Wow. I just don't know where to start here.
I've known Blaise Cathcart since 1990 when he joined the branch and I can honestly say that he's a top notch guy who well deserves recognition for the excellent job he's done in the branch and the leadership he is providing there now.
While I think that his promotion is well deserved, I too am one of the ones who questions the need for stepping up the JAG's rank from Brigadier to Major General.
I know the primary argument is that everyone else who sits on Armed Forces Counsel is a two star or more so he should be too. Similarly our allies' JAGs are generally two stars plus. Two stars definitely do carry more weight at the table than one. Further, the branch has greatly expanded over the last two decades both in numbers and the responsibility it has as the CF has become more legal-centric in all its decision making processes. On the other hand I've always found that if you are a good legal officer you have no problems persuading or influencing higher ranked CoC guys and further that the branch is already rank heavy (effectively you start at captain and the journeyman working rank is major.
We've recently had a similar "step-up" in rank as the branch made the Director of Defence Counsel Services a full colonel rather than a light colonel. This puts the DDCS on a rank par with the Director of Military Prosecutions notwithstanding that DMP runs a significantly larger and more complex shop than DDCS. I didn't think that DDCS's "step-up" was necessary either, particularly because the DDCS is never involved with the chain of command and doesn't have to deal with the optics of "credibility by virtue of rank" that does impact on specialist advisors to the CoC from time to time. I'm not sure of the numbers these days but I doubt if the whole DCS shop, including reservists and civilians, has more than 25 people.
There are currently eight Deputy Judge Advocates General or equivalent in the branch including DMP, DDCS and DJAG/Reserves. This is the Colonel level. The last time the JAG was a MGen (MGen Pitzul - strangely enough he was also promoted to that rank when the CDS was an air force officer (but in fairness to the current CDS, the current JAG's promotion was approved on the same day the new CDS took over so the promotion must have been staffed by the former CDS)) there were jokes about moving everyone up one rank but those were just that - jokes. No one was actually promoted and I doubt anyone will be now although I would think eventually an argument might be floated to move the DJAG/COS up to a BGen rank. After Pitzul, the next JAG was again at the BGen rank.
I should point out that the JAG is in a bit of a special category from most CF personnel as only the CDS and the JAG are appointed by the government.
All in all I have to count myself amongst those who feel that, when we're losing billions from the budget and we're cutting back on many essential trades and skills at the lower rank levels, we don't need more or higher ranked generals or even a DDCS at the Colonel rank. What we need is a lot less folks and at lower ranks within NDHQ and more folks in the line units.