Thursday, December 16, 2004

So what if it's cliched - this blogging dealy is a good learning experience

Bruce Ralston graces us with a few hundred words looking at Canada's troop levels, and the dim prospects for an increase, including the Peace Brigade our Rt. Hon. PM pimped during the election campaign. It's damn interesting.

What's the problem? Well, there's lots. But here's one I had never heard of or thought about, at all: the Canadian military won't accept non-citizens, including landed immigrants, since September 11.
It should go without saying that most countries with serious military obligations -- Britain, France, the United States -- do the exact opposite: encouraging even complete non-citizens to enlist, as a road to eventual naturalization, paying their debt to the society they wish to someday join at the front end. We're more enlightened here, I guess. Immigrants have no obligations when they arrive, and thereafter can do anything in Canada except fight for it.

But what about security concerns, Bruce?
(By the way, any security argument is ludicrous. We're talking military jobs with no security-clearance, like infantrymen. Being given any actual military responsibility for classified information takes its own, separate and extremely protracted -- think years, not months -- security-check process, post-enrolment. This really is just bureaucratic stupidity, as far as I can tell, applying the same standards to military recruitment that now apply to federal civil servants... which I suppose means Winsor is right.)

Oh. OK, since I'm dwarfed here, I'll let Bruce conclude:
Ironically, the majority of Canadians who died at Vimy Ridge and other World War One battles were first-generation... this being a country of immigrants and all. In today's army none of them could have served. Only in Canada would citizens who become Rhodes Scholars or backpack to Paris become effectively ineligible for military service. If you ever run into your Member of Parliament, you might want to ask why that is, and why he/she doesn't feel like changing it.

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