Canadian Armed Forces

Canadian Armed Forces

China has gone beyond saber-rattling to breach air defence zones near Taiwan. A feared pending invasion forcing Taiwan to become the PRC’s 34th province could spark a global conflict.

The European Union has renewed calls for an EU military force to counter the shockingly rapid rise of an Islamic terrorist threat since the August U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan that armed the bad guys with $85 billion in military equipment left behind.

Things are heating up elsewhere, including, once again, the Balkans. 

The world could be set on fire faster than a flick of a BIC. 

And just this weekend, a Canadian who was part of a charity group building an orphanage in Haiti was kidnapped by gangsters and is likely being held for ransom.

Canada Armed Forces (CAF) may be called on, in a heartbeat, to deploy abroad or to another major crisis on the home front.

Yet the federal government is hellbent on depleting Canada’s already severely reduced military that shrunk between 2,000-2,800 in the past year, bringing it to a shortage hovering around 10,000 personnel.

In May, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) put out a plea to foreign pilots to come fly Canada’s military helicopters and jets to fill between 130-225 spots. That brings to mind an old saying shared by a friend: You’ll always have a military in your country. It’s just better if it’s your military.”

Yet military brass is clapping like trained seals in approval over the current threat to reduce personnel numbers even more. All personnel must be fully vaccinated.

In an October 15 Defence Team Messages e-mail flagged as Important for all Defence Team members, CAF personnel were ordered to “complete your COVID-19 vaccination attestation today.” 

All Department of National Defence (DOD) public service employees and CAF members must complete a vaccine attestation by October 29, regardless of status — fully, partially or unvaccinated. 

“You have an obligation to provide a true attestation. Submitting a false statement … may end up in disciplinary action up to and including termination,” says the e-mail.

“Attestations will be audited and managers can ask for proof of vaccinations at any time.”

CAF members unwilling to comply with COVID-19 full vaccination directive “may be subject to remedial or alternative measures.” 

“Public servants who do not attest to their vaccination status, or are unwilling to be vaccinated, will be placed on administrative leave without pay as of Nov. 15, 2021.”

“In the exceptional case that you are unable to be vaccinated because of a certified medical contraindication, religion, or another prohibited ground for discrimination as defined under the Canadian Human Rights Act, you may request accommodation.”

“Your manager, in consultation with labour relations (for public servants) and the chain of command (for CAF members), will then determine and implement appropriate accommodation measures, if deemed appropriate. Managers will provide temporary mitigation measures for the Defence Team member while gathering relevant information on both the validity of the accommodation requirement and the appropriate measures.”

Who is this defence team? Do people who wouldn’t last two minutes on a night patrol in a conflict zone have the power to lord over military personnel and decide if they can keep their jobs to feed their kids?

Our armed forces members are trusted to make split-second life or death decisions, but they don’t have the right to bodily autonomy because some fool sitting behind a desk says so.

And imagine the anguish of uncertainty that swirls around the unknown. Will the unvaccinated who are forced to quit keep their pensions? Medical benefits? 

Is there any truth to the rumor that certain parts of the military will be exempt from this tyranny? Would that be the foreign pilots on the payroll?

No worries, a senior army commander flippantly said Sunday. About 90% of military personnel are fully vaccinated and he doesn’t expect much opposition from the rest who aren’t.

That leaves 10% who might be forced out, which is a lot in a depleted military that commanders keep raising alarms about being short-staffed.

Brig.-Gen. Bill Fletcher, who heads 12,000 reservists and regular forces in Western Canada’s 3rd Division, appears to be more concerned with bowing to his Liberal masters than fighting for troops who have vaccination concerns.

“It’s been made very clear by the government that we will follow the same direction that the government has given the public service and we will enforce mandatory vaccines averse the Canadian military,” Fletcher told CBC News.

It makes you long for the days when generals acted like generals in charge.

Fletcher also said he couldn’t comment on what will happen to unvaccinated personnel.

They’ll lose their jobs sir, but let them eat cake.

If a high-ranking commander won’t fight for all troops, then who will? No one it seems.

The Canadian military is facing a personnel shortage because people are getting out and the recruitment system is broken.

Despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promises ages ago to bolster the ranks, along with a lot of hoopla in 2018 over a recruiting drive, the numbers haven’t manifested.

It’s not that Canadians aren’t eager to sign up. About 20,000 people are on the waiting list to get in. The system to process them is excruciatingly slow.

Is that incompetence or intentional? Those Liberals hardly have a good track record when it comes to supporting our men and women in uniform.

This is just the latest example. 

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard

Senior Columnist (Manitoba)

Linda Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard based out of Winnipeg. She has been an investigative columnist for the Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun, Edmonton Sun, and Alberta Report.

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