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Sunday, September 15 2019 @ 07:20 MDT

New names for the CF

Canadian PoliticsOk, the Harper government has leaked that the air force and navy will go back to their old monikers of RCAF and RCN. Now as a former reserve member who joined when we all wore green uniforms (and shortly after was issued a blue one, then a transfer later a black one) I'm OK with the change. Structurally nothing else will have changed in the Forces and for the most part it will be good for morale in the two services. My question is about timing. Apart from some veterans groups and some elements within the CF, there hasn't been a big push for this. So why now? I suspect the reason goes something like this. The Harper Conservatives have been pandering to the members of the CF for votes with their whole "support the troops" meme. They've announced all sorts of hardware in order to keep the military vote coming in. The problem is that the Harper Conservatives aren't very good on follow through (so how are those new ships coming along? or the Aurora aircraft midlife refit that was cancelled, or the elimination of the posting differential for postings that are more expensive than others). So what useful thing are they going to take away from the military that this is a distraction for?

Does this mean we won't be getting the F-35's after all? Or will plans for keeping the Kingston class at sea (the Navy was going to mothball these due to a lack of funds and personnel to man them, until the Tories reversed that decision) be changed again? Harper and his merry band of chicken hawks talk the talk about the military, but have problems walking the walk. The military is about to take a hit and this is likely the cushion to soften the blow.

Of course it is unlikely that we'll hear about what is being quietly cancelled (national security don't you know) so there will be little outcry about it. What will remain to be seen is will the members of the CF buy in. Sure the names have been changed but what cuts to training are to happen? What vintage equipment will be made to soldier on for another few decades because the promised replacement has been quietly cancelled? The military is a small-c conservative organization, primarily because radical change doesn't help in the chaos of combat. The members of our forces are bright and educated at all ranks and it won't take long for them to figure out they're being sold a bill of goods. That may end up biting the Harper Tories in the butt in the long term.
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