Sorry, you will have to wait for the fire brigade.

Do you want to be told that the fire brigade cannot respond to your emergency because it is waiting for equipment to be delivered?

Domestic security is provided to Canadians by municipal fire brigades and police forces. Equipment is up to date and personnel vacancies are filled on a regular basis. Contrast this with national security provided by Canada’s armed forces. While personnel are well trained, they are forced to operate either with outdated equipment, or equipment which may be available only some years hence. This is especially the case for ships and aircraft. Successive governments of all political stripes are responsible for this situation.

There is no way voters would stand for fire and police protection to be treated in this way. Yet it happens with the military, largely because politicians allow it to happen, but blame can be spread around.

The deplorable state of military equipment reinforces the continued dependency which Canada has for protection from the US, a situation which has grown yearly since 1945. For example, Canadian forces don’t have the capability to protect its lengthy coastal borders especially in the Arctic, where Russia is making moves to establish its presence. Elsewhere, it’s clear what the China is doing in the South China Sea where the counterforce is the US 5th Fleet and the US Airforce. The Arctic could be the next move by Russia.

The only positive shaft of light is the reporting provided by Canadian writers, journalists and others. The writings of Jack Granatstein, Colin Robertson and journalists like David Pugliese, Matthew Fisher and Andrew Coyne are among those documenting the parlous state of Canada’s military. Their writings can be found using a web search. One example is Robertson’s piece in the Globe and Mail for Feb. 16, 2015, where he points out that Canadian defense spending is one percent of GDP, and lower than that of its allies. The Canadian Global Affairs Institute is another source for relevant information.

The next time you dial 911 for police services, the call will be answered. The same may not be the case when Canada is called on to defend itself militarily.

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