February 26, 2004


Fellow Turtleite Patrick C. has his first blog entry worth linking to (:-P) today, with an entirely intelligent new vision for Canadian military education. Despite the fact that one of my fonder memories was being the artillery firing troop officer for a graduation there once, I agree that RMC is not sustainable as an undergraduate institution given the Canadian military budget, and, more importantly, is clearly having a negative effect on the involvement of Canadian academia with military studies.

Pat talks about the influence on the undergraduate level; I think there's also a larger systemic effect in that Canadian academics seem to collectively feel that military topics are not something that need be practiced outside the Kingston, Ontario city limits. I'm not just talking history here... the military logistician and the civilian industrial engineer both have a keen interest in supply chain management. There seems, however, to be absolutely no way in this country to get the insights of both of them into the same room at the same time. In the humanities likewise: hence you get interesting organizations like U of T's own department of peace and conflict studies, which as far as I can tell has no ex-military members on its staff at all, making you think the emphasis may be more on the former than the latter.

(I'm not saying an RMC diaspora would lead to thriving military studies in universities across Canada... the profs would likely congregate at a couple military-friendly campuses like the University of Calgary, if they were kicked out of Kingston... but because those would be universities regarded as peer institutions, unlike RMC is now, they'd be that much harder as a group to ignore in those locations.)

The RMC model, like the academy models down south, worked well when it only had roughly half the country's young officers enrolled in it, with the rest coming DEO (Direct Entry Officer) from civilian undergraduate programs elsewhere in the country. That way you got a mixing, within the armed services, of a full gamut of academic experience. Now that almost all regular force officers go through Kingston, its influence is only to further hive off both the military professional and educator from any more than the minimum necessary contact with the Canadian civilian population that pays for them. Which just keeps the funding death spiral going.

Posted by BruceR at 02:14 PM


This proposed Conservative party TV advertisement sounds no more offensive to me than your average cruise ship ad:

"The man welcomes listeners to Barbados, "a carefree land of sun, sand and 2-per-cent corporate income tax" and refers to Paul Martin as "your Prime Minister, Mr. Paul."

The ad refers to the fact that some of the the prime minister's commercial interests are Barbados-registered. Of course, people are flipping out:

"The tone of voice I thought was sort of mocking," said Basil Blackman, a past president of the National Council of Barbadian Associations of Canada. "I think if the Conservative Party has a problem, they should solve the problem within Canada rather than trying to bring in a third country that basically has nothing to do with the politics of Canada."

Yes, and I think the prime minister of the country should pay income tax in his own country, rather than a country that basically has nothing to do with the politics of Canada. How exactly do I solve that problem without mentioning Barbados, again?

"These guys really need sensitivity training," said Scott Brison, a former Tory MP who left for the Liberals after the PCs and the Canadian Alliance merged. "It's unacceptable for political parties to reinforce racial stereotypes."

To say that many Caribbean islands are tax shelters or are frequently sunny is now apparently reinforcing a racial stereotype. The fact that that conveniently helps keep the powers that be in this country from any real scrutiny is apparently only an unfortunate side-effect.

This country is in the process of shutting down all forms of political discourse entirely, if anyone in power (Quebecers, Liberals, businessmen, etc.) is inconvenienced by it, and using the efforts of those hopelessly earnest (and hopelessly humourless) "racially sensitive" people among us to do so.

Posted by BruceR at 12:21 PM