What should Canada do about our military?

View Poll Results: What should Canada do about our military?
Build it bigger 5 27.78%
Revamp it. 10 55.56%
Abolish it. 2 11.11%
Reinforce Canada's current military prospects. 1 5.56%
Voters: 18. You may not vote on this poll

Free Thinker
I think this is a good topic of discussion for anybody regardless of their political bias. Looking at several factors and taking into account Canada's current stand as a peacekeeper with a long history and worldwide recognition.

Bottom line, do you think Canada needs a larger military, do we need a little more updated equipment? Should we abolish it?

YOUR thoughts, please.

Edit: Reworded a couple answers.
Free Thinker
I voted "Reinforce Canada's current military prospects". But I'd like to add onto that. I think we should spent some dough on updating our equipment and take some time in training our soldiers to protect our northern territories. The latest stunts up there are somewhat embarassing.
Reverend Blair
I'd say that it needs to revamped. We should make it perfectly clear that it is for peacekeeping and protecting Canadian sovereignty. The next time the US wants to illegally invade a country, they need not bother asking...it's not what our military is for.

We should train for situations like Rwanda and Sudan because they are likely to become more common in the future. We should have the equipment and the personnel to patrol our coastlines and the north in general.

We should not be using our military for non-military roles like aid. We should have a civilian agency for that...one that is capable of working with the military if needed, but can also respond quickly to situations like earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes and other natural disasters.
I agree with what Reverend Blair said.
Rawanda and the Sudan.

You did a bang up job there canada.
We need one, but I think it really needs serious revamping, there is alot of waste as in any big machinery. I say this because I have been privy to hear many things, as my X husband was career miltary. He also did peace keeping in the golan heights. Out on the west coast the miltrary helps out the coast guard, without that help things would be alot worse for the coast guard here.
Mooseskin Johnny
I agree with what the Rev said.

We need to do a big house cleaning in Ottawa and weed out the military bureaucracy; it's top heavy. We need to truely decide our priorities. Canada has no need for submarines, or WWII invasion forces. The world has changed and our military should reflect that.

Out on the west coast the miltrary helps out the coast guard, without that help things would be alot worse for the coast guard here.

yeah pea, you would be paying way less for your pot

(sorry, i couldn't resist )
Reverend Blair
Actually we did an excellent job in Rwanda, Eaglesmack. That's pretty well acknowledged by everybody. We were undermined by the US and France who were playing their silly little games in the area and lobbied hard to keep the UN from sending help.

We've done as much as any of the western/northern nations in Sudan. More if you count requiring our Canadian-owned oil company to get out of there because it was contributing to human rights abuses. That happened before Sudan was in the news though.
937,000,000 killed by one estimate.

That is a good job? By who's standards?

How did the US undermine Canada?
Why does the UN get off from blame? It was a UN Mission.

Just because the US didn't get involved, how did that stop Canada from stopping the genocide?

I think what you mean to say is that Canada could not do it by themselves and have any real effect.

Canada was in charge of the UN Military in Rwanda at that time. The Canadian CO asked for 5000 troops and knew he was not going to get them from any other country. I just counted 3 Active Duty Regts. and 47 Reserve Regts on a Canadian Army web page. If Canada was in charge and was not getting the troops, they should have provided the troops themselves.

The US got burned in Somalia and was unwilling to go that route again. Why should we have? We wore the UN hat in Somalia and that was a complete failure.

Canada's military may be small but I can't be expected to believe that it has less than 5,000 members.

The fact of the matter is, Canada was in charge but it was unwilling to put the right amount of Canadian boots on the ground to make a difference.

Let the US do it... right?

No, Canada did not do a good job. 937,000,000 killed is not a good job. The real count is most likely 1.2 million killed according to some estimates.

Blaming the US is just Canadian S.O.P.
Reverend Blair
You have no idea what you are talking about, EagleSmack.

France was messing around in Rwanda. The US was messing around next door in Uganda. They blocked the UN from sending more troops and upgrading the mission to one where Dallaire and his men could use deadly force. Nobody send to send American troops, they could have been German or Canadian or Mexican. The fact is that the US and France kept the UN from sending anybody.

Do you know what set off the final genocide? A missile that the French had confiscated in Iraq during the Gulf War was used by Ugandan rebels to shoot down a plane carrying the Rwandan president. France has provided documentation that they handed the missile over to the US after the Gulf War. The US says no such documentation exists.

Whether it was France or the US that allowed that missile to get into the wrong hands (yeah allowed, more like supplied) is irrelevant...they were both involved in keeping the UN from intervening further.

How come you aren't defending France here, EagleSmack? I mentioned them in my post too. A little thin-skinned? Feeling a little guilty, perhaps?

Canada is the country that tried to stop Rwanda. The US and France are the countries that kept them from being effective.
Hmmm... why aren't I defending France?

Why should I even mention them.

The US did not block the UN, they just were not going to add any of it's troops on the gound. Like I stated, we got burned in Somalia and we were not going to commit.

The Clinton Administration turned its back on Rwanda. That would leave it up to the rest of the world to put their sons and daughters on the line.

Tribal conflict was ongoing in Rwanda long before the Rwandan president was killed.

If Canada is so rightous why did you not act on your own? Are you not a sovreign country? Why should you march to the UN drum? Is the UN that important that Canada choose to allow 1 million or so Rwandans to be slaughtered?

Do you think that the murder and toture of Belgian troops under the Canadian Commander's charge had anything to do with Canada not sending more?

"Not our boys eh.... send the Yanks."

In all of my research on this the US has been blamed for one thing... INACTIVITY. In all of the official after action reports and commissions (and there are hundreds) lack of action by the UN and the US (no surprise there) is what was faulted. But the US is blamed for pretty much everything so it didn't really surprise anyone here.

But hey Reverend... why let facts get in your way?

Bottom line... A Canadian was in charge of the UN Forces. When the UN didn't respond... Quebec should have.

Once again... you have 3 Active duty Infantry Regts. and 47 Reserve Regts. According to the Candian Commander's statements he foresaw a potential problem prior to the plane being shot down. Canada should have been sending troops to assist him if the UN didn't.

I suppose making the UN people happy supercedes 1 million Rwandans.
First off...I'm the new guy on the block...so Hi to everyone. Now being the new guy, my word may not, as yet, be worthy to all the rest. I have been reading within the forums over the past months and thought it time to jump in. The poll on the Canadian Military....I am now retired after 29 years and except for ABOLISH IT, I would have to vote for the other three. When I joined in 1972, there were approx 130,000 troops, today around the 58,000. I did tours in the Golan, Haiti and Kosovo before getting out in 2000. Canadian troops are doing a lot more on the peacekeeping front than ever before with about half the number as back in 72. Although the equipment has improved on some fronts, most of it is older than the troops who operate it.
I have seen a message floating around that the Military is in for a 8.9% raise this April which should help in the long run. Its also bit of a kick in the *^&% when you have to rent another countries airplanes to get your Quick Response DART team out of Canada......
The Budget is coming out shortly, lets wait and see what happens?????
Reverend Blair
Eaglesmack...The United States made it clear that they would veto any motion in the Security Council to send additional UN troops to Rwanda. France backed them up on that.

Canada is a sovereign nation. That means that when working internationally we do so through the aupisces of the United Nations or another multilateral organisation. We do not act unilaterally like some drunken biker shaking down sovereign states for their natural resources.

You have no credibility because your nation has consistently undermined the UN, refused to join in and cancelled international treaties and agreements, and has started an illegal war that has killed 100,000 civilians.

To come to a Canadian site and dare to criticize for doing all we could while your country kicked our feet out from under us shows a level of malignancy that only further undermines your credibility.

Oh...one more thing. That missile? It was American made, one of the Reagan administrations gifts to Saddam. He would have gotten it right around the time he was gassing Kurds.
Reverend Blair
The budget should be an interesting one, Hock. I'm not sure the government will survive it. I would hope that there's a strong commitment to building up our peacekeeping forces though...something that sends a clear message that is to be our role.
What part of UNANIMOUS do you not understand?

I love your description of what SOVREIGN means as well. It is funny how you accuse me of losing credibility.

In this case when you use the word sovereign in regards to descibing a nation it is defined as this.

independent: self-governing and not ruled by any other state

Canada should have stepped up. They had the ball. As you say they were in the right. In a sense they sold out a million Rwandans because they did not want to go against the UN. That doesn't sound too sovereign. That almost sounds like Canada was a "subject" of the UN.

Outside of the USA bashers saying it was "ALL AMERICA'S FAULT", the fact remains is this. The USA was not going to put troops on the ground... plain and simple.

I will tell you this, if Canada put 10,000 troops on the ground to stop the genocide not a word would have been said. But you know and I know Canada would not even think about committing that many troops to Rwanda.

I will be honest, little is said about the Canadian contingent there. The Belgium forces have been written about and Kofi Annan stated that when Belgium pulled their troops out the UN Forces were rendered "INEFFECTIVE".

So you go off and colorfully bash the US as you do in all of your posts on this forum. Where is your credibility when you refer to the US as a "drunken biker"? It just shows that you are biased and just plain hate the USA.

That missle that you desribe that shot down the plane. I would really like to know the evidence. I am sure no doubt you will send a link from some Anti-US webpage, or a socialist rag that seem to be hyper linked quite a bit around here. In all of the documentation about the Rwandan Genocide the make and model of the US Missle was never mentioned. The US did not sell Stingers to the Iraqi Govt. either. The bulk of our aid to the Iraqi's was intelligence on Iranian troop movements.

Once again... don't let facts get in your way Reverend.

The US is also being blamed for the SE Asian Tsunamis. I can send you some great links that "proves" it!

You'll be seeing me a lot around here. You can count on it.
Reverend Blair

It is funny how you accuse me of losing credibility.

it is actually, since you never had any to begin with.


Canada should have stepped up. They had the ball. As you say they were in the right. In a sense they sold out a million Rwandans because they did not want to go against the UN. That doesn't sound too sovereign. That almost sounds like Canada was a "subject" of the UN.

I'll type slowly so maybe you can understand. The laws of a sovereign country do not apply outside of their own borders. When they do operate outside of their own borders they must by the rules of the international community. If they do not do that they become a rogue state...no better than terrorists.


Outside of the USA bashers saying it was "ALL AMERICA'S FAULT", the fact remains is this. The USA was not going to put troops on the ground... plain and simple.

Nobody asked them to put troops on the ground. The US blocked the ability of anybody else to put troops on the ground.


I will tell you this, if Canada put 10,000 troops on the ground to stop the genocide not a word would have been said.

The US and France would have had a hissy fit, buddy. They didn't want anybody seeing the illegal imperialist games they were playing in the area. Promoting civil wars so your corporations can mine for gem stones is frowned upon, after all.


You'll be seeing me a lot around here. You can count on it.

Oh good, we don't have enough loudmouthed Schnooks around here.
You'll be seeing me a lot around here. You can count on it.

We will be waiting with baited breath... :P Welcome
So we blocked the ability of other countries? In what way? There is nothing in the Security Council archives that stated


I can sound just as stupid as you really are Reverend.

Here is an idea, instead of getting your info from biased web pages and blogs, read some of the reports that were put on by Human Rights Groups. Sure they do not speak favorably about the US. Why? Because the USA said we are not sending troops, find someone else.

Here is a good link.


It mentions none of your self serving, nationalistic gibberish. "Frontline" and PBS is nothing more than a publicly funded (US) liberal media outlet.

Canada had 1 Million Rwandans die on their watch and did nothing except pat itself on the back and blame others for it's failure.

"The US and France would have had a hissy fit, buddy. They didn't want anybody seeing the illegal imperialist games they were playing in the area. Promoting civil wars so your corporations can mine for gem stones is frowned upon, after all. "

Too funny. Yes, it seems like you have your finger on the pulse.

Face it Reverend... you are just insecure and jealous of your southern neighbors. Your insults just make me laugh and it shows to everyone that you truly do not know what you are talking about.
YEs, I am a lefty but I think it's time we supported our military. We go on about our being a peace keeping nation yet we contribute less money and military to peace keeping initiatives than any of the other industrialized countries (including, sweden, norway, australia etc..).

We are such hypocrites in this regard. It's embarrassing, because we have probably the highest standard of living in the world yet we give back almost nothing.
Reverend Blair
That's the consensus that comes up in poll after poll, Sydney. Canadians want a military that can fulfill our peacekeeping obligations.

Eaglesmack...if you want to discuss Rwanda start a thread on it. We're dragging this one off-topic. If you're just here to troll, go elsewhere.
Rising Star,

I have to say that I think you've missed the boat with regards to the Rwandan situation. Canada was watching millions die, but they were following important protocal that are deisgned to maintain the precarious position of authority that the United NAtions holds. If those protocal were broken it could make it very difficult for United nations to agree upon any further actions.

The united states was the player in that situation which stopped the united nations from intervening. And they did stop it because of their imperialist motives in that region. Why does this surprise you? It's liek you can't see the pattern of american behaviour with regards to their foreign policy and its connections to making America some moeny.
Mooseskin Johnny
It really is the politicians who can't get their collective act together over the military. How many years have they wasted on helecopter replacement? The solution is too simple: divide the total fleet by 20 years and procure the resulting number every year. We'd never have an helicopter more than 20 years old. This works with taxi fleets, boats planes, tanks, any kind of hardware. It's so simple one has to wonder if the politicians are absolute dimwits. This is worse than the flag debate.
Reverend Blair
That would be too simple, Mooseskin. Every fleet manager on the planet has been able to figure that out, but not our government.

What they really need to do is give the military a mandate and a budget to fulfill that mandate and let them do it. Politicians micromanaging the purchase of equipmment that they don't understand is silly.
Ten Packs
Paranoid Dot Calm
Sea Kings In The Sun
This Link Is No Longer Available:
The following is a report by Oxfam, which you can say what you want about, it's information is relatively reliable. I'd say you're both a little off base. It's true that a military officer can't simply disobey UN resolutions and start shooting, except to defend their own soldiers. Nobody faults Dallaire for this, at the same time it certainly can't be said that 'they did a good job' since they had no authority or equipment to do anything. That's like sending somebody to clean your house in ten minutes with no cleaning supplies and then defending them saying that they 'stood around well' or 'would have done a good job if we'd given them help'. Again, that's not Dallaire's fault.

It is, however, partly Canada's fault, our american friend is not the first to point out that we've been slacking in the peacekeeping department. Also, keep in mind that Canada was joining in the pigswill of arming the offending party in the first place.

The following points quite clear blame at the US, and you can't run the world without expecting to be blamed for shortcomings. This was during Bosnia and americans had just been killed in Somalia so there was good likelihood that the same could happen in Rwanda, hence the reluctance to call it genocide which would have forced intervention. Places like Argentina were naming it such, but nowhere else, including Canada.

In many cases Canada follows the US lead on voting against resolutions, and votes against them if canadian corporations are involved, such as in Indonesia or China, so this quite clearly was not just the fault of america. Many books written since have identified the inherent racism of the united nations, which gives little power to Africa or South America. Canada and the US are offshoots of that colonial past and the failures in Africa can be quite definitively linked to the corporate orgies robbing the continent of its resources, and those corporations represent canadian as well as american interests. So while the US does not get off scott free, certainly Canada doesn't either. Here's the piece:

What role did foreign powers play in supporting those who committed the genocide?
Foreign powers supported and armed the Rwandan government before the genocide. The former South African apartheid government supplied arms worth $5.9 million. France, a supporter of the Habyarimana regime, helped it buy arms worth $6 million. These arms were supplied in 1992 when evidence of human rights abuses by the Rwandan government was already in the public domain and France was an observer at the Arusha peace talks. The shipments included automatic rifles, mortars, long-range artillery, shoulder-fired rocket launchers, munitions, landmines and plastic explosives. French support for Habyarimana’s government dated back to the 1970s. France sent hundreds of military advisors and soldiers to help the government try to repel the RPF invasion. The United States also supplied arms to the Rwandan government. In 1993, US military sales to Rwanda were estimated to be worth US$600,000.

How did the international community fail to prevent the genocide?
The Rwanda genocide is one of the most shameful recent failures of the world’s governments to protect innocent civilians. General Romeo Dallaire, head of the ill-fated UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda spoke of the “inexcusable apathy by the sovereign states that made up the UN that is completely beyond comprehension and moral acceptability.” Salim Ahmed Salim, Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity attacked a “lack of sufficient concern for African tragic situations.” Oxfam condemned the “supine inactivity” of the United States and European governments saying their inaction amounted to “a callous ignoring of genocide which, morally and legally, every government has a duty to prevent.”

Following the Arusha peace deal signed in August 1993, UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali sent a team to Rwanda to decide what kind of peacekeeping force would be needed there. It recommended at least 5000 troops. It was not until 5th October 1993 that Resolution 872 was passed establishing UNAMIR, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, under the command of Canadian General Romeo Dallaire. The UN Security Council was preoccupied at the time with crises in Bosnia and Somalia and the Rwanda resolution came just two days after 18 American soldiers were killed in Somalia. With this in mind, the US recommended a force of just 500 men for Rwanda. The Security Council eventually compromised and authorized around 2,500 men. Their six-month mandate was to oversee the peace process but not to enforce peace or protect civilians.

From the start, the UNAMIR force was hampered by delays, shortages of equipment and suitable personnel. It became increasingly clear that the Arusha accords were not being implemented and that political violence against human rights activists and opposition members was rising alarmingly. Prominent politicians were assassinated and it became public knowledge that Hutu militias had extensive death lists targeting Tutsis and moderate Hutus. All of this was known to the UN Security Council and yet, with UNAMIR’s mandate coming up for renewal in April 1994, its members still tried to scale back their commitments. General Dallaire attacked “international indifference” to Rwanda.

When the genocide started on April 6th, ten Belgian peacekeepers were captured, tortured and murdered by militias for trying to protect the moderate Hutu Prime Minister. This prompted Belgium to announce the withdrawal of all its peacekeepers. Dallaire requested replacements for the Belgians, but none were forthcoming, and, with the exception of Ghana, governments with troops in Rwanda ordered them to protect themselves but not civilians. A week later, 1,500 well trained troops from France, Italy and Belgium flew into Rwanda to evacuate foreign nationals. Dallaire’s men were left with inadequate equipment and ammunition and rotten survival rations. To Dallaire, journalists and human rights organizations it became clear that what was unfolding was genocide. But world leaders were slow to name it thus – to do so would oblige them to intervene to prevent it under the Genocide Convention of 1948.

But there was no appetite for intervention. On 21st April, the UN Security Council voted to cut the UNAMIR force to just 270 personnel. The United States took the lead in pushing for this decision. Under Resolution 912, UNAMIR was given a new mandate which was restricted to mediation and humanitarian aid. In practice, 444 UN troops stayed on in Kigali. The reduced force managed to protect the 15,000 Rwandan sheltering in the UN compound in Kigali, but its reduction sent a clear signal to those committing genocide that the world was not going to intervene.

Repeated attempts by Boutros-Ghali and members of the Security Council to request reinforcements for UNAMIR were blocked by Madeleine Albright the United States’ representative who refused to describe what was happening in Rwanda as “genocide”, saying only that “acts of genocide” may have taken place, an important legal distinction. Boutros-Ghali later wrote: “The behavior of the Security Council was shocking; it meekly followed the United States’ lead in denying the reality of the genocide.”

On 16th May – almost six weeks after the massacres began – the Security Council voted through Resolution 918 which authorized the enlargement of UNAMIR. But at US insistence the Secretary-General was authorized to deploy only one infantry battalion of 800 men. A group of African countries offered to send an intervention force but lacked the necessary equipment and logistical support to mount a speedy operation. Having refused to send their own troops, Security Council members failed to send the means by which African troops could be sent. Their response - the US offer to loan 50 armored vehicles, and the UK offer to supply 50 trucks, was totally inadequate. Boutros-Ghali asked the US to jam the inflammatory broadcasts of Radio Milles Collines which broadcast hate propaganda from the capital, Kigali, and spurred on those committing the genocide across the country. He was told it would be too expensive.

As the massacres spread through the country, General Dallaire wrote that he and his few men were “standing knee deep in mutilated bodies, surrounded by the guttural moans of dying people, looking in to the eyes of children bleeding to death with their wounds burning in the sun and being invaded by maggots and flies”.

The Security Council, he said, “floundered in the face of mounting heaps of bodies growing daily… As long as these states procrastinated, bickered and cynically pursued their own selfish foreign policies, the UN and UNAMIR could do little to stop the killing”.

Finally, in early July, the French intervened. Given the history of French support for the former government of Rwanda, the motivation behind this intervention generated suspicion. The French “Operation Turquoise” involved 2,500 troops setting up a “safe zone” in southwest Rwanda. They were given a mandate (under Chapter VII of the UN Charter) to enforce peace, unlike Dallaire’s UNAMIR force stuck in Kigali. Whatever its original motivations, it is estimated that Operation Turquoise may have saved up to 15,000 Tutsis at the end of the genocide.
The Canadian military should be a peacekeeping role, and a patrol of northern territories.

I would like to see the term "military" changed to "humanitarian". Others here said there are civilian agencies for that, but when the going gets tough, or brutal, armed forces are needed to compete with the 'bad guys'.

Armed humantiarin forces doing peacekeeping and watchdogging is what Canada's military is doing now, so lets put it in writing that that is our militarys' role now. And limit it to that, for the credability factor.

It would be a statement that Canada will not be a part of invasions of foreign nations, a practise that America has revived after so many years of stability where only civil wars are being fought. The only way another "world war" could occur is when one nation invades another, as America did to Iraq, and soon Iran, and we can see where this will lead - an all-out muslimVS christian horror story. Thats what Bush wants maybe?

There is, realistically, no threat of Canada being invaded, except by the U.S.A. ; therefore, we don't need a defensive military. Our strength is that we do NOT participate in invasions, therefore Canada is a model for peacekeeping roles.

If the USA did try to take over Canada, for our oil possibly, then the only way we could fight back is with civilians doing insurgency. An organised military would be wiped out in days by American forces if they chose to do it. There really is no role for a Canadian Army.

If all is going according to plan, the Military will be pulling in a big pay raise of 8.9%. Just over 6% of this is back dated to 01 Apr 04 and the remainder will come on 01 Apr 05. It was also a nice change to see the budget give the Military $13 b over the next 5 years....its a lot better than all the cuts over the past 10 or so years. Well done Mr Martin, but there is so much more needed......
The US invading Canada?

Please... spare us your paranoid delusions.

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