|Canadian chopper rams Chinese jet
Furious Chinese demand 'full apology'
Short History of Canadian Politics to year 2020
Five years ago, in 2015, the Defence Department put out to tender the 'final' Sea King Helicopter Refurbishment Program.
The Refurbishment Program was meant to "maintain and refurbish" the three remaining Sea Kings, all of which had failed to meet the Air Force Year 2015 operational requirement. This requirement had each helicopter demonstrate the capability to reach a height of 50 ft. and stay within fifty feet of that altitude for seven minutes without losing more than one of its five main rotor and/or two of its tail rotor blades.
The original 52 Sea King anti-submarine helicopters came into operational service over fifty years ago. The first act of Jean Chrétien when he took office in 1993 was to cancel a helicopter replacement program of the previous Conservative government.
The Sea Kings in 1993 were already obsolescent and badly in need of replacement when Mr. Chrétien cancelled the Tory program. No explanation was ever given for the cancellation except that the program was "too extravagant." But there were whispers it was really cancelled because none of the manufacturers associated with the EH 101 helicopter — the one wanted by the Air Force of the 1990s — was willing to locate in the Prime Minister's St-Maurice riding.
Since 1993 (twenty-seven years ago) successive defence ministers had given the impression that a replacement program was in the works, but these were designed as virtual, not actual, replacement programs. In any event, public support had never been strong, and the Liberal governments had managed to keep the Sea King replacement program on the back burner for nearly three decades.
Land for People Exchange Initiative
In 2015, during his seventh mandate, Jean Chrétien initiated the famous "Land for People" Exchange Initiative. This initiative, hotly debated during Question Period late on a Friday afternoon in May, 2015, ceded British Columbia's Vancouver Island to The People's Republic of China.
In exchange, the Canadian government accepted ten million Chinese Immigrants from various Chinese provinces, but mostly from the Yakusi Region, an area to be flooded that year by the Three Gorges Dam Project on the Yellow River.
At that time, immigration was falling far short of Mr. Chrétien's two million-per-year quota that he asserted was necessary to prove that, "everybody in da worl' want to come to da best country in da worl! " Unfortunately, the Initiative had a fatal flaw.
As predicted by the leader of the Alliance-Progressive Party, the program failed to provide built-in guarantees that each of the new Canadians (each to be carrying US$ 1 million provided by the Chinese government) would locate in the Shawinigan region of Quebec. This assurance had been given by Premier Wong Wea of China when the agreement was signed. True to predictions, the vast majority of the immigrants (none of whom in actuality had more than 10 yen in their pocket) located in Toronto's Chinatown.
Surprisingly, this had no affect on the continuing popularity of Jean Chrétien. Pundits have argued the point for years, but most would agree it was likely because none of the Chinese wanted to locate in Quebec where the Prime Minister gets most of his voting and financial support. Ontarians for their part, did little complaining either because 99 percent of the 'new' Chinese immigrants soon disappeared over the border into the USA to join the thriving Chinese communities of New York City and Boston.
We are now (2020) at the beginning of Mr. Chrétien's tenth consecutive Liberal government. As his first cabinet re-shuffle, the PM has just appointed Senator Mary Clancy, the feisty Senate Majority Leader, as Minister of Defence.
Ms. Clancy, a heavyweight in the procurement business, assumes her new appointment with typical feistiness and energy. Under her new "Cut the Fat" program, the Armed Forces' field strength — now at 2400 personnel — will be slashed to a total of 50 personnel including support staff. (This figure does not include Defence Department personnel in Ottawa. These will remain at current levels: 1,538 bilingual officers of general rank (Brigadier and above), 50,829 bilingual civil servants (Associate Deputy Minister and above), and 216,583 unilingual francophones from the Shawinigan area of Quebec.).
With this background, we now take up the story of Ms Clancy's first
press conference as Defence Minister:
New minister meets press after
Canadian helicopter collides with Chinese jet
By Scott Upchuk, III
OTTAWA (NP). New Defence Minister Mary Clancy insisted at a press conference today that the military's Sea King helicopters are "perfectly fly-able and suited to the job I have asked them to do." Ms. Clancy was appointed yesterday as Defence Minister though only 30 days' short of the Senate compulsory retirement age of 75.
Nevertheless, Ms Clancy took up her post with characteristic energy. In her opening address to the press conference, she promised to "swing a heavy broom" and "cut out the fat" from a "bloated" military.
Ms. Clancy, surrounded by beaming generals and admirals, insisted "the choppers are not old and their age has nothing to do with one of them ramming a Chinese jet."
Ms Clancy made fun of Opposition allegations that they should have been retired 50 years earlier. Insisting that "The crews just love these aircraft," she pointed out that the crews know their aircraft "inside and out", and so do "the maintainers at Occidental/Oriental Garage on contract to DND." OOG is where the sixty year old aircraft are given their annual inspection to ensure they can still hover within fifty feet of the ground (see Background, above).
Ms Clancy grew quite emotional as she told of one pilot "who takes her Sea King up on its yearly test flight because it was delivered to the Canadian Armed Forces on the same day her grandfather was born in 1965! That pilot knows something about the true meaning of tradition!"
The press conference was called after a Sea King had collided with a Chinese Yak-21 fighter over Juan de Fuca Strait on July 22. The Chinese fighter had continued on after doing a victory roll but the Sea King, experiencing much higher than normal vibration, had managed to make it to Chinese Hop Sing (previously Victoria) Military Airport where it made an emergency upside down landing in the car park reserved for visiting Canadian Trade Delegations from mainland Canada. According to Chinese reports, the "Spy Chopper" lost a rotor in the collision. This, the Chinese spokesperson in heavily accented Mandarin said, left the chopper with only three main rotor blades.
Since the Sea King normally carries five rotor blades it was left to Ms Clancy to explain that one of the rotors had been "routinely" removed before flight as part of the "Share the Rotors" program, which keeps all three choppers flying on a rotating basis (no pun intended).
'Sea King deliberately rammed Chinese jet'
Details are sketchy but according to Chinese sources, and not refuted by Ottawa, the chopper had deliberately rammed the Chinese fighter after the latter had slowed down to take the chopper's side numbers. (These are difficult to read since after fifty years, most of the aircraft's paint had eroded away)
This is the first such incident in the Strait ever since Hop Ling (formerly Vancouver) Island was ceded to China during the Liberals' Land for People Initiative, launched just after the 2015 general election (see Background, above).
The crew of the downed Sea King are being held incommunicado in The Peoples' Re-education Centre in the former Princess Hotel in downtown Hop Sing City (formerly Victoria) until a "full apology is received from the cowardly gang of running dog Imperialists in Ottawa".
Such an apology is expected momentarily. Ms Clancy, who has been promised the post of Canadian Ambassador to China after her retirement from the Senate on Friday, said that when the five military crewmen (all ethnic anglophone females) are released to Canadian authorities, each will face court martial for "conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline".
Jean Chrétien is expected to hand the writ of courts martial and formal apology to the Chinese Premier when he heads a special Trade Delegation to Hop Sing City during Hop Ling Island's Independence Day Ceremonies in August.
Rumour has it that Mr. Chretien, still an amazingly spry 85-year-old, will remain prime minister until he surpasses Gladstone's record of the longest-surviving prime minister in office. Mr. Gladstone was 99 when he made his farewell speech in the British House of Commons.
As I covertly eyed him at Ms Clancy's press conference, I could tell that Mr. Chrétien, a champion welterweight boxer in his youth, still kept in shape. After Ms Clancy swept out of the room, the generals and admirals in tow, I kiddingly asked him where he kept his walker. Though he was seated in a wheelchair, I forgot to duck as he delivered a mock-serious upper-cut jab to my head. I don't floor easy, but I have to admit that it took me several minutes for my head to clear after I picked myself up. By that time, the prime minister in his wheelchair had disappeared.
I hope my grandfather, Scott Upchuk, was not watching from 'up there'.
Scott Upchuk, III, for the Notional Pest.