The continuation of the Canadian Forces and their funding issues.
Sometimes I often wonder: “why is it that the Canadian Forces suffers from lack of funding – why is it that our government never has an interest in the military unlike other developed countries where service is attractive to young folks?”
Canada as a whole has never truly been militaristic – we see that from the very early days of confederation in 1867, to the present. Indeed Canada distinguished itself during times of war, but it is during peace time that the culture of Canada and her attitude towards the military is brought to the front for all to see. The government of Canada will only have an interest in spending on the military if there is a major conflict that requires military action; sure Afghanistan isn’t the same as the first or second world wars, but it was something that required more funding – thus it attracted better quality, and more, recruits.
Nowadays we see the problem re-surfacing yet again, but the government isn’t the only ingredient in the recipe for a lack of support – the public is another key factor. People are generally indifferent to military spending in Canada (there is always a fraction that opposes spending on the military past 1 percent of GDP, but aside from that), and the reason is similar to the past where only major military action will cause people to demand more funding for the armed forces. During the first world war there was a surge of patriotism, but after the war we saw a full reduction of military ranks and equipment, almost returning to the pre-war state that Canada’s armed forces were in (world war 2 was a similar story).
One key aspect to note in this lack of public support for spending is jobs; we see this play out in infrastructure spending, in natural resources, and in the technology sector. The public will support military spending ONLY when it creates and maintains jobs – something our military and military industrial complex cannot do. Manufacturing here in Canada is incapable of building vast arsenals, and our military (thanks to an already small budget) is unable to create more work past a few thousand or so positions where 35 million Canadians compete for each year(probably only 10 percent of that population total, but let us be generous with the numbers for this article). Until military spending moves to create more work for the common folks, they will continue to be indifferent when the government slashes military spending again and again – the money could be better used elsewhere, and we no longer truly live in an age of immediate danger (Tom Clancy books and conspiracy theories do not count as immediate and credible threats).
Sadly this is a trend that will likely continue as military personnel only join up (full time especially) for essentially what other workers join other companies for, better pay and benefits. Take all that away (or provide better elsewhere) and no amount of propaganda and rhetoric will cause them to flock to recruiting centres across the country – even then they will wait over a year and a half just to even get in, and by then better work would have already been acquired.
Attracting the best and brightest of Canadian society? You gotta have good paying jobs for people to be attracted to your organization in the first place.