#32 – The Myth of the Military, Part One: Equipment is for the Weak

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.

1280px-flag_of_canada-svg
(S) If you see these colors, run…before some ancient equipment explodes

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.

 

Advertisements

#29 – Statscan’t: Three Decades of Failure

Canada is a low-information society, where data is scorned in favor of revisionist make-believe and fairy tales about the functionality of the country. I’ve provided a few examples of this trait, but I think it’s time to explore the failure of Statistics Canada, a substandard body whose glory days are long behind it and whose future appears to be one of fidgeting and failing under ever more onerous burdens.

We begin with StatsCan’s glory years, when it was at least a respectable institution. Respectable and Canadian are words that simply don’t go together, but let me explain. Statistics Canada was born in 1971 out of its precursor, the Dominion Bureau of Statistics. Back in those days it did its job with competence. They even published yearly information in a helpful, albeit massive tome called the The Canada Year Book. Here’s the Canada Year Book from 1967 if you’re interested. I was until I encountered that godawful pagination system. Fuck that shit. Whatever Canadian competence with paper infrastructure might have been this country is notoriously complete shit at digital management.

Anyways, Statscan was once a respected institution until it too was hit by that great caker succubus, laziness. Brian Mulroney takes the first dance at our failure ball by demanding that Statscan operate on a cost-recovery basis. You might recognize this as a pants-on-head retarded idea, but it wasn’t nearly as idiotic an idea as the plan to cancel the 1986 census. Yes, a supposedly developed country considered and nearly decided to ignore the collection of data. The response from cakers? A dim protestation that only worked when business groups got involved.

Laurentian shitlords, if they could read and deigned to consider Canada with a modicum of criticality would be nodding right until this point, where I make special note of the Liberals’ attempts to kneecap the census. The people who brought to Canada the concept of austerity are not exactly defenders of the realm when it comes to economic non-starters like statistics collection. To quote the piece from the Toronto Star that I cited earlier, during the Cretin and Martin years:

The agency stopped publishing interprovincial trade figures; cancelled its quarterly survey of business start-ups and shutdowns; reduced the sample size for its monthly labour force survey (which contains the official rate of unemployment) and increased the purchase price of many surveys.

Ah, that’s okay. Who needs statistics on business development or a proper unemployment rate, right? Numbers are for losers.

After all of that backstory we finally get to the part of the sadsack saga of Statistics Canada that most cakers know – the Harper years. To ask the average Canadian Statscan was a paragon of efficiency until those meanie Conservatives took all of the data away, presumably while dressed like Robbie Rotten from Lazy Town.

robbie-rotten-lazytown-39904359-500-281
(S) Stephen Harper, circa 2009

At this point most of Canada is aware that Harper removed the mandatory long-form census in 2011 while also sending some of the work to Lockheed Martin, because nothing screams legitimacy and trustworthiness to Canadians quite like a company known for espionage and data mining. The elimination of the mandatory long-form census did incalculable damage, though the culmination of decades of cutting and slicing and trying to hide scary numbers that spoke to scary trends within this Soviet bog are conveniently forgotten when shouting from the rooftops about how bad ol’ Stephen Harper was. There are literally thousands of hand-wringing screeds about how bad the 2011 census was, so I won’t waste your time by linking a pile of them. What I will say however is that a good number of them assume that the problem was a Harper one.

Sadly, this assumption is untrue. Under Dear Leader and sentient hair-carrier Justin Trudeau Statscan has continued to fail and sputter, this time under the aegis of one of Canada’s most familiar bugbears – shitty digital infrastructure. Faced with the prospect of the shambolic disaster that is Shared Services Canada controlling Statscan’s IT systems, former Chief Statistician Wayne Smith tried to warn the public of the danger of leaving statistics collection and management under effective federal control by resigning. And, in classic caker style, what did Canada do when confronted with the prospect that the guy billed (falsely) as the savior of science in Canada is a fraud and a charlatan?

Absolutely nothing.

#28 – Getting Schooled, English-Canada Style, Part One: the Students

In a country that devalues education and regards academic achievement as a mental pox, relegating the highly-educated to poverty, unemployment, and desperation in a flimsy, unproductive colonial economy it’s no surprise that cakers make for shitty students. Starting from a young age Canadians have a high chance of being semi-literate – how, then, do Canadians “lead the world” (according to the unfailing word of Pravda) in higher education? The answer is simple – our universities are shit, designed exclusively to mill idiots through sadsack interpretations of higher education by way of debt and misrepresentation of what a degree from a caker university means. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s start with the coven of stupidity that is the Canadian student population.

some-questions-for-anyone-who-encountered-this-awful-western-lives-matter-sign-at-homecoming-body-image-1475590639-1-e1475626819110-507x400
(s) Gonna disagree on all counts with this one.

It’s no secret that Canada has a drinking problem fuelled by boredom and a lack of anything better to do. That problem extends onto Canada’s caker campuses to such a degree that Macleans magazine catalogs the top 20 (!!) schools where the ancient traditions of scholarship and critical thought have been supplanted by idiotic binge-drinking and rabble-rousing. That a country of 30 million has a list that large in the first place should be a alarm ringing as loudly as the finale of the fucking 1812 Overture, but cakers will retort with some essentialist garbage about how “everyone parties”. What’s particularly shitty too is that people want to go to party schools because having fun is more important than, you know, actually learning anything about the paperwork these kids are buying.

You know what else students from others countries do? Fucking study. Or indeed give anything resembling a fuck about academics. Students doing undergraduate degrees can’t fucking write, which is something I can personally attest to having made some spare change trying to tutor people in my undergrad. They also have little to nothing in the way of critical thinking skills, both because of apathy and because high schools instead pile meaningless information into students’ brains without bothering to teach them how to parse that data. Shockingly, a group of bored, detached students who never cared to and never did learn any better are useless to employers who need students to be able to, say, think and write at something beyond an eighth-grade level. At the University of Waterloo over a third can’t pass a simple English class. A Potemkin education? In Canada? Say it ain’t so!

And then there’s student politics, a morass of horrible uselessness that takes the noble concept of a union and launches into a black hole of uselessness. It takes fucking effort to fail at running a bar on campus, but dozens of schools find themselves unable to perform even this simple task. Over in Newfoundland Memorial University’s student union blew $300,000 bringing Snoop Dogg to their dismal hole of a city – in the context of rampant student poverty clearly there’s nowhere better to pour mandatory student fees! And despite proclaiming themselves as bastions of human rights student unions are notoriously bad for stifling freedom of speech under the oh-so-typical banner suggesting that hearing shitty opinions might turn innocent students into pumpkins. I was actually living in Ottawa when it was decided by the student unions of that dismal Soviet heap that cystic fibrosis was a white man’s disease and thus it was something-ist to fundraise for its treatment.

Torn between mindless, thoughtless activism and pitiful displays of intellectual ineptitude the caker student is a prime example of the kinds of idiocy promoted and coddled by caker culture on campus. Unable to meaningfully present educated opinions for thoughtful consideration, the caker student resorts to brainless screaming and chanting of lines and refrains they found on Tumblr or reddit while they muddle and fail their way to a pointless piece of paper that at any rate leaves them mired in poverty. Is it any wonder Canada fails to get any better at critical thought with idiots like these playing at academia between bouts of Internet slacktivism?