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Military's diversity, inclusion efforts plagued by shortcomings: internal review

TangoTwoBravo

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So here's an idea. Build several bases close to an urban centre like Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver with facilities for training simulators and sufficient low cost housing for an entire battalion or regiment.
Not sure how you intend to do that. Getting RegF posted to major urban centres is a huge challenge due to housing costs. The CAF can't just wave a magic wand and provide low-cost housing (ie below what the market value would be) without it being a benefit.
 

lenaitch

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So here's an idea. Build several bases close to an urban centre like Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver with facilities for training simulators and sufficient low cost housing for an entire battalion or regiment. Keep the actual equipment at super training bases such as Wainwright and Gagetown with a skeleton maintenance staff around the year. Transport (bus, fly, whatever) the battalion etc to the training base several times a year for full-scale exercises. Create similar reserve battalions in the same area who use the sim equipment on weekends and during the summer and do an annual exercise with the real stuff late summer.

Add to that a general covenant that keeps people within that battalion to career progress as long as they want and thus affording their spouses stable employment opportunities and for everyone to stay near their families.

Simulation systems have become quite advanced and could probably meet the vast majority of all individual training needs and even many collective training ones.

A long-term investment in real estate at the level of a 4-500 single and multiple unit family home sub division near an urban centre is not out of the question, will only appreciate in value and will become self sustaining based on rents even if modest.

:unsure:

It might work (for the army anyway), depending on what is meant by "close". It would still entail a fair chunk of expensive and increasingly rare real estate around some of the urban areas, and building from scratch. I'm really only familiar with the GTA; perhaps a re-purposed Borden would work, but even that would be seen as a long haul for many urban young.

Are military housing rates geared to reflect local housing costs?

It still doesn't address any social or cultural reluctance to joining the military regardless of where it is. Way back in the day, cadet corps, ROTC structures etc. were active in high schools and post secondary institutions. Given today's educational leadership aversion to anything military (or police, or the dominant social structure in general), I really don't see the military being able to increase its image or footprint among the demographic it seems to want to attract. I've heard of rending of garments when Recruiting wanted to have a booth at a career fair.
 

daftandbarmy

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So basically the Australian model, but they also have the real equipment there (and minus the low-cost housing).

Just about every country in Europe does this too. Mainly because they have few other options due to space restrictions, but it keeps troops closer to family unts etc than is possible in Canada.
 

FJAG

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That would be five "Scarborough suitcases". ( That's the 12-pack on top, with the convenient suitcase handle. )

With change left over for cigarettes. Trying to remember how much a carton cost back then, as we usually got ours from vending machines.
Not sure about a carton. My mom used to send me to the corner drugstore down the street (and yup, we lived in Scarborough) to pick her up a pack or two of cigarettes each day. I recall they were $0.20 for a pack of twenty then. I made most of my pocket money in those days for the $0.10 DC comic books I bought by forgetting to give her the change. - Ended up never smoking in my life except for the second hand smoke that enveloped me on a daily basis - it's miracle I never got lung cancer.

😁
 

MilEME09

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In theory local housing market shouldn't matter much, if you build enough low cost housing for all base personal within the confines of the base, in theory it would help boost the local economy. Create a good mix of apartments, and multi family row housing, invite the business community in to potential add some small business into the mix and you might be good to go.

The difficult part would be land, but post pandemic DND may be able to buy land off the market for a fair price for awhile.
 

FJAG

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Not sure how you intend to do that. Getting RegF posted to major urban centres is a huge challenge due to housing costs. The CAF can't just wave a magic wand and provide low-cost housing (ie below what the market value would be) without it being a benefit.
Developers that build subdivisions generally do not lose money. Assuming that you do not sell the units (and you wouldn't for a base) you'd have a predictable income stream so that there is a complete return on investment after a given number of years followed by a constant profit thereafter.

We built PMQs in the fifties and sixties that have been paid for a dozen times over and which continue to generate income. We continue to do this all the time through CMHC for First Nations' housing with nowhere near the control over the income stream that would be available through the military.

The issue that I see here is that we do not get enough the numbers or the diversity that we want from urban centres so one solution is to make it more attractive for diverse, big urban centre dwellers to join. Staying close to home for much of their career is one answer. Eliminating the exorbitant cost of urban home ownership through a military sub division is one answer. It's an accounting issue and think of it this way - it would be a large scale military project that actually has the ability to generate income. What a novel idea. Tell young Justin and Harjit about it now while they are looking for ways to spend money.

Anyway it's a thought. But I do tend to agree with you in one respect - DND would never do it because it would take a ten year study to convince themselves its impossible. But on the other hand it could create a job for a new general and all his staff so - maybe? 😉

🍻
 

Brad Sallows

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Having a couple of permanent overseas bases would help. I suspect most older members who were posted to Germany enjoyed their time there.
 

mariomike

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Not sure about a carton. My mom used to send me to the corner drugstore down the street (and yup, we lived in Scarborough) to pick her up a pack or two of cigarettes each day. I recall they were $0.20 for a pack of twenty then. I made most of my pocket money in those days for the $0.10 DC comic books I bought by forgetting to give her the change. - Ended up never smoking in my life except for the second hand smoke that enveloped me on a daily basis - it's miracle I never got lung cancer.

😁
Funny how public opinion changes. "In the hospital, the nurse would bring the baby and I had a cigarette here, a breast here, and a baby there."

On the other hand, I grew up in a "Dry" area. Nothing stronger than a Ginger Ale was available until into the 2000's. Even with your meal in a restaurant. No beer or wine.

Only place licensed was the Legion. When bars were finally allowed, the Legion shut down.
 

daftandbarmy

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Developers that build subdivisions generally do not lose money. Assuming that you do not sell the units (and you wouldn't for a base) you'd have a predictable income stream so that there is a complete return on investment after a given number of years followed by a constant profit thereafter.

We built PMQs in the fifties and sixties that have been paid for a dozen times over and which continue to generate income. We continue to do this all the time through CMHC for First Nations' housing with nowhere near the control over the income stream that would be available through the military.

The issue that I see here is that we do not get enough the numbers or the diversity that we want from urban centres so one solution is to make it more attractive for diverse, big urban centre dwellers to join. Staying close to home for much of their career is one answer. Eliminating the exorbitant cost of urban home ownership through a military sub division is one answer. It's an accounting issue and think of it this way - it would be a large scale military project that actually has the ability to generate income. What a novel idea. Tell young Justin and Harjit about it now while they are looking for ways to spend money.

Anyway it's a thought. But I do tend to agree with you in one respect - DND would never do it because it would take a ten year study to convince themselves its impossible. But on the other hand it could create a job for a new general and all his staff so - maybe? 😉

🍻

Or just hire people for five or six years then kick them out/ transfer them to the reserve list. In the meantime they can live in the field ina trench, or in barracks.

Why should we owe every single person who walks through the door to the recruiter's office 25 years and a full pension, with the expectation that they'll own a house/car etc? That's a 1950/60s thing. We might select a cadre of longer term staff who these terms of service might apply to, based on need and performance.

Fewer and fewer employers are doing that these days manily becasue fewer and fewer employees are committing to a life long term of employment with a single employer.
 

FJAG

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Funny how public opinion changes. "In the hospital, the nurse would bring the baby and I had a cigarette here, a breast here, and a baby there."

On the other hand, I grew up in a "Dry" area. Nothing stronger than a Ginger Ale was available until into the 2000's. Even with your meal in a restaurant. No beer or wine,

Only place licensed was the Legion.
No such problem in Scarborough. The legal drinking age was 21 then but we were already getting well taken care of in the local bars at age 16. Maybe the fact that the bars had two sections then - one for "gentlemen" and the other for "ladies and escorts" and they shut down over the supper hour so that everyone was supposed to go home to eat.

🍻
 

FJAG

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Or just hire people for five or six years then kick them out/ transfer them to the reserve list. In the meantime they can live in the field ina trench, or in barracks.

Why should we owe every single person who walks through the door to the recruiter's office 25 years and a full pension, with the expectation that they'll own a house/car etc? That's a 1950/60s thing. We might select a cadre of longer term staff who these terms of service might apply to, based on need and performance.

Fewer and fewer employers are doing that these days manily becasue fewer and fewer employees are committing to a life long term of employment with a single employer.

I'm actually on board with that.

My gut tells me the reason why we have so many senior officers and NCOs clogging Ottawa is because we have, bit by bit, created career fields/jobs for long serving folks. My personal bugbear is the CWOs in the JAG branch. Not that I think that there is no use for military v civilian paralegals - I think we need quite a few to do the bulk of the clerical work that legal officers do for themselves - but because this was in my mind just a shameless way to keep a dozen or more CWOs in the system. For the money we spend I'd prefer to see twice as many corporals through sergeants in the branch.

We're in a vicious spiral of creating new administrative functions at headquarters and filling them with long serving "experienced" officers and NCMs which results in taking the really good ones away from the battalions and also creating a dumping ground for the ones that checked out mentally years ago.

🍻
 

lenaitch

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In theory local housing market shouldn't matter much, if you build enough low cost housing for all base personal within the confines of the base, in theory it would help boost the local economy. Create a good mix of apartments, and multi family row housing, invite the business community in to potential add some small business into the mix and you might be good to go.

The difficult part would be land, but post pandemic DND may be able to buy land off the market for a fair price for awhile.

Perhaps in some areas but around the GTA, housing and land prices were high before and off the dial during Covid. I imagine Lower Mainland BC is the same. The further you go out to find cheaper land, perhaps provincial Crown land, you tend to negate the advantage - being close to an urban area - you were trying to solve.

As for small businesses, how many bases have anything other than a Tim's or Subway? Borden used to have a MacDonald's that closed (I don't know why). I would imagine having the federal government as a landlord plus all the restrictions of operating on a military establishment isn't all that much fun. You are essentially building a restrictive government 'company town'.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Plus the government has seen the big chunks of government owned land as a cash cow and divested much of it. Except now they have to clean it up and sell it at a deal to the local First Nations if they want it.
 

quadrapiper

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I'm actually on board with that.

My gut tells me the reason why we have so many senior officers and NCOs clogging Ottawa is because we have, bit by bit, created career fields/jobs for long serving folks. My personal bugbear is the CWOs in the JAG branch. Not that I think that there is no use for military v civilian paralegals - I think we need quite a few to do the bulk of the clerical work that legal officers do for themselves - but because this was in my mind just a shameless way to keep a dozen or more CWOs in the system. For the money we spend I'd prefer to see twice as many corporals through sergeants in the branch.

We're in a vicious spiral of creating new administrative functions at headquarters and filling them with long serving "experienced" officers and NCMs which results in taking the really good ones away from the battalions and also creating a dumping ground for the ones that checked out mentally years ago.

🍻
Would a broad improvement in IPCs (maybe with an upper band only available post certain training or other assessable milestones), or a tech/specialist vs. leadership split accommodate the reasonable desire to reward/retain people working above the pan-CAF baseline for Cpl-Sgt without encouraging the skewing effect of more WOs-CWOs?
 

quadrapiper

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Plus the government has seen the big chunks of government owned land as a cash cow and divested much of it. Except now they have to clean it up and sell it at a deal to the local First Nations if they want it.
Wonder how much a sitting government could do to make future divestment awkward or impossible? Whether or not we're ever dealing with another WWI/II situation and suddenly pulling in thousands of e.g. Greater Vancouver residents, hanging on to land that was useful, in areas where getting land (especially land that isn't massively built up) is hard to impossible, seems as much of a "reserve" function as the PRes itself.

Re: basing, could see aligning location-agnostic new bases with CMHC and related affordable housing efforts: ID an area adjacent to current development and get not just the base and associated PMQs built, but create an instant associated population mass to drive public service and private business interest. Looking around Vancouver, depending on how close to existing urban areas you'd need to be for that to help, places like Anmore, up Indian Arm, and up the North Shore valleys come to mind, if just remilitarizing Chilliwack isn't an option.
 

Old Sweat

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Can you imagine the outcry if DND tried to build accommodation that underpriced the local civilian market. I seem to recall that there was firm direction that this was not allowed, and that the PMQ rents were tied to the local prevailing rates. When the annual (always upwards) adjustments were made, the local rents in the civilian economy increased accordingly. The rationale was that the married patch was large enough to trigger an increase in the rents charged for other properties in the local economy.

And the long term goal, as stated by the central agencies in the Federal Government was to get out of the providing accommodation business. Now, this was decades ago, but I suspect any attempt to provide "subsidized" housing to our members would run afoul of one or more of the above arguments, led by the local MPs.
 
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