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Feed children instead of training them for war

daftandbarmy

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Hoo boy.... Kelly sounds like he needs a (socially distanced) hug ....


Feed children instead of training them for war: There is no better time to abolish the Cadets and repurpose its funding to support children’s welfare and education in Canada

In Canada’s capital, children whose families cannot afford internet access at home camp out in their school’s parking lot to attend class. An internet connection has become a necessity for work and school but Canadians do not have universal internet access. Yet, the government is willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to prepare children to become soldiers.

The Cadets is a youth program wherein children barely out of elementary school—the minimum age is 12 years old—are put under the supervision of the military. Cadets spend one evening a week with their squadron and then attend summer camps once a year at military bases in other cities. The program’s annual budget is $240 million, and will be increased to $300 million by 2022. There are over 1,000 squadrons or corps with about 60,000 cadets.

The program has received heavy criticism for its use of funding. A 2013 review states that over 20 years the number of Cadets decreased by 15 percent while costs increased by 40 percent. Since the report was published, the program’s costs have increased by $40 million while the number of cadets has grown by less than ten thousand.

The program states that it “develops self-confidence [and] self-awareness,” encourages cadets to volunteer for “citizenship activities” and improves health and fitness. However, as a former Air Cadet from the 333 Squadron in Fredericton, New Brunswick, I can state that this simply isn’t true. My own experiences with the program as a Cadet in the early 2000s contradict the program’s stated aims. Moreover, the program has a troubling history of being harmful to children. There is no better time to abolish the program and repurpose its funding to support children’s welfare and education in Canada.

The program claims that it develops cadets’ self-esteem and self-confidence, but its culture does the opposite. Mistakes are noted and then punishment is meted out. For example, I put my arms in the wrong place while receiving a promotion and was bluntly criticized immediately after I stepped off the parade square. There was not a culture of helping others and if cadets were struggling, they were left behind. I often had trouble putting my clarinet and marching band equipment together before band practice and I was left to struggle with it while other cadets walked past me avoiding eye contact. The philosophy of “sink or swim” permeated the program.

My instructors were not supportive and openly longed for the days when they could physically abuse cadets. I was frequently told that the program was being ruined by anti-abuse reforms. Instructors stated that they wished to use their wooden and metal clipboards to beat cadets who did not meet grooming standards. Cadets who compared unfavourably to their family members or other cadets were labelled disappointments by instructors or senior cadets.

The program’s pitch for itself is that it teaches citizenship but what it means by that is hard to define. We learned about government structure but were not encouraged to learn about political movements or participate in politics. Obedience and respecting hierarchy took precedence over any message about democracy. Anyone with dissenting political opinions was labelled a “hippy.” The program does not create politically active citizens; it creates obedient soldiers.

The squadron helped the community but only in ways tangentially related to the program. Once the squadron was ordered to volunteer at a grocery store bagging groceries and another time the squadron built a bridge in a rural area. We were not taught why these were important or what they had to do with citizenship. Meanwhile, away from the Cadet program, my middle school classmates were doing things like camping out downtown to raise money for homeless people.

The program’s mission was originally to prepare Canadian children to die in the First World War. According to Cynthia Comacchio, the Cadets program emerged in the early 1900s as a response to the “boy problem” where young men living in cities were seen as being too effeminate. In 1909 the program was made mandatory for public schools as part of a push to train soldiers for the coming war. After witnessing the horror of the war, Agnes MacPhail and progressive movements led a backlash against the Cadets program.

In the last Great Depression Canadian unions attacked the Cadets program for teaching children war instead of peace. Labour councils asked why “many children are not receiving sufficient food to keep their bodies nourished as they should be and all the military training in the world will not make up for lack of wholesome food.” These words are as relevant as ever in 2020.

What’s more, the program should have been defunded years ago because of the danger it poses to children. In 2016, a report was released by the National Post detailing a common trend of Canadian soldiers using the Cadets program to prey on children.

Putting children into a hierarchy with soldiers has been especially dangerous. The National Post report detailed how the Cadets program “encouraged or fostered silence or obedience.” According to the Post, the elevated status of soldiers and veterans in the program protected them from scrutiny. Parents found it difficult to report abuse in the closed-off communities that form around Cadets squadrons and the military.

This matches my experiences. In one instance, a Cadet mentioned the CHAP (Cadet Harassment and Abuse Prevention) program and the Cadet instructor lectured us that a false accusation could destroy her career and leave her life in ruin. The instructor’s concern was firstly about false accusations and not making sure that Cadets in the program felt safe to bring a possible accusation forward in the future.

Official lectures and classes about the CHAP program were mandatory but, in my experience, not effective. Cadet instructors would teach us how the reporting system works and play videos with lectures and dramatic recreations. The classes weren’t taken seriously and most cadets howled with laughter at references to homosexuality in the videos.

Finally, Canada should abolish the Cadets program and use the funds to ensure that every child in the country receives an education. The program’s structural problems and its litany of scandals are enough evidence for it to be defunded but repurposing its funding could bring about positive change. Defunding the military can make children in Canada safer and other programs exist that can promote self-esteem, fitness and citizenship.

Kelly Jarman works in Seoul where he teaches business English and standardized tests and is a member of The International Strategy Center. He is originally from Fredericton where he took part in the literary community and student politics.

https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/feed-children-instead-of-training-them-for-war?fbclid=IwAR2c7INwO7TYfQeGEEl5zXpsqIyOUs3_PIw26XlduLEHjt53mwN8wRh2eIs
 

Blackadder1916

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One would expect that, due to the bent of the originating site, the follow-on comments to this article would likely be more amenable to this individual's opinion.  However, probably because a number of those commenting had well learned the lessons of being civil in cadets, they refrained from openly telling the author to f*** o** at the high port but the sentiment is there beneath the surface.  An easily ignored opinion, as is his other, similar piece found here http://www.mediacoop.ca/story/cost-canada%E2%80%99s-militarist-culture-perspectives-form/36973 . 
 

Jarnhamar

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[quote author=daftandbarmy] He is originally from Fredericton where he took part in the literary community and student politics. [/i]

[/quote]

I bet.

I worked with a couple CIC officers who were among the most professional, devoted and caring officers I've ever worked with in the CAF.

Lots of kids use the cadets to escape abuse at home.
 

tomahawk6

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I guess the author forgot that in the age of sail children were found aboard ship. Maybe the same for the Army. Some were the scions of the wealthy or just pressed into service which was bettewr than living on the streets of London.
 

BDTyre

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This guy couldn't even get the Cadet's history right....started in the 1900s in response to effeminate young boys in the cities...what? And it was used to train boys to be soldiers in anticipation of a war that Canada didn't really anticipate and didn't bother preparing for in any other way?? Yeah, sounds legit...
 

Furniture

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Army cadets gave me the opportunity to see that there is more to Canada than the small little part I grew-up in. It boosted my self-confidence, and sense of self-worth, while at the same time teaching me useful skills. If it were not for the cadet programme I might have been just another useless bum sitting around in small town PEI, on pogey, making nothing of my life, while complaining that the government needs to do more to help me.

It's unfortunate the author only looked at the negative experiences he had, and didn't focus on the valuable lessons he likely learned along the way. 
 

Kilted

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Unfortunately, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Cadet program sacrificed on the altar of political correctness at some point in the future. Maybe not in the next few years, but eventually.
 

Jarnhamar

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[quote author=Furniture]

It's unfortunate the author only looked at the negative experiences he had, and didn't focus on the valuable lessons he likely learned along the way.
[/quote]

Author appears to be a grown man still butt-hurt about getting in trouble for moving his arms when he was a kid. I bet hes a real lion in the business world.
 

Furniture

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Jarnhamar said:
Author appears to be a grown man still butt-hurt about getting in trouble for moving his arms when he was a kid. I bet hes a real lion in the business world.

The part I found most amusing was complaining that others didn't help him with his band stuff... As if his failure to be ready, or ask for help was somehow the fault of the cadet programme. I mean, if getting your clarinet and other band stuff is too hard, how can one pack to travel to Korea? Is he there simply because he can't get his stuff packed to come home?

 

Navy_Pete

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Jarnhamar said:
I bet.

I worked with a couple CIC officers who were among the most professional, devoted and caring officers I've ever worked with in the CAF.

Lots of kids use the cadets to escape abuse at home.

Years ago I got attached to a summer cadet camp while sitting on PAT platoon waiting for a course (which was an awesome escape). Some of the kids life stories were pretty horrendous, and pretty confident in saying that the cadet program was the best thing in their life at the time. Took a bit for them to decompress enough to enjoy it, but was awesome to see them having fun and just being kids, with the other kids encouraging them. It was just six weeks, but was enough to see some pretty big, positive changes in them. Hopefully it helped, but always wondered what happened to them.

Anyway, this guy seems like a knob who blames others for his shortcomings and really holds a grudge.
 

dimsum

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The website seems to have taken down the article.  Considering the slant of the site, I'm actually kind of surprised.
 

quadrapiper

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Navy_Pete said:
Years ago I got attached to a summer cadet camp while sitting on PAT platoon waiting for a course (which was an awesome escape). Some of the kids life stories were pretty horrendous, and pretty confident in saying that the cadet program was the best thing in their life at the time. Took a bit for them to decompress enough to enjoy it, but was awesome to see them having fun and just being kids, with the other kids encouraging them. It was just six weeks, but was enough to see some pretty big, positive changes in them. Hopefully it helped, but always wondered what happened to them.
That's definitely one of the biggest rewards for me, working with the program: giving kids with that sort of experience the opportunity to be part of something better and broader than whatever little slice of awful they lived in the rest of the week, or the rest of the year. The corps was a major source of stability and clarity when I was a kid, plus being a place I got to do all sorts of cool and unusual things. QUADRA was all that but turned up to 11.
 

brihard

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I lived and worked in a northern community for three years, and hung my hat at the local army cadet unit to stay on strength with my reserve regiment. I'd been a cadet myself as a kid. I saw some of the cadet in both uniforms that I wore, and some came from truly crappy homes. Cadets was definitely the best three hours a week some of them got, and opportunities like camp were something they otherwise never would have gotten access to. I truly feel that cadets remains a great program. Obviously any time you're congregating kids together there's potential for issues, but that's just the nature of teenagers.
 

Retired AF Guy

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Blackadder1916 said:
An easily ignored opinion, as is his other, similar piece found here http://www.mediacoop.ca/story/cost-canada%E2%80%99s-militarist-culture-perspectives-form/36973 .

From the article Blackadder linked to:

After the Second World War, Koreans were creating a unified state and undoing the wrongs of Japanese colonialism. Western intervention interrupted that historical process, leaving Korea divided to this day.



 

dimsum

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Retired AF Guy said:
From the article Blackadder linked to:

After the Second World War, Koreans were creating a unified state and undoing the wrongs of Japanese colonialism. Western intervention interrupted that historical process, leaving Korea divided to this day.

Somehow I don't think the South Koreans were welcoming that KPA "historical process" with open arms.
 

Jarnhamar

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[quote author=Blackadder1916] An easily ignored opinion, as is his other, similar piece found here http://www.mediacoop.ca/story/cost-canada%E2%80%99s-militarist-culture-perspectives-form/36973 .
[/quote]

Wow does he ever drone on about being a cadet. He sounds obsessed.
 

OldSolduer

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Retired AF Guy said:
From the article Blackadder linked to:

After the Second World War, Koreans were creating a unified state and undoing the wrongs of Japanese colonialism. Western intervention interrupted that historical process, leaving Korea divided to this day.

I'm bein repressed!!!

Seriously who is the f&cking idiot?

Oh man does he ramble on - coherent thinking is not on his menu.
 

BDTyre

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It appears that the cadet article was pulled sometime yesterday.
 
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