Dave MacKenzie MP for Oxford has a Chat with John Wilson of AM 980
JOHN WILSON (CFPL-AM): The Focus 980 program on the air for another Friday and of course, I’m John Wilson. And also, of course, it is Friday and it’s time to hear from your local members of Parliament and the members of the provincial legislature.
Now I’ve been kind of expanding the rota a little bit of late because, of course, we have many of you listening over in Oxford County where Dave Mackenzie has served as Conservative member of Parliament for a good while now and is also serving as the parliamentary secretary for Stockwell Day, the Minister of Public Safety.
And so in expanding the rota, I’m going to welcome Dave Mackenzie to the show today and we’re going to talk about all things political at the federal level and at the riding level, too, now.
Dave Mackenzie’s got plenty to do with his responsibilities with Stockwell Day’s ministry but also, of course, don’t forget over in Oxford, he’s your member of Parliament. If you have questions, comments, if you’d like to talk to and ask Dave a question about any riding issue, I’d like to hear from you. 643-2222 today, 1-866-354-8455.
Let me welcome, for the first time on the program, the Conservative member for Oxford, Dave Mackenzie. How are you, Dave?
DAVE MACKENZIE (CPC MP, Oxford, Ontario): Thank you very much.
JOHN WILSON: Well, it’s nice to have you with us and let me say, from my own point of view, it’s long overdue that we had Oxford represented on the program on our Friday rota of MPs and MPPs. We had a good time talking to Ernie Hardeman last week and we look forward to talking to you today.
DAVE MACKENZIE: Well, thanks for including us.
JOHN WILSON: Dave, your… first of all, your role as Stockwell Day’s parliamentary assistant, tell me about that. Tell me what you have to do and tell me how big a job it is?
DAVE MACKENZIE: Well, it’s an interesting appointment because, as you know, the minister of Public Safety is one of the primary people in cabinet in an important role and so my role as his parliamentary secretary is multifaceted. But the first, I suppose, it to respond to events that he can’t make it to. So I have been across the country in a number of locations, making announcements for him or making speeches for him about his role. And in the House, I answer question period for the minister when the minister’s not present. So that’s, you know, a fairly significant role for myself.
And then perhaps more importantly is the committee work that’s done outside of the actual House, but it’s done within Parliament’s constraints and so as a parliamentary secretary to the minister, then you’re responsible for getting legislation through the House in many respects and dealing with the opposition parties and dealing with the matters in committee.
JOHN WILSON: That’s where I want to really start with you this morning, Dave, because the omnibus crime bill is really one of Stockwell Day’s primary responsibilities and if you’re responsible for getting that through, you got yourself a tall order.
DAVE MACKENZIE: Well, but in fact most of that is actually in Justice.
JOHN WILSON: Yes, most of the omnibus bill coming from there.
DAVE MACKENZIE: Yes. It’s a Justice bill so…
JOHN WILSON: What parts of it come from Public Safety?
DAVE MACKENZIE: Very little because we don’t typically write the… We’re not involved in writing of the law. Our role is enforcing it. So it’s much like, I guess, my previous life as a police officer, you know, you enforce the laws that are written by others and so that, you know, as the minister of Public Safety, the minister’s responsible for the RCMP, the Canadian Border Services Agency, National Parole, Prisons Guards and CSIS. So it’s not a case of writing the law as much as it is enforcing it.
JOHN WILSON: What is the status – and I’m going to do some general issues with you too – what is the status of the omnibus crime bill? We know in the last parliament that there’s several different crime bills which have been sort of amalgamated into this thing were held up in the Liberal-dominated Senate. A lot of them passed to Commons. Where are they now?
DAVE MACKENZIE: Most of them are still held up at the Senate level. You know, we would expect, I think, that they would pass through and become law before very long. And there’s still some, you know, that are working their way through the House. But by and large, I think you’re right. It has been held up in the Senate, which becomes a bit frustrating for Canadians who expected some of that legislation to be law by now. But I do believe that it will. I think they’ll see the importance of getting it through.
JOHN WILSON: Are you frustrated? Is your minister frustrated? And if so, how long do you think we’ll have to wait for these… some of these, the gun control aspect of it and a couple of others that the public really significantly wants?
DAVE MACKENZIE: Well, yes. Obviously, we’re frustrated to a great deal. Just as you indicated, it’s the unelected and unaccountable, you know, Liberal-dominated Senate that’s holding it up. And so, you know, we know what Canadians want. We hear from them frequently. I hear from them. And what they want is the Senate to act as, you know, the sober-second thought, not as a blockage to legislation.
JOHN WILSON: And is there any kind of, well, I know you can’t speak for the Liberal caucus in the Senate, but is there any kind of timetable that you’re getting an impression of that when the blockage may lift?
DAVE MACKENZIE: Well, not really. I mean, I just saw a little blurb today although, you know, I didn’t have a chance to read the whole article about the Ontario Premier asking the Liberal leader to get this stuff moving.
JOHN WILSON: Yes.
DAVE MACKENZIE: You know, I think that within their own party, they have their own discussions and their own reasons for whatever they do. But I don’t think it’s for the good of the average Canadian.
JOHN WILSON: And I don’t think the average Canadian thinks it’s for his own good either. So the sooner the better on that.
Let me talk about the idea that the Prime Minister has, there isn’t a lot of movement on changing the Senate or Senate reform although, you know, Canadians are of two minds. Some polls will indicate that they’re interested, some polls will indicate they’re not interested. It’s usually a function of how much legislation’s getting held up. Is there any prospect in this particular Parliament or in a future parliament if, indeed, we’re going to polls sooner or later, to have any significant Senate reform the way things are right now?
DAVE MACKENZIE: Well, you know, every once in a while there’s a glimmer of hope that they see the need to, you know, have change themselves. And, you know, then it seems that they turn that light switch off too.
JOHN WILSON: Yes.
DAVE MACKENZIE: But I know we’ve talked about term limits and those kinds of things which seems to be a good first step and we start to move along that path and then all of a sudden, it gets derailed. So you know, I think there are a lot of important things to deal with in Parliament right now and that’s one of them; but I don’t know that at the end of the day, you know, the Senate itself will move far enough to satisfy most Canadians immediately.
JOHN WILSON: Yes. And I’m with you. And I wish it were different but anyway, that’s the way it is.
I want to take a short break, pay some bills and come back with Oxford Conservative member of Parliament, Dave Mackenzie, and talk about all kinds of stuff. The Afghan mission, infrastructure funding, finances in the country, the riding affairs. What’s important to Oxford County? And to that end, I’d like your input out there. 643-2222. Tell me what’s important to Oxford County and talk to your member of Parliament in the process. It’s a quick call, 1-866-354-8255, if you’re out of the local calling area and we’d like to talk to you and so would Dave Mackenzie.
We’ll be back with more in just a couple of minutes. Don’t go away and give us a call.
JOHN WILSON: We are back. John Wilson here with you. It is Friday and of course traditionally on the program, the first hour is given over to talking to our members of Parliament and members of the Legislature from around our region and I’m kind of trying to expand the road a little bit, just from the Central four London ridings to our neighbouring ridings as well, of course, and I know you’re listening out there. And today we’re very pleased to have the conservative member of Parliament for Oxford with us, Dave Mackenzie. Also the parliamentary secretary to Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day.
And, Dave, in your job as parliamentary secretary and in Stockwell Day’s portfolio, you mentioned that the RCMP and CSIS come under your jurisdiction. I suppose in the light of other things in the news, the RCMP has kind of gone a little bit under the radar, but there was quite the kafuffle and controversy earlier last year about the RCMP.
What is the status of reform within the RCMP regarding the controversy that did exist last year?
DAVE MACKENZIE: Well, as you know, David Brown conducted an investigation and a review and he’s just nicely now submitted his report which was in fact done in a timely fashion and when we expected it. But I think there’s something like 48 or 49 recommendations that he has in there and at this point, the Minister and the staff are going through that report to… and working with senior RCMP people, to see what implementations there are that could be implemented and so on and so forth, and what the ramifications of it is.
As you know, the RCMP do provide a lot of contract policing in the provinces and territories across the country.
JOHN WILSON: A lot, especially Western Canada, yes.
DAVE MACKENZIE: Yes, so well, even down east and you know, what it means is a lot of that has some implications to those contract partners too. So it’s not an easy or fast fix for anything, but I’m sure there will be some things in there that can be done sooner than others. And so the review is being reviewed, if you will, to see what there is there that we can implement quickly to make it a better organization.
JOHN WILSON: All right, let’s talk about riding issues for a minute. I know that you’ve got, you know, a lot of jobs there as a parliamentary secretary. You know, which takes up more of your time now? Parliamentary secretary to a minister of the Crown or your job as the riding representative for Oxford?
DAVE MACKENZIE: Well, you know, John, if I wasn’t the member from Oxford, I couldn’t be the parliamentary secretary.
JOHN WILSON: That’s true.
DAVE MACKENZIE: So the importance is the riding, obviously.
JOHN WILSON: And what things do you have to deal with? I know what our riding people deal with in the city, but I mean you have Woodstock, you have Tillsonburg, you have Ingersoll. But you have a largely rural contingent as well. So you deal with different matters, I suspect, than some of our MPPs and MPs do here.
DAVE MACKENZIE: Perhaps some, but I think we get all of what the urban ridings get, plus the additional things with agriculture. You know, our constituents, we have two constituency offices, both of which, you know, are fairly busy with immigration, Canada Pension, all of the government services, if you will. But then we do also have the issues dealing with industry and agriculture.
JOHN WILSON: And you’ve got two major industries here. One is very healthy and one is not. And of course the one is the auto manufacturing with Toyota coming to Woodstock, but the one that’s not healthy is tobacco and the tobacco farmers lately have been asking for a billion-dollar bailout. Is there a sympathetic ear in Ottawa for this because after all, Ottawa is making all kinds of money off cigarette tax revenues?
DAVE MACKENZIE: Well, John, it has been something that has been ongoing since I’ve been here in Ottawa. You know, and I know that I’ve spoken with the Minister of Agriculture, Gerry Ritz, about it as I talked to a number of tobacco people but more importantly I suppose from tobacco side, the marketing board people and so I know that there are ongoing meetings between them and I am of the opinion there is a willingness to have it resolved.
The difficulty perhaps is trying to get it resolved to the satisfaction of both of those sides. And then there are a number of other groups out there on the tobacco side who have different opinions. So it’s a difficult file for the Minister but it’s also a difficult file for the elected tobacco board people and, you know, I’m very hopeful that there will be a solution but I know that there has to be work done yet on both sides.
JOHN WILSON: Do you see a day, Dave, that there may be no more tobacco grown at all in Oxford county?
DAVE MACKENZIE: Well, you know, it’s getting to minimal quantities now. Who’s to know? I mean, that’s one of the difficulties with the tobacco industry. Not only do we have a declining number of people smoking in our country, so the demand locally is going down, but I think that at the same time what we hear is that there’s increasing production in other parts of the world.
So I don’t know that. You know, it would be foolhardy for me to guess, but there may be niche markets that somebody can fill, but it certainly won’t be what we’ve seen in the 50s, 60s or 70s.
JOHN WILSON: What’s the state of the rest of agriculture among your constituency? I imagine, well, commodity prices are fairly high now. Oxford has some of the best dairy land in the whole world, as far as I’m concerned. And as outside of tobacco, what’s the state of health of agriculture in Oxford county, from what you hear from your constituents?
DAVE MACKENZIE: Well, John, I would say to you first off is that every constituency in Canada is unique. But you know, in many respects, I think ours is more unique and people would argue with me, but I think we have almost every agricultural commodity in Canada, almost everyone is in our riding. So although the supply managed commodities like poultry and dairy are doing reasonably well, and the grains and oilseeds, the corn people, I just checked corn prices today, they’re getting up again.
JOHN WILSON: Yes.
DAVE MACKENZIE: Closer to $5, but at the same time, the beef and pork people are, you know, suffering greatly and we understand the plight they’re in. I’ve attended recently the county Pork annual meeting and they’re having severe problems, partly because of the value of our dollar, but partly because of an over-supply of pork in North America and other markets around the world. And their food costs for their animals has gone up with the price of grain.
JOHN WILSON: Yes, that’s it.
DAVE MACKENZIE: You know, parts of it are doing extremely well and parts are doing terribly. So…
JOHN WILSON: How much influence can you bring to bear as the local MP to the Agriculture Minister and the Trade Minister and all the other people whom the farmers depend on for their livelihood and their health to make things better for them? What can one MP do?
DAVE MACKENZIE: Well, one MP can keep asking and arranging meetings and, you know, pushing and shoving. But at the same time, I think we all have to recognize that, you know, it is a national party and we do represent the country. So we recognize, as much as I can push and shove, and I do, for those people in my riding, that the minister himself is also torn amongst 307 other ridings. So, you know, what’s important to one part may not be as important to others. So it’s our role to make sure that we get our share and that we take the best approach for our own constituents.
JOHN WILSON: How many terms for you now, Dave?
DAVE MACKENZIE: Well, this is just the second and we haven’t even got to four years yet.
JOHN WILSON: Yes, that’s right. Well, you got yourself re-elected once.
DAVE MACKENZIE: Yes.
JOHN WILSON: You talked about the high dollar and its effects and I want to talk about that after we break for news and information. There is plenty to talk about with Conservative MP Dave Mackenzie, from Oxford. It is his first time on our program and we welcome him and Ernie Hardeman, the MPP for Oxford, into our rotation of MPs and MPPs we do every Friday morning. We’ll talk when we come back about the high dollar and its effects on Oxford count residents. Also, we’ll talk about the Afghan mission. There’s plenty to talk about there. And infrastructure funding, all kinds of complaints from municipalities that the feds don’t spend enough because there’s no real political payoff for it. We’ll see about that. And the finances. There’s a budget coming up from the federal government not too long from now, I would think, probably within a month and a half or so. A couple of other things as well with Conservative MP Dave Mackenzie of Oxford.
And I would like you to call too and have Dave with your questions, comments, comments on government policy. Here’s the man to talk to. Vent your spleen if you wish. 643-2222, 1-866-354-8255. And while you pick up your dialling finger, we’ll take a break and catch up on what’s happening today and be right back. Don’t go away.
JOHN WILSON: Welcome back to the first hour of Focus 980, and of course it’s Friday and every Friday, we visit with our local members of Parliament and members of the Legislature and today, we’re very pleased to have for the first time as we expand our rotation a little bit Oxford County’s, off the riding of Oxford, Conservative member Dave Mackenzie and he’s a member of Parliament of course, and Dave, it’s nice to have you back and I hope you’ll be with us many times in the future.
DAVE MACKENZIE: I look forward to it, John.
JOHN WILSON: We’ve been talking about riding issues. We’re going to talk about some national issues too, but riding issues including the farming industry, tobacco wants a buy-out, beef and pork producers are hurting because of the high dollar. Other areas of the farming community in Oxford are doing all right.
But let’s go to the phones and talk to Rob this morning about some of these farming issues. Rob, good morning.
CALLER: Hi, good morning, fellows. I’m calling to ask the member about the risk management program which our provincial government has signed on to. Just for the people that don’t understand what this is, it’s for grains and oilseeds and it’s a tripartite program. The province is involved, the farmers are involved with their money. So far we’ve had difficulty getting minister, Agriculture Minister Ritz to sign on federally with this program. I know that Bev Shipley and Dave Vankestern(ph), our MPs down here for Sarnia and Lambton, repeat the minister’s line that they aren’t going to be involved.
Pat Davidson, MP for Sarnia-Lambton, says that she is personally in favour of federal involvement in this and I just wondered if you could give your comments on if you think it’s a good idea for the feds to get involved and what might be needed to convince Minister Ritz and the Prime Minister that grains and oilseeds will down the road, when these high prices never last forever, are going to require this risk management program to keep paying the bills.
DAVE MACKENZIE: Well, as you know, I think the Ag Minister has already indicated that that’s not part of what the package is from the federal government and equally, I’m sure that you understand that as each province rolls out their own program, being a federal government is not necessarily able, the federal government is not necessarily able to take part in every provincial program that’s done without consultation before him.
Most of these programs are a 60-40 financial split, the federal government paying 60 per cent and the province paying 40. And I think in this case, the provincial government announced before the last provincial election that they were going to fund the 40-per-cent portion of a risk management program.
So it was a program that they brought forward. I don’t think there was a great deal of discussion with the federal government about it. So the difficulty for our federal Ag minister is in having programs that are not trade distorting, they’re not going to be, you know, less than national in scope and so the risk management program from the province of Ontario doesn’t really fit the criteria of a federal program.
JOHN WILSON: Let me ask you, Rob, what would the World Trade Organization say about the risk management program? Does it distort prices or does it offer… is it a subsidy program?
CALLER: It’s not so much as creates subsidy as it is. It’s more like an insurance program that when prices drop below cost of production for the farmers here, grains and oilseeds farmers in Ontario and Canada, that there’s going to be something to kick in that’s going to stop the red ink from flowing. I will say that, and you were talking about corn being around the $5 level which most people agree using production costs from two or three years ago doesn’t sound too bad ,but they’re jacking the price on fertilizer like crazy. Some people even say that gouges, they’ve crossed the line to gouging.
JOHN WILSON: Um-hmm.
CALLER: And we do need to remember that our friends that are farming corn, soy beans, wheat in the United States, although a couple of their support programs don’t come into play with these higher Chicago prices, these guys still get their $150 an acre direct payment from the fed, which gives them… still gives them a huge advantage over producers here, in Ontario and Canada.
JOHN WILSON: Yes. Dave Mackenzie, is the government or the Ag Minister a little bit gun shy about crossing the World Trade Organization on agricultural subsidies because we’ve had enough trouble with this already, as other countries have too?
DAVE MACKENZIE: Well, it’s certainly one of the considerations but I think, you know, more importantly, or equally important is what we do in one part of the country, you know, as a national government the programs have to be national in scope and so as we’re always concerned about international trade and those who would take us to task on those and shut off certain markets, as we’ve had happen in the past, is certainly a concern. You know, so we need to have national programs that first off, you know, are not particularly commodity sensitive.
JOHN WILSON: Yes.
DAVE MACKENZIE: But more importantly, I suppose that we can afford, as a nation and that don’t cause us trouble in the international trade markets.
CALLER: I would toss out there just before I sign off that our friends in Europe continue to have an export enhancement program which is surely a trade-distorting mechanism where they actually throw money into the pot to export stuff out of the country. So the Canadian grain farmers are still playing this game with their good arm tied behind their back regardless of what the wants of the World Trade Organization keeps telling us.
JOHN WILSON: Agreed. Thank you, Rob.
DAVE MACKENZIE: Thanks, Rob.
JOHN WILSON: And you know, that’s a problem. When nations speak of fair trade, especially in agriculture, they speak with a forked tongue because everybody wants to protect their own little bailiwick. The Europeans are notorious for it. We’re kind of notorious for it. So is the States.
DAVE MACKENZIE: Yes, there’s no question. But you know, we have to be very careful when we attract attention by some programs that we offer and so we are conscious of it. We certainly don’t want to lose our opportunity to get into markets. You know, the International Trade Minister was in China a couple of weeks ago and that’s one of the thing we’re working at is opening up our trade lines with China. You know, our agricultural products are important to us and important to our farmers, you know, particularly.
But we need to get some of those markets open and at the same time we need to compete fairly with those around the world who are also trying to get into them.
JOHN WILSON: All right, when we come back, we’re going to take a short break and come back and talk about the Afghan mission, the Manley report, big news on Parliament Hill today, of course, and we’ll talk about fixing up our cities as well. We’ve been talking about the agricultural sector. What about fixing up the sewers? A lot of complaints that the feds don’t spend enough on it and don’t care enough, it seems, about infrastructure, which the municipalities are struggling to fix as fast as they can.
We’ll be back with Dave Mackenzie, the Conservative member for Oxford in just a couple of minutes. And give us a call. Like Rob, you can just dial us up and talk to us, 643-2222. We’d love to hear from you. We’ll be back.
JOHN WILSON: What are you thinking about, the way this country is run? What are you thinking about what your federal government is up to? Give us a call and talk to member of Parliament Dave Mackenzie, the Conservative member for Oxford. He’s with us now for this hour on this Friday.
And Dave, let’s turn the Afghan mission and the Manley report. That was certainly the big news on Parliament Hill all week long. The Manley report demands that we either get some help or get out basically without going into the little tiny details. What’s the reaction been since the Manley report came out among your colleagues?
DAVE MACKENZIE: Well, as you know John, actually we haven’t gotten back together, you know. We’re just right now going to be moving in to caucus meetings in the next two hours and so I haven’t really seen many of my colleagues here. You know, the…
JOHN WILSON: That’s right. Parliament really doesn’t resume until…
DAVE MACKENZIE: It doesn’t resume until Monday.
JOHN WILSON: Yes, yes. But you’ve had some informal talks. What’s your impression of the Manley report?
DAVE MACKENZIE: I think what I’ve heard, mostly from the public is that those who have paid attention to it think that it’s a valid report and certainly it gives sort of an indicator of where, as a panel, they think that we should go in the future. And I think there will be discussion about it amongst, not only my own Conservative colleagues, but amongst other members of the House.
JOHN WILSON: Now, the question is partly whether we’re going to be able to get some help. One of the key things in the report demanded that the Prime Minister take more of a personal initiative among other NATO leaders in the world to get us some help and to get more participation from 1,000 troops from some other country to help us do the fighting so we can do more of the nation building in Afghanistan. Will the Prime Minister take that initiative, do you think?
DAVE MACKENZIE: Well, you know, I can’t speak for the Prime Minister obviously, but I know that the Prime Minister has a great working relationship with many leaders of countries around the world, and particularly the NATO members. So I would anticipate that, you know, he commissioned the particular committee that you’re talking about, the Manley commission, and I’m certain that he values what the report has.
JOHN WILSON: Now, I guess, let me phrase it another way. Do you think the caucus will pressure the Prime Minister to take more of a leading role in this? Will there be some demand from the grassroots for it?
DAVE MACKENZIE: I don’t know that that would be necessary. You know, I’m sure that there’ll be a great deal of discussion about it, but I don’t know that there’s the need for caucus to pressure the Prime Minister to do anything. I think he’ll take the lead and you know, I just think that, you know, he’s cognisant of what’s in that report and what needs to be done and he’ll do what has to be done.
JOHN WILSON: One, I suppose, criticism of the Manley report is there weren’t many public meetings on it. They did their thing. They didn’t hold any public meetings. Do you think there should be public meetings on the mission or would it be counter productive to have those?
DAVE MACKENZIE: Well, John, I would say to you first off that this is the most open part of the Afghanistan mission that we’ve had. You know, I mean, we’ve been in Afghanistan since 2002, I believe. You know, the deployment of troops to the south of Afghanistan occurred in what, 2004, where there was no discussion about it. It was just done. The only real discussion that there’s been in a public sense about Afghanistan was the vote that was conducted after we formed government to extend the mission to 2009.
JOHN WILSON: Yes.
DAVE MACKENZIE: So I think, you know, although there may be criticism, I don’t think that anybody has ever had as much opportunity for input as they’ve had, you know, since January of 2006.
JOHN WILSON: Okay, let me talk about equipping the troops and the helicopters case came up. Sikorsky now says that we’re not going to get these things until – well, for what, another two years. This is… it must be driving a few people in Ottawa nuts, not to mention the Defence Department.
DAVE MACKENZIE: I’m sure it is and as you know, I mean, it’s been no secret that the military have been short of new and effective equipment for some time. So we have been trying to refurbish and replenish the military. Some of this stuff, as you know, and are hearing from not only, you know, our own sources but suppliers is that we’re not first on the list. So it does take a little while to get some of this.
But some of these things, I’m equally certain that, you know, we can work with other countries and perhaps obtain equipment in other places on the short term. Not forever and not for, you know, equipping our own forces for what we should have but to get us through that period of time where we’re short of equipment.
JOHN WILSON: Yes.
DAVE MACKENZIE: I’m thinking that that are countries that’ll accommodate us.
JOHN WILSON: That’s what I’m kind of leading around to is one of our callers, our listeners, at least, e-mails me, says why not lease the helicopters while we’re waiting for Sikorsky to come up with the ones we’ve bought? So I suppose that’s an option.
DAVE MACKENZIE: It would be an option. Whether or not we could do that, who’s to say for sure. But I think that, you know, most options would be examined and studied and, you know, we’ll come up with something that’s applicable and important for our troops overseas.
You know, we’re asking them to do a tremendous job and they are doing a great job, our men and women over there, but we can’t do it if we don’t provide them with the great equipment.
JOHN WILSON: Agreed. Let’s go the phones and talk to Arn this morning. Go ahead, Arn.
CALLER: Good morning.
JOHN WILSON: How are you?
CALLER: I can’t help but wonder about the security aspect of the whole public discussions going on. You know, if you’re capturing people and making certain moves in Afghanistan, the moment there’s a public discussion, it gets on the Internet, it proves intelligence for Al Qaeda and the Taliban. These guys are not stupid and it seems to me that there’s been no public discussion about the need to have some of these locations held secret, have some of the processes held secret.
As a taxpayer, I really don’t want to know military secrets. I trust the military to do their job and I realize that people like Jack Layton don’t believe in our military carrying guns or shooting people; but for the vast majority of Canadians, I think we have confidence in our troops and their ethical and moral conduct and I think there needs to be a discussion about us respecting the need for security.
JOHN WILSON: I think that’s a good point, you know. And to put it in a very small nutshell, it goes back to World War Two saying loose lips sink ships. There’s a point to that. And so Dave, how much should we know about the mission, really, I guess?
DAVE MACKENZIE: Well, I certainly appreciate the comments from your caller because I think, you know, although we hear from, you know, some folks, I think that the sentiments expressed by your caller are probably those of the vast majority of Canadians who do want to see safety and security for our people, both in Canada, and for our troops around the world. The difficulty is that we’ve now got such an open lines of communications…
JOHN WILSON: Yes.
DAVE MACKENZIE: … with the Internet, I don’t know how you can get this stuff shut down. You would hope that people would use some common sense but you know, I just know, I’m an old policeman, effective common sense is not so common.
JOHN WILSON: Don’t bet the mortgage on it.
DAVE MACKENZIE: No, no. But I think you’re absolutely right. I just don’t know the mechanism that you would employ.
JOHN WILSON: Yes. How do you put the genie back in the bottle, Arn?
CALLER: I don’t know that you can, once it’s out but you can certainly take steps and I think maybe this is something that the government is at fault about, and that is not educating the public about these kinds of issues and saying to the public, look, we’ve got men and women in harm’s way. What they’re doing is exceedingly dangerous. And we can’t be giving out information that can be used by the enemy.
JOHN WILSON: Yes.
CALLER: You know, during World War Two, my uncle was captured at Dieppe and this is a story just apropos.
JOHN WILSON: I got about 15 seconds for you to tell it.
CALLER: He was believed to be dead. My father came across him on the street in 1946. Now, he didn’t know he was alive. And we don’t take our security anywhere near that seriously.
JOHN WILSON: Yes. I agree with you. I think you got a good point. Thank you, Arn. Appreciate it.
Dave, when we come back, we’ll just have time to say goodbye, I think, and another word or two but 643-2222 is where we’re at. Dave Mackenzie, the Conservative member for Oxford, with us this morning. We’ll be right back.
JOHN WILSON: Well once again, as is usual on a Friday, time moves faster than my list of topics that I wanted to talk about with Conservative member, Dave Mackenzie, of Oxford.
Dave, it’s a pleasure to have you on and we’ll look forward to having you again in about a dozen weeks or so. It’s been nice to have you.
DAVE MACKENZIE: It’s been my pleasure, John. Thank you very much.
JOHN WILSON: There’s so much we haven’t talked about. Infrastructure funding and finances and we’re spending $10 million on Quebec’s 400th anniversary, thank you very much. But next time, we’ll talk about all that and much more. Dave, Thanks a lot.
DAVE MACKENZIE: Thank you, John.
JOHN WILSON: Dave Mackenzie, the Conservative for Oxford County. The first appearance for Dave on behalf of the riding of Oxford, and of course we are happy to have Oxford back in our rota again.