In The Media

Fact Check: Would expansion of military reserves be beneficial?

by Angela Mulholland (feat. David Perry)

CTV News
August 18, 2015

The Conservatives are pledging to bolster the ranks of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves, saying that doing so will help Canada’s military draw on the many skills of Canadians working in the private sector who want to help out our country’s full-time soldiers.

Here’s a look at what the Conservatives are promising and what insiders are saying about their plans.

Conservatives promise to expand reserves personnel

Harper said Monday that a re-elected Conservative government would add 6,000 more reservists to bolster the total number of Canada’s part-time soldiers to 30,000.

This is not the first time Harper has made this promise. When the Conservatives were first elected in 2008, they unveiled the Canada First Defence strategy in which they committed to increase the size of both the regular forces and the reserves by 2028.

The government has yet to make good on that promise, but now they are promising to accelerate the reserves expansion, to boost their numbers to 30,000 “within the next mandate.”

As for the regular armed forces, the Conservatives have offered no promises.

Conservatives vow to “streamline and shorten the current reserve recruiting process"

The Conservatives say they will shorten the reservist recruitment process, broaden the eligibility criteria “to tap into a deeper pool of recruits with more diverse skills and talent.”

Many say these changes are badly needed, as reservists are leaving the force faster than new members can be recruited. Many in the military point to a cumbersome and slow application that seems to only favours “the best and the brightest,” leading to an intake process for most applicants that can drag on for months.

David Perry, a senior analyst at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, tells CTV’s Canada AM that many Canadians consider joining the reserves because they want to help their fellow Canadians, while still holding onto their day jobs. “They are motivated by a desire to offer service to their country,” he said.

But he said many potential reservists have to wait seven months or longer to hear if they have been accepted. By then, many lose interest and decide to move on with their lives.

Conservatives pledge to improve training for reservists to respond to domestic emergencies

Perry says this would likely be a good idea, since he believes that reservists need to have more dedicated, strategic roles.

Reservists already do the majority of their work in Canada, helping communities deal with natural disasters, such as floods or fires, although they can also volunteer for missions overseas.

Perry says it sounds as though the Conservatives want to ensure that reservists receive more specific training so they can to respond to national emergencies, ensuring, for example, that they receive baseline forest firefighting training. That would make better use of their skills, said Perry.

“The point would be you could get them right out on the frontlines quicker,” he said.

Conservatives say they are dedicated to supporting the reserves

Harper said in his announcement Monday that since his party was elected, “we have taken many steps to repair the damage done to our Canadian Armed Forces and to rebuild and extend their ability to operate.”

Many military analysts say the opposite is true and that the Conservatives have actually slashed funding for the reserves, particularly since the end of the military operation in Afghanistan.

Andrew Leslie, a retired lieutenant-general who is running for the Liberals in Orleans, Ont., told The Canadian Press that the budget cuts are the reason that the reserves have been allowed to dwindle to just 24,000 members.

He told CP he was incredulous of Harper's announcement.

"How dare he?" Leslie said. "Since the end of combat operations in Afghanistan, Mr. Harper has decimated the reserves."

He said the the budget for part-time soldiers is so low, at one point the reserves were required to stop training for a short time. Leslie also tweeted Monday: “Fact: reservists have had funding cut by 33% since 2011 by @pmharper. Conclusion: Mr. Harper announcement today is deceitful.”

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.

Defining Procurement Success for Strong, Secure, Engaged

January 17, 2019

(feat. Dave Perry, Ian Brodie, Michael Vandergrift, Murray Brewster, Bill Matthews, and Nicolas Todd)

Canadian Relations with China in 2019

January 21, 2019

(feat. Colin Robertson, Richard Fadden, and Hugh Stephens)


Revers de la diplomatie canadienne: «Trudeau a peur de rencontrer Poutine»

by Jérôme Blanchet-Gravel (feat. Jocelyn Coulon), Sputnik France, January 22, 2019

Huawei calls for swift resolution of Sabrina Meng Wanzhou case after reports US will go ahead with extradition request

by Sarah Zheng & Catherine Wong (feat. Stephen Nagy), South China Morning Post, January 22, 2019

Big biz: Trump’s fight for one campaign promise hurts another they care about more

by Franco Ordonez (feat. Eric Miller), Miami Herald, January 22, 2019

Managing Canada’s oil wealth

by Steve Paikin (feat. Monica Gattinger), TVO’s The Agenda, January 21, 2019

Trudeau, Freeland held 19 high-level international talks with allies on China dispute

by Peter Zimonjic & Katie Simpson (feat. Stephen Saideman), CBC News, January 21, 2019


Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Suite 1800, 421-7th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 4K9


Canadian Global Affairs Institute
8 York Street, 2nd Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 5S6


Phone: (613) 288-2529


Making sense of our complex world.
Déchiffrer la complexité de notre monde.


© 2002-2018 Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Charitable Registration No. 87982 7913 RR0001


Sign in with Facebook | Sign in with Twitter | Sign in with Email