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Friday, September 29, 2023
Letter: Neglect of Canada’s military is embarrassing
Letter to the editor. File

Dear editor:

The state of our armed forces is a major concern. It is a total embarrassment that we are fourth from the bottom for not keeping up with our financial commitment to NATO. 

While we are not a country of militarism, we punched well above our weight in the two world wars. In the First World War we had 650,000 personnel fighting (out of a population of 8 million) and captured many places that others had failed to do. 

In the Second World War, we performed similarly, including on the beaches on D-Day.

Today, we have fewer than 90,000 personnel which includes all three services, all ranks, and both regular and reserve. 

We have given a lot of equipment to Ukraine (which I don’t regret) but are not replacing it. 

Yes, we have ordered new fighter aircraft but we won’t have all of them until 2036. Our ships are at the end of their lifespan but new ships under construction are way overdue and over budget because we insist on making them here in Canada. 

While this would be ideal, we need them now. Our army is also in need of new equipment. 

Recruiting is totally ineffective. We now use the forces as a labour pool, not necessarily for their actual purpose of being capable of defending our country. We have good people ready to do the job but need to make sure they have all the tools they need.

Neglect of the forces has been going on for years despite whatever party is in power. Politicians focus on issues that will get them elected but they also need to look after all their responsibilities. 

I don’t remember any mention by any party in the past election even bringing up the state of the military and their plans to handle defence issues. 

Relying on the Americans to protect us is not the attitude an independent country should have. Next election ask your candidates their party’s policy on defence and ask for specifics, not platitudes.

Doug Johnson

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