Newsletter - RUSI Vancouver
Highlights of the July 18 Newsletter
World War II: July 19 - 25, 1942
John Thompson Strategic Analyst - Quotes from his book “Spirit Over Steel”
Two M777A2 Howitzers Arrive in India
Audra Calloway, Picatinny Arsenal Public Affairs - June 8, 2017
Who's Who and What's What in the Canadian Defence Sector
David Pugliese, Esprit de Corps magazine - July 12, 2017
The Ross Rifle Paradigm
Vincent J. Curtis, Esprit de Corps magazine - July 6, 2017
Russian War Monument Turns Out to Be Radioactive
By News from Elsewhere......as found by BBC Monitoring - July 6, 2017
The War Diary of C31 L/Sgt CD Phelan, A Battery, RCHA 1939 - 1945
Chapter 9. Hospital, Convalescent Camp, Camp Borden
Chapter 10. On Leave in Blackpool and London
Vancouver Artillery Association Yearbook Updates
Who Is It?
Bessborough Armoury Lunches - Every Wednesday
Update on Yorke Island Conservancy Project - July 19
Canada 150 Tour of Point Atkinson Lighthouse Station - Several dates
4th Annual Korean War Veterans Day Ceremony - July 27
Annual Mess Dinner, 15th Artillery Field Regiment - Sept. 9
Okanagan Military Tattoo 2017 - Vernon, July 29-30
Robert W. Mackay's Newsletter "Forces with History"
In Forces With History #92 I raised the topic of the RCMP.
Comments I received included the following, from a retired member of the Force:
Hi Bob: you can add the RCMP to the Armed Forces as being totally and deliberately neglected. No raises in several years, they are refusing to hire enough members, all representation has been eliminated, huge numbers on stress leave—and growing—a LOT of experienced young members are switching to other police forces, and the long list goes on. In fact, there is a growing belief that the federal game plan is to continue to destroy the morale, strength and effectiveness of the Force, followed by a review and then its elimination totally—or at least 90% and keep a few red coats around for pictures. What they are doing to the current serving men and women is really sad.
I don't know if Ottawa's aim is to neuter the RCMP, but certainly the complaints listed here do seem to be borne out by the information that reaches news media. And similarly, if the aim is not to kneecap the armed forces, the lack of spending on army, navy, and air force give a pretty good imitation.
Our government’s report on its Defence Policy Review is months overdue. In the course of roundtable discussions and numerous written submissions the Department of National Defence heard from serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces, veterans, politicians, bureaucrats, and members of the public.
It is a given that the Canadian Armed Forces are not sustainable on current funding. It is not possible to meet Canada’s defence requirements given the status quo. The hard fact is, though, that our government has increased the deficit by 30 billion dollars. None of that has gone to support the Forces, and the government is unlikely to add to the deficit for something as unimportant to Ottawa as the defence of Canada.
In the meantime, the minister has gone off to report on the Defence Policy Review to the Trump administration. I expect the results of the Review will be hinted at during upcoming NATO meetings, and only after that will all be revealed to the Canadian public. No doubt the government hopes thereby to minimize complaints from the US and NATO about inadequate funding by Canada (.88% vs the agreed-upon 2%!).
One thing is certain, and that is that the current government will not adequately fund the Canadian Armed Forces in the near future. Perhaps the defence budget will be stretched even thinner to finance an African “peacekeeping” venture.
For a realistic appraisal of what Canada should be doing, look no further than the report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence which can be found at:
Our Prime Minister is off to a NATO meeting late this month, before which the government is expected to come out with its much-anticipated Defence Policy Review report. I think we can safely predict Mr. Trudeau and the Minister of National Defence will come up with either a suggestion of an actual (miniscule) increase in defence spending, or a further rationalization as to why Canada doesn’t need to spend more. (Punching above our weight, and all that.)
In the meantime, there is a growing list of urgent priorities for the minister:
- Patrol aircraft
- Submarine upgrade/replacements
- fighter aircraft
- surface ships
- ground-based defence system for the army
- bulldozers, front-end loaders, trailers, etc, to name a few.
Meanwhile, even the minister himself has apparently noted that our naval capability is at a forty-year low.
The plan, apparently, will be to 1) dig us out the hole; and 2) build an “even stronger” military. What a concept.
Items in this newsletter have been concerned with the navy, army, and air force. When checking out personnel numbers in the RCN, Canadian Army, and RCAF, it turns out that there is another Force to be reckoned with in Canada.
The RCN numbers roughly 8,500 in the regular force; army 21,600; and RCAF 14,500. (By way of contrast, when I joined the navy in 1959 I was one of 20,000 sailors. The other services in the Canadian Armed Forces have been similarly reduced; but that’s another story.
In a further contrast, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has approximately 18,500 sworn police officers on strength—making it the second largest Force in Canada, after only the army. And the RCMP has never been far from the headlines, from the 1874 Great Trek West until the latest stories of arrests made, gangs targeted, female members abused, and members agitating for union status.
A Force With History, for sure. With much more to be written.
This is the first edition of Forces With History since the budget of March, a budget that puts Canada at risk.
It’s no wonder we haven’t seen much of Minister of Defence Sajjan. If he had any plans to shore up our dwindling armed forces they’ve been completely sidelined. Indeed, there’s plenty of evidence to show that when it comes to defending Canada and spending the necessary funds, it’s the tail that wags the dog.
Example: Irving Shipbuilding, prime contractor for the construction of the navy’s frigate replacement ships, complains that when they finish the last of the six scheduled Coast Guard patrol vessels (not icebreakers, but that’s another story) their yard will sit idle. Ottawa is nowhere near to spending money on the proposed warships. So Irving, in apparent desperation, has pitched a plan to simply build more of the Arctic patrol vessels, whether the Coast Guard wants them or not.
Example: The government, various MPs, senators, interested organizations, retired and serving members of the forces and numerous others took part in the government’s ballyhooed Defence Policy Review. No results of this huge effort have been published. In an understated paragraph David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute notes the following:
“In an interview during the budget lock-up, Finance Minister Bill Morneau indicated that the Defence Policy Review will indicate the Liberal government’s level of ambition for Canadian defence policy. Budget 2017, by removing funding over the next two decades, suggests quite strongly that the forthcoming defence policy will lower Canada’s level of defence ambition.”
The Liberal government has spoken clearly. The results of the Defence Policy Review will propose something that fits into the paltry funds already allocated. Never mind the need to replace submarines, purchase fighter aircraft, and get the Canadian Surface Combatant into the water. Apparently there’s lots of time for defence spending in far-off-in-the-future “Sunny Ways” administrations.
* P. S.You're entitled to a free ebook when you buy a paperback copy