an item some people overlook as leverage: energy. Canadians might have a general sense that oil in particular matters to world affairs; but given that Canada has never been a superpower, it has never been responsible for the wider world order to ensure that oil (or natural gas) flow to countries that need it. Given recent developments at home and abroad, that blissful unawareness merits re-thinking.