Other than supporting Iggy, the folks at TDS Strategies are usually pretty much on the ball. However, in commenting on Harper's Cypress photo-op, they wrote the following:
One thing that has become clear as a result of Harper's excursion, however, has been the embarrassing inability of Canada to react to crisis'. Whether it was our attempts to send in the DART team during the tsunami, or now with the complete chaos that is being created by Canadian rescue efforts, we seem completely clueless in how to run these types of operations in a timely and efficient manner.
This isn't a partisan Liberal vs. Conservative type of comment, but one that should be of concern to everyone. God forbid that something similar ever happens within the confines of the Canadian border.
Let's let Tony Gilles of Lakehead University (an expert on earthquake engineering) respond to this:
DART is not a rapid response emergency search and rescue team (although its engineering unit is certainly capable in this area) and, therefore, it is not the team to send into a disaster area in the hours immediately following such an event. Response in the first 24 hours is critical for rescue operations, and there are many international teams highly skilled in this task and equipped with trained dogs and specialised search devices... As a primary care medical unit, the DART team attends to illness, disease and obstetrics, and the demand for these treatments increases in the weeks after a disaster, whereas the trauma units are winding down their role at this time.
These same contributions can be expected in Sri Lanka. It has taken a week or more to understand the enormous scale of the disaster in Asia − recall in the first hours a loss of 12,000 lives was reported; now we are facing a loss which may exceed 200,000 − twice the population of Thunder Bay. DART requires a large physical area to establish its base, and its specialised engineering capacity ideally needs to be located near to a primary water treatment facility in order to establish a long-term water supply. It is, therefore, prudent to take time to assess the scope of the disaster and to select carefully the site for the team so that it can have the greatest impact in the longer term towards the recovery of the community.
It is an unfortunate fact that even in so huge a humanitarian crisis, some news media and politicians seize on the opportunity to politicise the national and international response. Surely partisan politics can be set aside in these circumstances and the focus turn to investigative journalism identifying the needs and the most efficient and effective response strategies? Had these politicians taken time to educate the public on the capacity and role of DART, the apparent delay in its deployment would be better understood by the public. Canadians should take great pride in the contribution that the DART team will make in the current crisis.
Also, if I remember correctly, DART's Water Purification Unit (if that's their proper name) was on site in New Orleans and setting up equipment within a couple of days of Katrina. In fact, I believe they beat the U.S. military to the scene .
So one thing I don't worry about too much is how efficiently the Canadian Forces will respond to a domestic emergency.