The Canadian Armed Forces – a collective group of men and women that dedicate their lives to serving our nation. They leave their home and country to travel all across the world to protect the rights and beliefs of the innocent. They face the possibility of death and stare peril in the face for the greater good of humanity. They prepare both physically and mentally for the job they take on for our nation, but our government deploys them into hostile territory underfunded, with outdated aircrafts, vessels, and vehicles that are over 3 decades old.
There is no doubt that Canada is a leading world power and has some of the best trained operatives in the world. Canada has shown its military capabilities on numerous occasions throughout: the Boer War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Gulf War, the Bosnian War, the Afghanistan conflict, and other Middle East Operations. While having a relatively small military, Canada has very well trained operatives. Despite the hard work of our troops, the Canadian Armed Forces are constantly abused by the Canadian government.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, commonly known as NATO, propose that all membership countries spend at least 2% of their GDP on military. The 2% GDP proposal is reasonable, and many countries do spend roughly 2% of their GDP on their militaries (United Kingdom, France, Greece, etc). The United States spends roughly 4% of their GDP on their military. Canada, however, spends less than 1% of its GDP on the Canadian Armed Forces. This means that Canada spends half of the NATO-recommended amount of its GDP that most of the world spends. More shockingly, it is only ¼ of what America, its southern neighbour, spends on military funding. Canada has been urged time and time again by the United Kingdom, NATO, and the USA to increase military spending, which usually results in no change of funding occurring.
The CH-146 (Griffon) Helicopter model was adopted by the Canadian Forces in 1992 under a Liberal government. Since then, the Griffon has been the helicopter of choice for; search and rescue, utility, and tactical purposes. However the CH-146 has faced much scrutiny, by many defence analysts and military personnel. It has been deemed “a civilian designed and built aircraft, with a green coat of paint”. In 2006, defence analyst Sharon Hobson said “The Griffon helicopter has become a laughing stock. It is underpowered for the transport role the army needs it to play, and it’s too big for a reconnaissance role.
At a time when the Canadian Forces are thirsting for equipment, it’s telling that about 20 of the Griffons have been parked.” The CH-146 was ruled out for Afghanistan operations by General Rick Hillier during his time as Chief of Defence Staff in 2008 due to a lack of power. The Griffon has also been criticized for being underpowered by Martin Shadwick, a defence analyst and professor at York University. Shadwick stated in July 2009 “Its engines are fine for most domestic requirements in Canada and a more moderate temperature, but [the Griffon] doesn’t really have the horsepower to reach its full potential in a place like Afghanistan.”. Due to the lack of power, being unfit for large scale combat, bulky size for reconnaissance, and the age of these helicopters, seriously inhibits the air forces ability.
Along with the incompetent helicopters, the fighter jets that the Canadian military still use today – the CF-18 Hornets – are over 3 decades old. The CF-18 Hornets were developed in 1978, and introduced in 1983. The Hornets served Canada well, providing excellent service to the nation for many years. However in recent years other world leading nations such as the United States and the United Kingdom, are decommissioning the F-18 series of jets for newer models, such as the F-35. Stephen Harper, during his time as Prime Minister, ordered the replacement of the Hornets, with the new F-35 Lightning II model, popular among America and the United Kingdom. The F-35’s would begin replacing the 3 decade old Hornets in 2016. Current Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau, cancelled the purchase and slated the CF-18 Hornets to be in service until 2025, at which time they will be over 42 years old. While other nations are decommissioning their aircrafts due to the obsolete technology and age of the aircraft, Canada is now extending the usage of their aircrafts to attempt to save a few dollars, putting our servicemen and women in harm’s way. The Canadian government should be ashamed.
Canadian submarines are another prime example of ancient technology still in use by the Canadian Forces. In the 1980’s, the Royal Navy (United Kingdom Navy) commissioned the upholder class submarines. They were used by the Royal Navy from 1990-1994 before being decommissioned. The Canadian government under Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, purchased 4 of the United Kingdom’s used upholder class submarines. They then renamed them the Victoria class. The four submarines Canada purchased were originally launched in 1992, 1989, 1987, and 1983. The oldest HMCS Chicoutimi, had a fire on deck that cost the life of Lt. Chris Saunders. It soaked electrical insulation which had not been waterproofed since it conformed to an older specification than the 3 other submarines, starting the fire. The condition of the submarines is poor and have been serving in rigorous waters and conditions for over 3 decades. They constantly require maintenance and repairs. Currently, there is no plan in action to replace the submarines.
Safety for all Canadian citizens should be the utmost concern of the Canadian government. However, the military men and women that risk their lives for our nation are being put in harm’s way. Countless lives are at stake. With upgrades, maybe the lives of those like Lt. Chris Saunders could have been spared.
Dedicated to Lt. Chris Saunders
Father, Husband, Serviceman, Hero