Wings Magazine

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Editorial: Renewed Hope for our Defence?

John McCallum has one obvious problem: He is inexperienced in matters of national defence.


October 3, 2007
By Richard Purser

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The abrupt ouster, on a Sunday afternoon, of Art Eggleton as
minister of defence was a grievous embarrassment for the ex-minister;
but that's what comes from embarrassing his boss, the prime minister,
once too often.

But forget about Eggleton. (We already have, haven't we?) The
important thing is that there's a new minister – and, under the
circumstances, this one faces extraordinary opportunity along with
extraordinary challenge.

John McCallum has one obvious problem: He is inexperienced in
matters of national defence. But that goes with our parliamentary
system.The health minister doesn't have to be experienced in medicine,
either. Departmental ministers are elected representatives and provide
political jurisdiction over government departments. The expertise lies
within the departments.The minister's success depends on his use of
that expertise. McCallum is obviously capable, a professional economist
with degrees from Canada, France and England and experience both as an
academic and more recently as a well-paid Royal Bank of Canada
executive.

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