Canada's Armed Forces unprepared, under supported and over committed

Thunder Bay, Ontario - Wednesday, September 25, 2002 - by: Richard P. Neumann




The evidence is abundant. An empty Throne Speech. A minister who trumpets his lack of knowledge at every opportunity. A decision to put cabinet comfort before lives and necessity. The Liberals have decided that while the beleaguered men and women of the Armed Forces do not warrant their attention, they remain perfectly willing to ask them for further sacrifice to serve their own political purpose.




Canada has entered a period of conflict in the past with an entirely unprepared military. But never before has the government had the unmitigated gall to trumpet its potential contribution to a military operation while simultaneously working to limit that military's effectiveness.




Defence Minister John McCallum recently stated that Canada could make a "sizable commitment" to war in Iraq. Unfortunately the facts do not support that contention according to the Conference of Defence Associations recently released report on the state of the Forces.




Within five years our Navy will be unable to operate independently and have difficulty maintaining even a coastal presence, the Air Force will have to abandon continuous coastal surveillance and end northern patrols altogether. As for the weakest link, the Army remains incapable of transporting or sustaining itself in the field. Unfortunately, what Canada can contribute and what they will contribute are not the same, and it is the troops who will make up for the difference.




It is inappropriate to ask the Americans to bare the burden of transporting our small force to a far off land. It is indefensible to ask our troops to make such a commitment when many have only recently returned from other stressful operations. It is unconscionable to send our troops into harms way if we are not prepared, as a nation, to ensure they have the best possibility of returning safely.



and cost

If the members of our Armed Forces are willing to accept the risk we ask of them, we must in turn be willing to accept both the responsibility and cost, even if it means five more minutes in a doctor's waiting room.

Richard Neumann



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