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Commentary "Why No One Should Join the Canadian Forces"

Edward Campbell

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Old Sweat said:
Won't work. There is very little, verging on nil, support for increasing defence spending in the Canadian public. DND and the CAF are also on very shaky ground as they have shown very little capacity for sound fiscal and programme management, not to mention suffering from bureaucratic bloat and over-ranking. I suggest the embarrassing fiascos in major capital programs - F35, FWSAR, all sorts of vehicles and ship building - of a few years back did little to convince the PM that defence funding was being wisely spent. 

And there is little to convince me that either of the other two major parties would be anymore sympathetic or likely to increase funding. From what I can gather, the priorities are: NDP - national childcare; and Liberals - infrastructure. Both are potential vote getters, which defence spending is not.


Old Sweat is spot on.

First: despite all the yellow ribbons and red t-shirts, Canadians' "support" for the troops, while a mile wide, is less than an inch deep. This is deeply rooted in our own and our British political heritage. Occasional bursts of jingoism do not constitute "faith" in the Canadian Forces ... and, in my opinion, that is a good tradition ... we ought to think beyond the easy solutions offered my the man on the white horse.

Second: see this; I am pretty sure it is as true today as it was when I wrote it.

DND, especially NDHQ, needs a thorough house cleaning - think Hercules and the Augean Stables. The place is too full of too much human detritus, most of it sitting in large, corner offices.
 

daftandbarmy

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cryco said:
Someone should create a documentary with some inside help showing the current state of equipment and training materials, along with military personnel morale and broadcast it to the world.
Twist the PM's arm (through embarrassment) into freeing up some more money for the CAF. Money goes along way to improving things.

Be careful what you wish for....

If you did make such a movie, and compared it to a similar program made in the 90s, I'm betting that today would look pretty good in comparison.
 

Tibbson

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The "article" reads more like someone went through some of the baseless gripes and half truths we get around here and mashed them into a few paragraphs to get their name out there.
 

Tibbson

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Occam said:
I'm not sure how to take that.  Is the fact that he was seeking an NDP nomination a bad thing?  From my perspective as a veteran, our best friend right now is Peter Stoffer, an NDP MP. 

Agreed, Stoffer is a great advocate for military issues and vets.  I think he may be even more effective in what he is trying to achieve and the causes he is trying to support if he was a member of any other party though.  I used to have a lot of time for Ed Broadbent too but I never liked his party.
 
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jollyjacktar

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I know Peter personally.  He used to be my member until the 2006 election when Martin changed the electoral boundaries to the present day configuration.  I now belong to that other Peter from Pictau.  Although I wouldn't vote for the NDP, I did vote for Peter as the person not the party member.  If he was still my MP he would continue to get my vote.  I like his integrity.
 

MilEME09

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Schindler's Lift said:
Agreed, Stoffer is a great advocate for military issues and vets.  I think he may be even more effective in what he is trying to achieve and the causes he is trying to support if he was a member of any other party though.  I used to have a lot of time for Ed Broadbent too but I never liked his party.

I think he would make a good MND, and stand up for and clean up DND, but it's a question of if the NDP got into power would they let him be effective by giving him the budget and the power to do what is needed. Which i don't believe the NDP would.
 

PuckChaser

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MilEME09 said:
I think he would make a good MND, and stand up for and clean up DND, but it's a question of if the NDP got into power would they let him be effective by giving him the budget and the power to do what is needed. Which i don't believe the NDP would.

I think you're completely wrong. Do you honestly think the NDP would allow Stoffer to clean up all the union types that need to be fired to fix DND? They'd be biting the hand that feeds them. In fact, they'd hire more PS workers to boost the union dues that end up as party donations.
 

BorisK

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Exactly what I needed to read on the day I completed my swearing in ceremony. 

I'm looking at it this way... Even if it my experience in the CF does prove to be less than enjoyable due to the reasons outlined in the article, someone has to do it, so I will do my best to do so with pride regardless of the difficulties.

I must say though, how we spend less than Spain... I am confused. 

Oh well, let the journey begin.
 

MilEME09

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PuckChaser said:
I think you're completely wrong. Do you honestly think the NDP would allow Stoffer to clean up all the union types that need to be fired to fix DND? They'd be biting the hand that feeds them. In fact, they'd hire more PS workers to boost the union dues that end up as party donations.

That is what I meant, Stoffer the MP would be great, its the party he is attached to that is the problem
 

PuckChaser

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MilEME09 said:
That is what I meant, Stoffer the MP would be great, its the party he is attached to that is the problem

Maybe, but if he's such a great advocate for the vets, where's the private member's bill to amend the NVC or create a new one? Make the other parties vote against it and set the precedent. Until I see actual action, he's just grasping at something he feels he can embarrass the government on, and now that he's done it for so long he can't give it up.
 

Tibbson

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E.R. Campbell said:
The place is too full of too much human detritus, most of it sitting in large, corner offices.

Shared corner cubicles is more like it.  At least it is from my shared desk space.
 

Tibbson

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PuckChaser said:
Maybe, but if he's such a great advocate for the vets, where's the private member's bill to amend the NVC or create a new one? Make the other parties vote against it and set the precedent. Until I see actual action, he's just grasping at something he feels he can embarrass the government on, and now that he's done it for so long he can't give it up.

A private members bill would get him, maybe, a page 2 headline in his hometown newspaper and wouldn't get past first reading.  It won't set any precedent other then confirm most private members bills are a waste of time unless they are in lockstep with the flavour of the day minor subject. 
 

PuckChaser

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Its all how its presented. Big press conference, lots of vets hanging around. You under-estimate the media's willingness to take jabs at Harper at any cost.
 

Occam

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PuckChaser said:
I think you're completely wrong. Do you honestly think the NDP would allow Stoffer to clean up all the union types that need to be fired to fix DND? They'd be biting the hand that feeds them. In fact, they'd hire more PS workers to boost the union dues that end up as party donations.

Two comments on that: 

One, more workers is not necessarily a bad thing.  The workers don't set policy.  Most union people aren't in a position to set budgets, policy, etc.  I'm in a section of five positions where only three are filled - and the work of five still has to get done.  As a result, the work that does get done falls under the old "fast, good or cheap - pick two" rule.

Two, the people who are in the positions to set policy are EX classification, and I don't believe they're unionized.  You can start there.  ;D
 

TCM621

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daftandbarmy said:
Be careful what you wish for....

If you did make such a movie, and compared it to a similar program made in the 90s, I'm betting that today would look pretty good in comparison.
Where they screwed up in the 90s, was that they let people choose if they wanted out or not. We are still paying for that. They guys that have to go aren't going great to volunteer.

If your department takes 12 years to get a backpack out to (most) of the army and problems are found with in weeks, people need to be fired. If your department. If you are unable to spend a huge part your budget, someone needs to be fired. Either in your department because they can't get their shit together or in the department that is causing you grief. We all know of people, be they military or civilian, who are universally known as hindrances to getting the job done and have been for years. We need, as an organization, be able to get rid of them. Sometimes, it is just a lateral move but we should not accept long term incompetence just because they belong to a union  or the trade is red.

 

Eye In The Sky

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BorisK said:
Exactly what I needed to read on the day I completed my swearing in ceremony. 

I'm looking at it this way... Even if it my experience in the CF does prove to be less than enjoyable due to the reasons outlined in the article, someone has to do it, so I will do my best to do so with pride regardless of the difficulties.

I must say though, how we spend less than Spain... I am confused. 

Oh well, let the journey begin.

Don't let one article, especially that one, take away from your 1st day in the CAF, or detract from your commitment of being 'in the service' - the service of Canada, our Government, and our other bosses' - the Canadian public.  Maybe a lot of them don't actually know, or some care, how we do what we do.  None of that takes away from how important it is that we 'serve'.

Congrats on the swearing in, by the way. 
 

Retired AF Guy

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Hatchet Man said:
I am sure if you dredge the archives here from the late 90's early 2000s, there are similar articles. In fact it always seems to be the same themes recurring over and over.

Or even further. Go back to the mid-70's when we had no blanks and had to go around shouting, "bullets, bullets, bullets" instead.
 

ModlrMike

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The simple truth is that the Government, any government, gives the CF only so much real support as the pubic wants. I'm not talking the flashy commercials and rah-rah speeches. I mean real dollars and cents support. The true blame for underfunding accrues not to the government, but rather to the governed.

 

Brad Sallows

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>Since then the life of a reservist has been reduced to make-believe bullets and shoe-string budget exercises.

So things are no different than when I joined (Militia) in 1983 (and probably no different from the perspective of many who joined the Militia a few years earlier or later).  Yet we did join, and some of us stuck with it for a longish while, through years of notional bullets and notional trucks and notional platoons and "voluntary" Class A paysheets and notional who-knows-what-else.

Vote Liberal.  Maybe they can find another contract to cancel to burn $478 million dollars ($694 million inflation adjusted from 1993 to 2014).  Notional bullets for all.
 

blacktriangle

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ModlrMike said:
The simple truth is that the Government, any government, gives the CF only so much real support as the pubic wants. I'm not talking the flashy commercials and rah-rah speeches. I mean real dollars and cents support. The true blame for underfunding accrues not to the government, but rather to the governed.

Hold a national referendum on defence then, with three options:

1. Canadian Armed Forces disbanded, replaced by an enhanced CCG.

2. Contract defence out to the United States or NATO

3. Properly fund, train, and equip the CAF. Long term budget of 2% of GDP.


Let Canadians choose what they want. My gut tells me it would be option #1. Canadians don't truly want a capable military, but we are too proud to rely entirely on the US. Canadians at most want a token force. We can contract out the supply runs for boots and blankets.
 
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