Thursday, June 21, 2007

Asymmetric Diplomacy: Cellucci's New Digs

Calian Technologies, an Ottawa-based "technology service provider," appointed former U.S. Ambassador to Canada (2001-2005) Paul Cellucci to its Board of Directors on Tuesday. You might recall that Cellucci was a big proponent of Canada's military transformation and its accompanying spending hikes. Calian is a beneficiary of the ensuing defence largesse in Ottawa.

Calian's revenues have jumped from $132 million in 2002 to $183 million in 2006. Some of their profits come directly from the war in Afghanistan. They boast in their 2006 Annual Report:

"The majority of our training contracts with the Department of National Defence have experienced significant organic growth over the past several years and 2006 was no different. Our simulation training services have expanded significantly in support of the Canadian Forces (CF) NATO deployment in Afghanistan."
They also have a hand in an undisclosed training program for Canadian Forces recruiters:
"In addition, we continue to see ever increasing demand for our training services in support of the CF’s ongoing recruitment."
In their short article on Cellucci's appointment, the Canadian Press recalled his "attracting rancour for his criticism of Canada's decision not to enlist in the war in Iraq." They, and the rest of the few outfits that covered the story, seem to have forgotten that Cellucci was only playing up the 'shame on you Canada' bit for the media. He rectified this mischaracterization himself in a March 26, 2003 Ottawa Citizen article, well worth quoting at length, especially since it still applies:
Canada's role in the war against terrorism in Afghanistan is indirectly providing more support to the U.S.-led war in Iraq than most of the nations in the coalition fighting Saddam Hussein's regime, U.S. ambassador to Canada Paul Cellucci said yesterday.
Canada's refusal to join the Iraq campaign without UN support is being offset by Canada's extended contribution of warships in the Persian Gulf and some Canadian military planners working with U.S. and British forces in the Gulf region, Mr. Cellucci said in a Toronto speech to a business audience and in later comments to journalists.
As well, the U.S. has used Newfoundland as a refuelling stop for military flights en route to the Middle East.

"Ironically, the Canadians indirectly provide more support for us in Iraq than most of those" 45 countries in the coalition against Iraq, Mr. Cellucci said.

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