Prime Time Crime

(Prime Time Crime exclusive Aug. 15, 2011)

It’s About Time

By Bob Cooper




Friday’s announcement by Defence Minister Peter MacKay that the Canadian Armed Forces would revert to their previous titles of Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Air Force, and Canadian Army, was the best thing that’s happened to this country’s military in 40 years.  It re-establishes the link to a distinguished history of valour, sacrifice, and accomplishment in WW l, WW ll, and Korea.

In 1968, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau took some time out from repealing half the Criminal Code to have his then-Defence Minister Paul Hellyer ‘unify’ the Army, Navy, & Air Force into the Canadian Armed Forces.  Decades of tradition, unique culture, the distinctive uniforms of each branch, were all tossed in the dust bin and replaced with a drab green uniform for all.

It was sold to the public as a measure to reduce costs and turf wars between the branches when it was nothing more than a means of getting rid of the word ‘Royal’ by a government that despised the military only slightly less than it despised Britain.  Trudeau went on to build his ‘Just Society’ (Welfare State) and slashed the military budget each year to divert billions of dollars into social programs, bilingualism, multiculturalism, etc. (buying votes) until the Canadian Forces was almost an empty shell.

I use the word ‘almost’ because Canada’s military survived this attempt to destroy it by sheer will and an indomitable spirit that was forged in battle in three wars.  I’ve served in both Canada and the US and as proud as I am of my American service I can attest to the fact that man for man, Canada’s soldiers, sailors, and airmen (God, it’s great to hear those words again) are the best-trained and most professional in the world.

All of this, of course, is lost to the CBC.  Desperate for controversy, they dredged up someone from the Citizens for a Canadian Republic who characterized the action as a throwback to Canada’s colonial past and fears it may offend immigrants from former British colonies (ignoring the fact that but for the ‘colonial’ armies of Canada and Britain they’d either be stuffing sushi or sausages today).  Then they trot out Hellyer himself who was part of a government that would have gotten rid of the military entirely but realized it would have cost them the opportunity to pork barrel with bases and procurement contracts in Quebec.  Go away.

Finally, if anyone needs further proof that this is a good thing, both the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP are against it as well.

Minister MacKay, what you did on Friday will be seen as largely symbolic but you righted a great wrong and Canada’s proud Army, Navy, and Air Force stand a little prouder today.  Thank you, sir.

Bob Cooper is a retired Vancouver policeman.  He walked a beat in Chinatown and later worked in the Asian Organized Crime Section and the Homicide Squad.



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