#65 – The Myth of the Military, Part Three: Drowning is Fun!

English Canada doesn’t care about the Coast Guard, which is a problem given the amount of coast that Canada claims. And yes, I’m aware that the Canadian Coast Guard isn’t a military force. But it has the insignia and the structure and it gets shit on too, so I’m putting this here. Also, they are tasked with enforcing Canada’s control over the Arctic. Also also, fuck you. Where else am I going to write about the Coast Guard?

Now, before we begin, I need to shit on the Liberals. The Coast Guard started sputtering in 1995, under Jean “the Chokemaster” Chretien and his Finance Minister, Paul “Dithers” Martin, when the Dudnamic Duo decided to put the Coast Guard under the same heading as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. That one of these organizations is devoting to protecting people and the other to protecting fish wasn’t really a problem in the minds of Jean et Paul, because cost savings overrode sense in those dark times. Which haven’t really left, come to think of it. But I digress.

Steve “the Chopper” Harper continued this valiant tradition of bleeding the Coast Guard dry by trying to cut lighthouse funding. They didn’t bother to check what the lighthouses were actually doing or whether the public wanted them (hint: they did) before announcing the cuts. It was stopped, surprisingly, by public outrage; but while the left hand returnith the right hand takith even mor…ith. Even if that morith doesn’t make any sense to be cutting from.

See, it’s easy to take things away from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans because a fuckton of English Canadians don’t live by an ocean and English Canadians have the foresight of an English muffin. The Coast Guard monitors foreign fishing activity to ensure enforcement of sustainability quotas? Better cut that shit and chuck the money at the Lower Taxes as an Offering to the Job Fairy Fund. Everyone knows that Canada is so polite that everyone automatically does no wrong. No need to worry about the Grand Banks, no sir!

So, we’ve gone from cutting by guesswork to cutting-because…magic? The Coast Guard had its bureaucracy dislocated and stuffed into an inappropriate ministry before finally getting some degree of autonomy. it suffered from an uncertain mandate with bits and pieces being added to and removed from it like the pieces of an idly-made LEGO spaceship. It is responsible for marine cleanup, which is somewhat important if you’re going to be flinging oil everywhere – but no. Who cares about fish, right?

And the worst part of this is that simply restoring funding doesn’t work. The Coast Guard has to actually have a clear idea as to what it’s supposed to be doing and how it fits into the broader plan for maritime monitoring and safeguarding. You see that word “plan” in there? That’s how you know that Canada will never figure this shit out.

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