The Difficulty of Doing Right
Dave Killion — May 28, 2011
The Canadian government has declined to send even more troops to help flood victims in Quebec. This is a very bold move, and it has upset an awful lot of people who think that when people hurt, government has to make it better. The reasons for the decision were stated very plainly –
“As you can appreciate the role of the Canadian Forces is mainly centred on defence activities and therefore they must maintain a capacity in this area to deal with other events should they occur in the country or abroad. Moreover the services you are requesting, if they were authorized, would place the Canadian Forces in competition with the private sector at the local and provincial level which could accomplish this type of reintegration work...”
This is a sound position. Soldiers are for national defence, not for coming to the rescue of people who elect to live in areas subject to disasters. If folks are going to live on a flood plain, or in tornado alley, or (as I do) in an earthquake zone, they shouldn’t do so knowing that the feds are going to use other people’s money to ride to the rescue when things go sideways. Otherwise, there will be more resources spent rescuing people than there would have been had people expected that they would have to rely on their own preparedness, the charity of others, and, yes, the profit-making private sector.
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