Are Snowbirds practising to tackle Red Baron?

Dear editor,

Prime Minister Harper has always made a point of emphasizing his support for our military assets.

Dear editor,

Prime Minister Harper has always made a point of emphasizing his support for our military assets.

In fact Mr. Harper’s governments have overseen an explosion of procurement contracts and military spending. Armed icebreakers, advanced F-35s, long-range jet transports and naval support vessels: As the prime minister likes to say, he wants our forces to have “more teeth and less tail.”

So I suppose it must have been the “tail” that was flying over the Comox Valley this weekend.

It’s hard to imagine that air show performers could really have that much “teeth.” They are pretty, though.

Painted an iconic red and white colour scheme that might be mistaken for Polish, and emitting exhausted hydrocarbons that refract the afternoon sun in a fittingly 40-year-old, 1960s psychedelic kind of way.

Barnstorming, or in the absence of barns, house storming, they lunge and dip, diving, soaring and roaring, all our mid-April days. I guess I should be grateful for the free demonstrations.

But what are they demonstrating, our air forces ability to take on Snoopy and the Red Baron?

More likely it’s their penchant for burning through dollars, military readiness, and fuel by the thousands of gallons; any responsible military would be consigning these demonstration birds to extinction. A sane general would send these Snowbirds, the way of the hapless and flightless dodo bird.

Not so way above, but apparently beyond all reason, our iconic Canadian jet mascots are fuelled up for another season.

I suppose it’s a little ironic that when our Snowbirds fly south this year they’ll find it queer, that the air show circuit skies will be less crowded. To save money for its “teeth,” the American superpower has grounded its PR air show squadron fleets.

Canadian ground forces are now suffering cuts of almost 22 per cent, and Mr. Harper’s austerity is pinching all of the Department of Defence. With Finance Minister Flaherty’s real financial constraints, I wonder if the military’s most urgent need ain’t demonstrating that we have planes that can fly in circles, unarmed and at slow speeds.

Perhaps, as Mr. Harper says, our forces should indeed be “more teeth And less tail.”

Steve W. Hodge,


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