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Traditional Military Need to Evolve

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This pandemic has shown that our military forces have multiple uses within our community. There is in fact a need for the military to become more socially active within their communities. Like the needed reform of police departments, our military needs to be reformed and repurposed also.

When hurricanes strike a community, or the local river overflows, flooding a community, it is the military that is called upon to assist the community and assist the restructuring of said communities. Fighting forest fires, and the rescue efforts needed to find and save someone in our natural spaces. Our military does a great deal for us, besides fighting our nation’s enemies on the battlefield.

The Military has been used to assist our communities in fighting against Covid-19, and other medical crises, often for a few weeks or months they fill in where medical staff are lacking in the numbers needed. During our predominantly peaceful existence, the military train, educate their numbers and find ways to assist those they protect.

Many of our military forces need to become much more than what I described above, much more. Since the military has an established structure within our communities, it can become a needed stepping stone toward community revitalization and regrouping efforts.

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Connecting the military with our educational systems, partnering in the free training of youth and young adults in the needed professions of the day…medical staffing, nurses, doctors, psychologists and also electricians, tradespeople too. The military can become an asset to our economy and its successful growth.

Medical staff such as nurses, and doctors are difficult to find and maintain within our nations. Medical staffers live in a private situation where other opportunities to make more money exist. In Canada, many citizens do not have family doctors which ultimately put pressure upon hospitals as the only place to find medical assistance. In the past, many medical professionals have moved to America to find higher-paying positions. The pandemic’s pressure upon the medical field has also moved many professionals into the private field, with staffing firms charging huge wages to our public health system.

The number of Trades people within every field has dwindled this past decade due to retirements, fatigue and an aged employee field. The average citizens seem to want their children to become doctors, lawyers and white-shirt professionals, not blue-collar workers. Tradespeople are not seen as professionals, even though they make an exceedingly good living. Perceptions need to change and soon. Electricians, plumbers, builders, installers, landscapers, engineers, and project managers are all needed within most communities, yet their numbers are lacking.

The military needs to partner with our education system, and stress the training of our youthful citizens not just in military strategies, but in fields needed now and in the future. The very way the military looks at things is needed. Today, young person seeks training in a field they enjoy or where they see future profits, It is a selfish, capitalistic way of viewing their education and future. In the military, a conscript is evaluated, tested, and aptitudes found. The soldier is placed within areas the military has needs. Society has many needs, and yet most needs are not met due to a lack of workers and professionals. The struggle between capitalism and societal needs continues, with selfishness often the winner. Within a military structure, young people can be trained in fields needed within our society, pointed in directions that offer citizens flexibility within future employment. In the military citizen, soldiers have an opinion when they are asked for it. In the private sector loyalty, effort and longevity in employment are always in question.

The Global Military Community must evolve towards social interaction, and away from its traditional support of the establishment, and only then the people of their nation. More areas of interaction and assistance can be provided.

1. Training police in socially aware practices. Most military police are employed by public police forces.
2. Training medical needed medical staff in numbers that will fill their national health needs in both national and emergency practices.
3. Training of professionals that are hard to find within the private sector…psychologists, medical staff, tradespeople.
4. Socializing the military profession in every way. In the past military was separate from society, and only seen when needed. Much like the military in Israel, our military need to be fully part of our society and its full participants.
5. Educational institutions are an important part of this new system, training youth and young adults in offered and essential professions. Money should not be a problem, as the very health of our nation is at stake here.
6. Essential services like energy, and hydro task forces are created to be prepared should a natural incident happen with immediate assistance.

The military used to give certain regions within our nations a financial injection of funds that create employment within said neighbourhoods. Perhaps our national defence objectives must expand and evolve much like our communities and their needs do. Our national defence and the economy, and the very needs of our society can all be a singular theme, and an effort to improve and forward every part of our communities. Better, well-trained young people are prepared to give back to society, as the military train their people. To serve, to give of one’s self, for a better neighbourhood, society and world.

Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario
skaszab@yahoo.ca

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Canadian military would be ‘challenged’ to launch a large scale operation: chief of the defence staff

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OTTAWA –

Canada’s military forces are “ready” to meet their commitments should Russia’s war in Ukraine spread to NATO countries, but it would be a “challenge” to launch a larger scale operation in the long term, with ongoing personnel and equipment shortages, according to Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre.

Eyre told Joyce Napier on CTV’s Question Period in an interview airing Sunday that while the forces in Europe are “ready for the tactical mission they’ve been assigned,” he has larger concerns about strategic readiness. He said there’s a lack of people and equipment, and further concern around the ability to sustain a larger scale mission in the longer term.

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The Canadian Armed Forces are still struggling to retain staff, with nearly 10,000 fewer trained personnel than they’d need to be at full force, and equipment stocks below what they require.

“We’ve got challenges in all of those,” Eyre said, adding the numbers reflect what’s been “let slip over decades, as we’ve focused on the more immediate (needs).”

Eyre said Canada’s military would be “hard pressed” to launch another large-scale operation like it had in Afghanistan, as an example, without having to redistribute its resources around the globe, as threats evolve.

“The military that we have now is going to be increasingly called upon to support Canada and to support Canadian interests, to support our allies overseas, but as well at home,” Eyre said, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, climate change impacting the landscape in the Arctic, and an increase in digital and cybersecurity threats.

“It’s always a case of prioritization and balancing our deployments around the globe, not just with what, but when, and with who … and getting that balance right is something that that we’re working on,” he said. “Could we use more? Yeah, absolutely. But we operate with what we have.”

“We prioritize and balance based on what our allies need, and what the demand signals, just to make sure that we achieve the strategic effect the government wants us to achieve,” he also said.

Meanwhile Defence Minister Anita Anand said on CTV’s Question Period last week that Canada should “be able to walk and chew gum at the same time,” and balance its NATO commitments with securing the Arctic and promoting peace in the Indo-Pacific.

Eyre said his number one priority is getting Canada’s armed forces up to full strength, with an attrition rate of 9.3 per cent between both regular and reserve forces, up from 6.9 per cent last year. The Canadian Armed Forces Retention Strategy was released just last month.

“We are facing the same challenge that every other industry out there is facing in terms of a really tight labor market,” Eyre said. “Every other military in the West is facing the same challenge.”

He explained the organization is working on streamlining its recruitment process, among other changes, to meet the increasing need, with the goal to get numbers up “as quickly as possible.”

“Ideally, would have been yesterday,” he said. “We’re looking at where we can accelerate the recruiting, the training, and optimizing our training pipeline.”

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How soccer is evolving in Canada

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Soccer wasn’t really a thing when I was a kid. I grew up in the 1970s and ‘80s. Sure, we all had soccer balls. And we played a lot of what should be more accurately called, Kick and Run. But I – and all my friends – did not really know the rules, the teams or the players. We might’ve heard of Pelé, but not more than that.

We followed hockey, baseball, football (CFL and NFL) and basketball, in that order. I did occasionally watch soccer on TV, but that was because we didn’t have a lot of channels and the soothing English accents often lulled me to sleep.

Things are much different now. My 13-year-old son is a massive soccer fan. He plays on a team three or four times a week. His schoolmates include a lot of second-generation Canadians, whose parents came from soccer-obsessed nations. He watches Premier League and Championship League matches. He’s watches La Liga and Bundesliga. He watches World Cup qualifiers and could tell me the backstory on most of the players. In fact, he watches classic games on YouTube and plays FIFA22 on his PS4 and as a result, knows more about Pelé than I ever did. But, because of him, I now watch enough football to know a game is a match, a goalie is a keeper and I know which plays end up in corner kicks or throw-ins.

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I once asked him, “How well do you know the Germany national team?” and he said, “Not very well.” He then proceeded to name seven of their 11 starters. It’s a different world.

I still know almost nothing compared to the other soccer dads, but like millions of Canadians, I watched Canada’s qualifying matches and I know we have a great team, with some stellar players who are worth watching. The qualifying matches regularly beat both hockey games and CFL football when it comes to viewership.

But we should care about more than just the matches themselves. The World Cup is one of the biggest and most lucrative sports spectacles on Earth. This will be the first one hosted in the Middle East. And although Qatar may look shiny and new on TV, it’s mired in what many Western nations believe to be medieval and backwards policies on working conditions, LGBTQ2S+ and women’s rights.

Finding people to talk about it in Qatar is NOT easy. One of W5’s goals this week was to talk to migrant workers to describe how they were treated, their living conditions and their labour rights. Most were too afraid to talk to us.

And to confound things, there have been many stories of journalists being detained or arrested for reporting on migrant workers. Last week, a Danish reporter was live on TV from Qatar and when asked what things were like there, he directed his camera operator to pan left – revealing security officials in golf carts, who immediately tried to stop the live hit. The next day Qatari officials apologized, but the message was clear: we can stop you from reporting when we want. It’s a fascinating video that’s been viewed millions of times around the globe.

The Qatari government denies they’ve put any restrictions on media. In a tweet, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy says “several regional and international media outlets are based in Qatar, and thousands of journalists report from Qatar freely without interference each year.”

Not everyone is convinced. Qatar ranks 118 out of 180 countries in the 2022 Press Freedom index, published by Reporters Without Borders. Freedom House, which is a U.S.-based freedom watchdog, gives Qatar a 25 out of 100 score on Global Freedom, which includes freedom of expression. (Canada ranks 98 and the US ranks 83).

A Reuters Institute column from last week on press freedom in Qatar suggests authorities obscure press freedom laws, by hiding behind trespassing laws.

“One of the most common risks when doing journalistic work in Qatar is to be accused of trespassing. This is what Halvor Ekeland and Lokman Ghorbani of Norwegian state broadcaster NRK were accused of when they were arrested by officers of Qatar’s Criminal Investigations Department in November 2021, while covering World Cup preparations. The journalists were held for over 30 hours before being released without charge. They deny they were filming without permission,” says the article.

A little insider info: I have personally written, “we don’t want you to get arrested, but…” at least twice in correspondence with our team in Qatar. I’ve never encouraged anyone to break the law of course, but sometimes doing our jobs leads police or security into thinking they have a duty (or at least a right) to stop you.

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Don’t have a cow: Senator’s legen-dairy speech draws metaphor from bovine caper

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OTTAWA — Haven’t you herd? A dramatic tale of 20 escaped cows, nine cowboys and a drone recently unfolded in St-Sévère, Que., and it behooved a Canadian senator to milk it for all it was worth.

Prompting priceless reactions of surprise from her colleagues, Sen. Julie Miville-Dechêne recounted the story of the bovine fugitives in the Senate chamber this week — and attempted to make a moo-ving point about politics.

“Honourable senators, usually, when we do tributes here, it is to recognize the achievements of our fellow citizens,” Miville-Dechêne began in French, having chosen to wear a white blouse with black spots for the occasion.

“However, today, I want to express my amused admiration for a remarkably determined herd of cows.”

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On a day when senators paid tribute to a late Alberta pastor, the crash of a luxury steamer off the coast of Newfoundland in 1918 and environmental negotiators at the recent climate talks in Egypt, senators seated near Miville-Dechêne seemed udderly taken aback by the lighter fare — but there are no reports that they had beef with what she was saying.

Miville-Dechêne’s storytelling touched on the highlights of the cows’ evasion of authorities after a summer jailbreak — from their wont to jump fences like deer to a local official’s entreaty that she would not go running after cattle in a dress and high heels.

The climax of her narrative came as nine cowboys — eight on horseback, one with a drone — arrived from the western festival in nearby St-Tite, Que., north of Trois-Rivières, and nearly nabbed the vagabonds before they fled through a cornfield.

“They are still on the run, hiding in the woods by day and grazing by night,” said Miville-Dechêne, with a note of pride and perhaps a hint of fromage.

She neglected to mention the reported costs of the twilight vandalism, which locals say has cost at least $20,000.

But Miville-Dechêne did save some of her praise for the humans in the story, congratulating the municipal general manager, Marie-Andrée Cadorette, for her “dogged determination,” and commending the would-be wranglers for stepping up when every government department and police force in Quebec said there was nothing they could do.

“There is a political lesson in there somewhere,” said the former journalist.

Miville-Dechêne ended on what could perhaps be interpreted as a butchered metaphor about non-partisanship: “Finally, I would like to confess my unbridled admiration for these cows that have found freedom and are still out there, frolicking about. While we overcomplicate things, these cows are learning to jump fences.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2022.

 

Marie-Danielle Smith, The Canadian Press

 

 

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