Hillier's fiercest foe was PM's office

Rick Hillier

By Allan Woods, Ottawa Bureau, 20 October 2009

Officials in the Prime Minister's Office ordered the military to hide the return to Canada of the first female soldier killed in combat because they didn't want her flag-draped coffin seen on the news, according to former chief of defence staff Gen. Rick Hillier.

In a new autobiography, the popular former top soldier recounts the battles he waged against all-controlling officials in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government. Meddling in the hero's welcome that the Canadian Forces had planned for the repatriation of Capt. Nichola Goddard was Hillier's "line in the sand." […]

The controversy over letting the media show the return of Goddard's body from the dusty district of Panjwaii, where she was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade on May 17, 2006, turned into a very public battle when her grieving father upbraided the Conservative government for censoring a politically painful event. But it was also the source of a private dispute between the head of the Canadian Forces and his political masters.


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Photo: Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press