In these “very dangerous times” the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is a “completely broken institution” on the brink of hitting an alarming personnel low, warns retired Lt.-Col. David Redman.
“We’re at 34,000 and that will be dropping to 31,000 by Christmas, because people are leaving the Armed Forces as stated by military insiders. They are saying the army, the navy, the air force and all the headquarters combined equal 34,000. That’s all we’ve got,” Redman told the Western Standard.
If that’s so, it’s a stunning discrepancy from the Department of National Defence (DND) report before cabinet in June that listed 63,477 regular force members.
However, Redman maintained, based on the information he’s heard, that in terms of operational readiness, the DND “number is completely inaccurate.”
Redman served in uniform 27 years through peace, war and peacekeeping operations. The former head of Alberta’s Emergency Management Agency served as an emergency manager for 13 years in Canada and internationally.
“How do I explain the difference? The government has repeatedly said for the last six months they’re 10,000 under strength and it’s dropping. They’ve also constantly said they’re having a tremendous difficulty recruiting. The intake isn’t matching the retirement and release.”
Recruitment levels across the board fell 35% last year in regular and reserve forces.
Redman isn’t the first to question whether CAF official member numbers accurately reflect the number of members reporting for duty.
Retired Lt. Gen. Michel Maisonneuve, who was widely attacked for un-woke comments made as he was receiving the Vimy Award last year, comments, “I would dare say it’s probably worse than we think but of course our politicians don’t want people to know that. The government has not acknowledged that our military is in a terrible state.”
The recent insider claims could also align with what Rick Hillier, former chief of the defence staff (2005-2008,) says insiders told him about regular force numbers last October. “I think the continued dropping in numbers is a foregone conclusion. People are leaving and recruiting is very, very slow.”
That’s when Chief of the Defence Staff Wayne Eyre said the 70,000-force military is in “trouble” because it was down 10,000 regular force soldiers. At the time, Hillier told Global News the situation was far more serious than brass admitted. “Instead of being at 70,000 people, the Canadian Forces are operating probably somewhere at about 45,000 people. And out of that, there are a significant percentage of them who are not operationally deployable or capable,” said Hillier.
(Col. David Redman testifies before the Standing Committee on National Defence, in October 2022.)
More have since retired. The CAF also lost many skilled members who released rather than submit to mandatory COVID-19 vaccines. Add abysmal recruitment efforts to that and what’s clear is the CAF in woefully undermanned.
Meanwhile, the “underfunded and decimated” Reserve Force struggles to fulfill their role to augment the regular force.
“Canadians don’t know they don’t have a Canadian Armed Forces. It will take a decade, if we start today, to rebuild an Armed Forces for Canada,” said Redman.
But global threats on numerous fronts are immediate.
“It has never been a more dangerous period in history. We live in very dangerous times,” said Redman.
Despite that, the left’s climate zealots push to shift much of the CAF’s role as a defender of the sovereignty of Canada and its allies to a climate warrior force.
“I’ve never been a conspiracy theorist, but at this point in time this Liberal government — and I mean him (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) and his complete inner circle, have shown their disdain for our country.”
“We are sitting here waiting for another army to either help us or take us over.”
So why should Canadians care about the military’s dwindling numbers?
Foreign and domestic threats to national security. Three coastlines to defend. A world in turmoil with aggressors getting bolder and inching closer. And allies alienated.
“I think China is very close to taking clear action. Russia is already fully engaged. Iran. The whole BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa grouping of economies) movement, the destabilization of Western democracies, the COVID crisis — we have set ourselves up,” said Redman.
The Liberal government hasn’t pulled its weight with our allies is viewed as a “parasite” rather than a “partner.”
“There’s no ally in the world right now that would take Canada seriously when it comes to national defence or national security.”
But Canada, a vast country with three coastlines, can’t stand alone.
“I’d never expect the Canadian Forces to be able to defend Canada on its own. That means we must invest in alliances.”
NORAD and NATO have both repeatedly chastised Canada for failing to contribute its 2% GDP share to defence.
“And the Liberals, through strange calculations, said we’re spending 1.4%. We’re not, not by the NATO standards.”
The current military budget is $26.5 billion. But $60 billion is needed to meet NATO’s requirement by 2025.
Also, Canada was excluded from the security pact between Australia, Britain and the US known as AUKUS.
“Why? If you don’t show you are at least a bit seriously to meet obligations, they will simply dump you.”
Redman also pointed to foreign inference in Canadian elections.
“China has no respect for us. They laugh at us. They know we don’t take our national security seriously. They’re trying the encircle the US. They’re in all the Caribbean countries. They control the governments there. And now they are perceived to be controlling our government.”
National security is a “missing entity in the Liberal government’s policy platform.” But Redman said it’s also “absent in the Conservatives.”
“Nobody in this government has taken it seriously. If it’s not an indigenous issue or a cultural issue they don’t care. Even when you talk to the indigenous people, this government doesn’t care about them either. It’s rhetoric.”
“I believe no political party in Canada has discussed internally defining Canada’s national interests. Until one does, then we as a nation will wander. National security then has no anchor to be grounded to.”
There has not been a White Paper on Defence since 1994. The White Papers in 1965, 1971 and 1994 “were all done by Liberal Governments trying to downsize or eliminate the military.”
But climate change, well, that gets a lot of attention.
“The left wants a dedicated force to combat climate change,” said Redman, who was asked by the Conservatives to testify on this issue before the Standing Committee on National Defence last October
“The role of the Canadian Forces is not to do emergency management. The province’s job is to do emergency management. But the force of last resort, being the Canadian Forces, we are proud always as soldiers to protect our citizens in fires, floods, tornados, and terrorism.”
“The people of Canada shouldn’t be looking at the Armed Forces to respond to fires, floods, tornadoes, and emergencies. They should be looking at the Armed Forces to defend our sovereignty. We have no capability of working with our allies to defend our coastlines, including the Artic.”
Redman said Canada needs an Armed Forces “designated and trained to fight alone and to fight with our allies on land, sea and air” to protect sovereignty. And as a “side benefit you get response to emergency management responsibilities.”
But the Liberals are focused on climate change and repeatedly pledge to strive for an inclusive military culture.
Woke rules allowing face tattoos, hair dyed any colour and worn any length, plus a decision last December to let landed immigrants join, aren’t enticing enough people to sign up.
In fact, a recent Department of National Defence report Evaluation of Ready Air And Space Forces said the 12,219-member Royal Canadian Air Force “is experiencing a personnel crisis linked to both recruitment and retention.”
“Who would want to join this disaster when it’s more important to talk about gender pronouns in the Canadian army rather than determine whether or not you can shoot a rifle?” said Redman