Despite what they tell themselves and the rest of the world, Canadians are among the most jingoistic of peoples that inhabit this planet. Cakers are as susceptible to militarism as the next group, and Lord knows that Canada is as dependent on welfare for the lower classes as any other two-bit country. But the desperate state of Canada’s military is absolutely worth writing home about precisely because it represents a profound abrogation of the normal relationship between worker and company. In exchange for selling their lives and time to the Forces, Canada provides horrendous, sloppy equipment and a procurement system that can best be described as Soviet. And when it isn’t busy failing at procurement it places the lives of innocents around the world at risk.
This series is going to focus on two different points of failure within the Canadian Forces. Some of these posts are going to focus on Canada’s pathological inability to provide modern equipment, like the decades-long effort to replace the Sea King which ended up shackling Canada to a helicopter that isn’t powerful enough to do the job. Others are going to be about “dirty little secrets” like Canada’s horrendous slaughter of two Somalian teenagers and its subsequent attempt to cover the murders up. In both cases the common refrain is abject disregard for the human beings who actually suffer for Ottawa’s incessant failure.
In a world where 49 Canadian Rangers have died over four years (and while not fighting in any wars), the Canadian government has spent over $600,000…on stealth snowmobiles. When Canada deployed to Afghanistan in 2002, they sent troops wearing forest camo. And this is after at least 3 separate engagements in deserts. The reserves are in atrocious shape. And the Arctic? Literally can’t provide enough heat to run military operations. From the Ross Rifle to the shield-shovel to the F-35, Canada has a long-standing heritage of equipment and procurement failure. And speaking of Canadian procurement failures the withered husk of Canadian manufacturing has no problem supplying some of the worst human rights offenders on Earth with life-ending hardware. Nothing better for a country that prides itself on an ersatz peacekeeping role!
On to the other side of the pillow now, where we can talk about Canada’s myriad strategic fuckups and failures. Like sending people to Afghanistan without any kind of mental health assistance, a choice that has cost the lives of at least 70 people. Or there’s the ever-popular problem of the military being infiltrated by white supremacists. Those good old Canadian boys doing their best to make Canada proud apparently decided to do so by way of openly mocking a campaign to address rampant sexual harassment within the Canadian Forces. And don’t even get started on the Cadets, an alarming jingoistic organization predicated on drilling caker propaganda into the minds of young children…alongside a different kind of drilling. And if some poor brown people end up as collateral damage, well…let’s not look terribly hard into that possibility, shall we?
Canada’s military is a mythologized entity whose myriad failings and basic premise reveal brutal truths about this country. As a system that entraps the poorest of Canadians the Canadian Forces offer substandard equipment and training in a context of extreme danger and tension. The Forces indirectly show how little Canada cares for its poorest and how inept Canada is at dealing with the kinds of basic procurement problems that any large entity should be able to handle. As a shambolic display of misery, failure, misplaced pride, and inattention to improvement the Canadian Armed Forces are, indeed, truly Canadian.
It’s just a shame that so many innocent people are caught up in the failure.