X
HELP US MAKE SENSE OF OUR COMPLEX WORLD
The Canadian Global Affairs Institute provides credible, open access expertise on global affairs. With your support, we can continue to spark impassioned nation-wide discussions designed to help Canadians better understand their role in the international arena.
S U P P O R T   U S
SUPPORT US

In The Media

Terror shouldn't break our ties with our soldiers

by David Bercuson

The Globe and Mail
October 22, 2014

Within 72 hours, two members of the Canadian Armed Forces were attacked and killed on the soil of Canada for no reason other than that they wore the uniform of the Canadian military. That has never happened before.

In the first case, a soldier was killed by a car driven by a jihadi in Quebec. The man had been under watch by Canadian authorities; he seems, at this point, to have been a lone attacker who took it upon himself to murder a Canadian soldier, presumably in retaliation for Canada’s decision to take part in the air campaign against Islamic State.

No one yet knows whether the attack Wednesday morning at the Canadian War Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was carried out by a lone jihadior whether he was part of a network. But what we do know is that Wednesday’s attack, coming on the heels of Monday’s killing, will put a chill on the relationship of the Canadian people to their military.

As of Wednesday afternoon, members of the Armed Forces have been told to curtail the wearing of their uniforms in public. Canadian Armed Forces bases for the most part have been locked down. That was and is a prudent measure, because it is not known if the two assailants were connected in any way, whether the second killer was himself tied in to the global jihadinetwork or whether some sort of systematic attacks on Canadian soldiers have been planned across Canada.

It is fairly easy for the Department of National Defence to close off access to bases of the regular forces. Since the early 1990s, virtually all military bases in the heart of major Canadian cities have been closed. Units of the Canadian army and squadrons of the Royal Canadian Air Force have been concentrated on large bases across the country, and almost always far from the built-up areas of cities. The move was largely an economy measure, but it did remove the daily contact that people in cities such as Winnipeg, Calgary and Quebec City had with regular Forces members who usually lived in neighbourhoods adjacent to the old bases.

The army reserves are another matter entirely. They are located at armouries that are usually right within Canadian cities and towns. They do not wear uniforms on all occasions but, in fact, are only obliged to do so when they are on duty, such as one night a week or on a weekend. But now they and their regular Forces colleagues will be invisible to the citizens they are obliged to protect and who pay taxes to support them.

One of the most important missions for the Canadian Armed Forces, both regular personnel and especially reservists – army, navy or air force – is to “connect with Canadians,” not only by showing their presence when on duty but at public events that they attend for the prime purpose of reminding this very unmilitary country that the military is still here to protect Canada, Canadians and Canadian interests abroad.

In 1999, Canada sent its air force to join the coalition of nations dedicated to ending the slaughter of Muslims in Kosovo. At that time, the military and the government went to what some journalists and defence analysts thought were absurd lengths to protect the identities of the air crew involved in the campaign. The explanation, often ridiculed, was that it was necessary to guard against retaliation.

Such measures don’t seem absurd any longer. With the globe as interconnected as it is, Canadian soldiers are now clearly in danger at home. But then, U.S., British and other allied nations’ soldiers have also been targeted in their home countries in recent attacks. Now, Canadians may finally realize that our safe and gentle society isn’t quite as safe and gentle as we once thought.

David Bercuson is director of international programs at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy and a senior fellow at the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute. 


Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTERS
 
SEARCH
EXPERTS IN THE MEDIA

Canada must act swiftly to help resettle Afghan interpreters, says vet

by Katie Simpson (feat. Howard Coombs), Power and Politics, July 29, 2021

Targeting COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy

by Global News Morning (feat. Heidi Tworek), Global News, July 29, 2021

China ‘demands’ on Taiwan, regional issues seek to constrain US action

by Sarah Zheng (feat. Stephen Nagy), South China Morning Post, July 29, 2021

Canada approved deal to sell $74-million worth of explosives to Saudi Arabia

by Steven Chase (feat. Thomas Juneau), The Globe and Mail, July 27, 2021

Diplomatie Canada-États-unis : qu’est-ce qui fait un bon ambassadeur?

par Olivier Mercure (avec Ferry de Kerckhove), Y a pas deux matins pareils, July 27, 2021

COVID-19: Province shifting vax strategy to reach those without a dose

by Tyler Orton (feat. Heidi Tworek), Business in Vancouver, July 27, 2021

Point Roberts businesses say border situation worst possible outcome

by Nicole Jennings (feat. Laurie Trautman), MyNorthwest, July 23, 2021

Canada offers ‘path to protection’ for Afghan aides

by Aidan Chamandy (feat. Denis Thompson), iPolitics, July 23, 2021

U.S. extends Canada border restrictions through Aug. 21

by Alex Harring (feat. Laurie Trautman), American Military News, July 22, 2021

How Justin Trudeau One-Upped Joe Biden

by Michael Bociurkiw (feat. Colin Robertson), Action News Now, July 20, 2021


LATEST TWEETS

HEAD OFFICE
Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Suite 1800, 150–9th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 3H9

 

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

 

Phone: (613) 288-2529
Email: [email protected]
Web: cgai.ca

 

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

 

© 2002-2021 Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Charitable Registration No. 87982 7913 RR0001

 


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