A mere two days have passed since Canada's loss at the 2005 World Hockey Championship at the hands of the Czech Republic. Canadians from coast to coast are still licking their wounds, but the federal government has put forward a proposal that aims to restore our shattered pride, and that's something Canucks everywhere can cheer about.
"It's time to stop licking, and time to start kicking!" hollered an exuberant Paul Martin to a boisterous crowd of supporters during his tour of Atlantic Canada.The new Liberal plan would see upwards of 150 troops sent to Sudan's war-ravaged Darfur region
. The small peacekeeping force would be dropped directly in the middle of what the United Nations has called the greatest humanitarian crisis facing the world today. With no guns.
Buoyed by the roar of the crowd, Martin was in no mood for dithering. "If the UN wants to call them peacekeepers, then that's fine, but I tell you these soldiers are going to a place where no pansy-ass Swedish referee can see them!"
Taking a page from the Americans, the campaign will begin with a so-called “shock and awe” phase, with newly purchased Airbus A-380 squadrons dropping dilapidated Sea King helicopters
in order to kick up dust in the arid Sudanese desert. Anonymous sources inside the Tory camp
suggest instead that the Canadian military drop Liberal party members, citing the militants lack a proper emergency response plan to defend against dirty bomb attacks.
General Rick Hillier, Chief of the Defence Staff for the Canadian Forces, has expressed concern that this "complex and relatively dangerous environment" might put further pressure on a military already spread far too thin. However Bill Graham, Minister of National Defence, claims the general has ulterior motives. "He probably just wants an increase in his allowance. I'll handle it the same way I deal with my stupid kids. I'll just ignore them until they go away and it's no longer my problem."
Despite six months of planning, it appears the Sudanese government was never consulted on the topic of foreign troops on their soil. Asked whether the entire announcement was just smoke and mirrors in order to buy the support of independent MP David Kilgour for the upcoming budget vote, the Prime Minister was vague. "Look, I think we can really beat these guys. I think we can take 'em!"
Tory leader Stephen Harper was quick to denounce the Liberal plan as just another shoddy strut to prop up a beleaguered minority government, although he did say that a Conservative government would expand the military operation. "The Sudanis are using war and famine as weapons of mass destruction, so we have to bring democracy to them. The brave Canadian army will bring freedom to the Sudanites. Look what Lord Bush has done for the Iraqistanis!"
NDP leader Jack Layton bristled at the thought of a military solution to the Darfur crisis, but softened his stance when it was revealed that the Canadian troops would be unarmed
. "This new force will benefit from lessons learned during the Asian Tsunami relief effort," referring to Canada's DART (Disaster Assistance Response Team
Military historians will note that the Catastrophe Assistance Response Team (CART), an early precursor to DART, was dissolved by the Mulroney government. Recently the Canadian Forces created a new unit to address the shortcomings of the inefficient DART. Holding to tradition, they stepped through the alphabet to name the ill-fated Early Assistance Response Team (EART), which was disbanded after only a few days when auditor general Sheila Fraser threatened to examine their accounting records.
Paul Martin is expected to unveil the name of the new special-ops unit later this week, however The Maple Lounge has already obtained this classified operational information. The plan to send troops to Sudan is apparently a complete mystery to both the Canadian and Sudanese governments, and the idea of dropping unarmed soldiers directly into a brutal civil war simply reeks of hot air. Hence the rather appropriate name for the new force: Futile Assistance Response Team (FART).