Personally, I feel Mr. O'Reilly is unworthy of being a parliamentary secretary to the Minister of National Defence (and, I'm exercising phenomenal self-restraint by limiting myself to this statement, and not saying what I really think about this weasel). Here's the background:
MP's comment draws fire from general
Remark that generals only 'get conscience' after first pension cheque riles MacKenzie
The Ottawa Citizen
A retired general has angrily replied to an MP's remark that generals get "some type of conscience" as soon as they get their first pension cheques.
Retired Gen. Lewis MacKenzie fired off a letter to John O'Reilly, parliamentary secretary to Defence Minister Art Eggleton, after he got a copy of remarks made by Mr. O'Reilly in the Commons in mid May.
Gen. MacKenzie is among the prominent retired generals who have recently warned the government that it must spend more money to replace equipment and attract recruits. Canadian troops are in "serious trouble," Gen. MacKenzie told the Commons defence committee, prior to Mr. O'Reilly's remarks.
The generals, including retired lieutenant-general Romeo Dallaire, retired lieutenant-general Charles Belzile and retired major-general Clive Addy, disputed chief of the defence staff Gen. Maurice Baril, who told the committee troops are now more combat-capable than they had been a decade ago. Gen. Baril, who is retiring, oversaw a 30-per-cent budget cut to the military.
On May 14, in response to a question from Alliance MP Roy Bailey, Mr. O'Reilly said in the Commons: "I have never been allowed to say it, but it seems to me that as soon as a general retires he receives with his first pension cheque some sort of conscience he never had when he was in the Canadian Forces."
But Gen. MacKenzie, who commanded United Nations peacekeepers in Bosnia, says he has risked the ire of National Defence before to warn about problems in the military.
In 1989 he said leadership of was in crisis and leaders' credibility with troops was at an all-time low.
In 1992, he critiqued the UN's ability to conduct large-scale operations. UN commanders praised him, but he was reprimanded by the Department of national Defence, which precipitated his decision to retire early.
Gen. MacKenzie remarked that within hours of announcing his retirement, Prime Minister Jean Chretien, then opposition leader, asked him to run as a Liberal.
"Presumably he was not concerned that, according to you, I was operating without a conscience," he said in a stinging letter to Mr. O'Reilly.
Last night, Gen. MacKenzie said he has spoken to some of his fellow retired generals who are "most upset" by Mr. O'Reilly's comments.
"I was upset that someone would attack my personal standards," he said. "For someone to say I have suddenly discovered a conscience is wrong."