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Is the CAF as diversified as canada is?

I can't seem to figure out if they are;

a) Bashing the CF for not ensuring that more of our 'multicultural' troops get killed, or

b) Bashing minority communities for not ensuring that more of their 'sons and daughters' are serving and getting killed.

I'm also not sure if I should be angry at someone for using soldier's deaths to advance an utterly stupid (no matter which perspective she's arguing from) agenda or if I should just feel sorry for someone who has nothing better to do then pick fly poop out of pepper.
Piper said:
I can't seem to figure out if they are;

a) Bashing the CF for not ensuring that more of our 'multicultural' troops get killed, or

b) Bashing minority communities for not ensuring that more of their 'sons and daughters' are serving and getting killed.

I'm also not sure if I should be angry at someone for using soldier's deaths to advance an utterly stupid (no matter which perspective she's arguing from) agenda or if I should just feel sorry for someone who has nothing better to do then pick fly poop out of pepper.

That was, roughly, my reaction, too. That's why I decided to reopen this old and somewhat contentious thread: am I the only one confused and somewhat disturbed by this 'response' to our ongoing casualties.

Does it matter, even a bit, if we you 'reflect Canadian society' in terms of ... what: skin color? religion? whatever else? Does it, maybe, matter a bit more that reserve units reflect their local communities? Why? But if you don't 'reflecvt' the nation then are we denying ourselves a significant part of the recruiting base?
E.R. Campbell said:
There is an old Chinese saying - ”You don’t use good iron to make horseshoe nails and you don’t use good men to make soldiers” – that sums up the Confucian disdain for the military craft (and for crafts in general). Some immigrants still have pretty well founded fears of the uniformed services in their former homelands and transfer their suspicions to the uniformed services in the new homes – ask police forces about their problems in recruiting visible minorities. Some immigrant cultures put a real premium on the educational/economic futures if their children and the armed forces is not perceived to be a “high value” profession.

Being a visible minority myself, I can understand the points listed above at least for the generation born in Canada to foreign-born parents.  I would think that after that, many of the "old country" reservations about the military (and everything else) will begin to disappear.  

I've always wondered why the CF hasn't launched an info campaign with their visible-minority members in foreign-language media and events, at least in centres like Toronto/Montreal/Vancouver...this could dispel some of the fears/assumptions associated with militaries in their homelands.

Add:  Another possible reason is that being from an urban centre, some people aren't too keen on moving around the country, especially to small towns.  While this affects all people regardless of culture, etc...a recent immigrant or 1st-generation *insert culture*-Canadian may feel even more out-of-place than most.  I remember telling my parents my choices of posting locations when (if) my course is done, and the first response back was "you'll be the only Chinese guy out there."  I don't see it that way, but I can understand how some might.
The issue isn't related to "visible minorities" only.

I have a friend with whom I am working that came here from Serbia.  He and I are the same age.  Our wives and kids are mirror images of each other. We laugh that I trained as Blue Force (our good guys, their bad guys) while they trained as Red Force (their good guys, our bad guys). I tell him that the difference between him and me is that he got the wrong history books.

A few weeks back we were in the terminal at Dorval waiting for a flight out when we ran into a clutch of young soldiers just out of BMQs at St-Jean and on their way to Battle School at Wainwright.  That got us to talking about soldiers and soldiering and why we joined.

He just couldn't understand why anybody would volunteer to be a soldier.   He originally assumed it must be the money - I disabused of that.  Then it must be the power - I disabused him of that as well.  He couldn't accept a willingness to do good - coming from Serbia that may be understandable (He's death against Clinton but a fan of MacKenzie).

Then it dawned on me - the argument that seemed to clinch it for him.  In his army the worst thing that could happen to a new recruit would be More Army.  (More training, more time in, a military prison).  For those young soldiers out of BMQ the worst thing that could happen would be Less Army - being released and not being allowed to be a soldier.

By the way, this gentleman is the same individual that saw a det from the local arty unit conducting training close to his son's baseball game - 3 soldiers with a radio.   The next thing he knew he was at home trembling.  He had immediately run for the car and got out of there.  His son, whom he loves as much as I do mine, was still at the game.

We have very different experiences and expectations.
Kirkhill- You hit the main reason why we have problems attracting "Naturalized Canadians" or what ever Immigration refers to them as today, on the the head. Most come from countries where there Militaries are slightly more then well armed, poorly disciplined street gangs. They naturally fear every person whom wears a uniform or works for the Govts at all levels.  This of course gets passed down from generation to generation, and will take a very long to filtered out.

As for the Diversity Issue, we the CF have been in the lead of other Govt agencies in attempting to attract more and more minorities, but lets face it if people aren't interested what can we do? The Treasury Board can jump up and down, the media can write what they want, and MPs can demand answers until they're blue in the face, but it won't change a thing. If they won't walk into the CFRCs we can't hire them.
Dimsum said:
Being a visible minority myself, I can understand the points listed above at least for the generation born in Canada to foreign-born parents.  I would think that after that, many of the "old country" reservations about the military (and everything else) will begin to disappear.  

I've always wondered why the CF hasn't launched an info campaign with their visible-minority members in foreign-language media and events, at least in centres like Toronto/Montreal/Vancouver...this could dispel some of the fears/assumptions associated with militaries in their homelands.

Another possible reason is that being from an urban centre, some people aren't too keen on moving around the country, especially to small towns.
Your first comment likely is true as is the experience in the Cadet Organizations.   While the Cadet Organizations are not a recruiting base for the CF at the same time the diversity that is reflected amongst the teenagers is not being translated in anyway as a career.  This link is to a MacLeans article that speaks to the diversity in cadets and how immigrant parents see the program as a path to "Canadianization".   An example is the Irish Fusilliers Cadet Corps in Richmond which has attracted mostly Sikh and and Chinese children. 


'A lot fewer white people'
Once male and pale, the cadet corps is diversifying

It's the sound of Cantonese in the midst of a summer training camp at CFB Borden that signals how much change has come to Canada's cadet forces. Alan Cheung and his cousin Warren Tsang fire remarks back and forth in their native tongue as they fill their water bottles. "We talk all the time to each other in Cantonese," says Cheung. This is the 14-year-old's first year at Blackdown, the summer training camp at CFB Borden near Barrie, Ont., and 15-year-old Tsang's second. The two Torontonians have been busy crossing rope bridges, perfecting their marching drills and teaching other cadets some Cantonese. Ask them about race or feeling different and they shake their heads in bewilderment. In their world, race just isn't a big issue.

Cheung and Tsang are the new faces of Cadets Canada. After decades as a predominantly Caucasian male-dominated institution, the youth organization is evolving with the times and diversifying. With its non-denominational chaplains, religion-appropriate cuisine and anti-harassment counsellors, Cadets Canada is attracting, and retaining, more visible minorities, Aboriginal boys and girls.
Designed for youth from 12 to 18, the cadets, an institution more than a 125 years old, hold weekly meetings throughout the year. Each summer, cadets are selected from local sea, army or air units to participate in two- or six-week training sessions, mainly at military bases, across the country. Their instructors are civilians and reserve officers, but the cadets are not technically part of the Canadian Forces. In fact, officials say, the federally funded program does not focus on recruiting new members for the Forces. Rather, it teaches youth about citizenship, teamwork and physical fitness. Oh, and some rifle skills and marching drills for good measure.
At Borden, nearly 50 per cent of the 2,300 cadets are girls, and approximately 40 per cent come from the ethnically diverse Greater Toronto Area. "We are just a reflection of how Canadian society has changed," says Lt.-Col. Allan Campbell, the camp's commanding officer. Though Cadets Canada doesn't keep official track of visible minorities, numbers have increased noticeably in B.C., Alberta and Ontario, where thriving economies and established ethnic enclaves have attracted thousands of immigrants. These three provinces account for 80 per cent of Cadets Canada's growth, from 48,600 in 1995 to 54,700 in 2004.
Although Richmond, B.C.'s cadets go by the name Irish Fusiliers, you'd be hard-pressed to find an Irishman among them. Based in a Chinese-dominated area, the unit is more than 80-per-cent Asian. It's led by Maj. Gary Law, a Chinese-Canadian reserve officer who injects cultural lessons into regular cadet programming. His cadets not only learn first aid, drill and marksmanship, but they also visit Sikh temples and join Chinese New Year festivities. "We want to teach them to respect and interact with each other," says Law.
Lt.-Cmdr. Gerry Pash, a spokesperson for the cadet program in British Columbia, says it offers immigrant families an opportunity to become part of Canadian society and tradition. "Some parents see it as a way to 'Canadianize' their children," he says. Officer Cadet Saad Syed, a 19-year-old Pakistani-born Canadian, agrees. A former cadet and now an engineering student at Ryerson University in Toronto, Syed is a member of the Cadets Instructors Cadre that supervises and teaches youngsters. Syed says the organization helps many first-generation Canadians and new arrivals feel more comfortable in their new country. "It gives cadets a sense of belonging, confidence and a chance to make friends," he says.
It is not just visible-minority immigrants who are helping fuel diversity in the cadet ranks. Increased interest from Aboriginal communities is also drawing more native youth into Cadets Canada. Taylia Robson, 14, from Owen Sound, Ont., and Amanda Montreuil, 13, from Hamilton, for instance, are in their second year at Blackdown camp, where they have become friends. "You get a lot of opportunities here," says Robson, explaining why she joined up.
It's the same in Terrace, B.C., where 35 of the 40 air cadets are from local Tsimshian tribes. Melodie Johnson, a cultural teacher with the Kitsumkalum band, says Aboriginal youth get a lot of experiences with the cadets they wouldn't get anywhere else. "They are not always exposed to cultural learning at home," says Johnson, who designs the cultural programming for the Terrace air cadet unit. "We try to teach them about our way of life." Students learn the histories of their bands, about the matriarchal nature of Aboriginal societies and what their Indian names mean.
"For years, native people were shunted off into a corner because no one promoted the cadet program to them," says Capt. Ken MacKenzie, head of the Terrace unit. "And there was also a reluctance on their part to get involved with organizations outside their culture." But that's changing. By adopting native culture into the regular cadet programming, MacKenzie says, the Terrace cadets have succeeded in slowly bringing native groups into the fold.
Multiculturalism aside, the cadets have also become more gender-balanced over the last three decades. Anywhere you look at the Blackdown camp, you see young women marching, climbing over rope bridges, learning first aid and doing a host of activities associated with the program. Capt. Stephen Roberts, 59, says this level of female participation couldn't have happened without a change in Canadian values. "When I was a cadet almost 50 years ago, I didn't see any females," says Roberts, the cadets' spokesman at Borden. "Women now have more freedom to do what they want, and that is why you are seeing more of them in the military, flying commercial jets, becoming firefighters."
For 14-year-old Amy Kalita, there's no mystery about what draws girls like her to the cadets -- the adventure of rock climbing, rappelling and canoeing. On this day, Kalita, a two-year Borden veteran from West Lorne, Ont., has been out in the sun for more than two hours building a raft with rope, logs and plastic barrels. "It's a lot of fun," she says. "My friends are jealous when I tell them what I do at camp." This kind of word-of-mouth advertising has been invaluable to Cadets Canada, says Roberts. "We have a lot of girls who learn about the program from their girlfriends." Add some cadet brochures with pictures of smiling women performing CPR, aiming a rifle and skiing, and you get a winning formula, he says.
Still, Michelle-Ann Hall, a 17-year-old warrant officer from Brampton, Ont., is somewhat of a rarity at this camp. Not only is she a squadron leader, she's also female and black. Hall says she has noticed tremendous change in her five years with the cadets. "My group is more dominated by East Asians and blacks," she says. "There are a lot fewer white people than there used to be." Hall is also seeing more women in the senior ranks of the cadets. Asked if she has encountered any problems as a minority woman, she shakes her head. "This is a merit-based system," she affirms.
As for Cheung and Tsang, the question of diversity doesn't seem to matter in this world where everyone dresses in the same faded green cargo pants and T-shirts, eats in the same mess halls, and sweats under the same hot sun. What matters, Cheung says, is that "everyone has been nice."
E.R. Campbell said:
And yes, I know it is a very old thread. I, personally, prefer to resurrect old threads that have relevant details rather than just start a new one.

..and as one who spends hours merging threads I thank you and all those that do the same.
Now back to your regular scheduled topic.
I wonder if Christie Blatchford may have been reading this thread; in any event, in a 1 Jan 09 column, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail web site, she picks up the letter that caught my eye and on tonykeene’s observations that:

• The regular force recruiting base is not Canada as a whole but rather, is mainly in small town and rural Canada; and

• Reserve units in major urban centres like Toronto are more reflective of the diverse urban population.

Canada's face in Afghanistan doesn't fully show its diversity

Globe and Mail

January 1, 2009 at 7:48 AM EST

It's a simple enough question, posed in a note this week from a reader who asked it first in a recent letter to the editor of the Vancouver Sun, which chose not to run it.

"It was heartbreaking in the Dec. 6 Sun to see the faces - so young, once so alive - of the 100 Canadians who have given their lives for their country, fighting in Afghanistan," he wrote.

"If a picture of 100 Canadians was taken today, you could count on it being politically correct, with our multiculturalism front and centre. But our multiculturalism was nowhere to be seen in the photos of our fallen.

"Does anybody have an answer for this?"

Since he first wrote the letter, six more Canadians have died in service to Canada, the bodies of the three most recent casualties - Private Michael Freeman of the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Canadian Regiment; Sergeant Gregory John Kruse, from 2 Combat Engineer Regiment, and Warrant Officer Gaétan Roberge, a Van Doo attached to the 2nd Battalion, The Irish Regiment of Canada - arriving back in Canada only two days ago.

These three have much in common with their fellow fallen. They were killed, as so many others have been, by an improvised explosive device, or IED. They were young; the average age of the Canadian soldier killed in Kandahar is 28.6 years.

And they were white men, as were all but five of the 106 Canadian soldiers who have died in Afghanistan - the exceptions (though I suspect they might have quarrelled with such a distinction and may not have "self-identified" as such) Trooper Michael Hayakaze, a Japanese-Canadian; WO Hani Massouh, who was Egyptian by birth though raised in Canada and an experienced veteran of the Canadian Forces; two black Canadians, Pte. Mark Graham and Corporal Ainsworth Dyer, and one woman, Captain Nichola Goddard.

So back to my reader's observation, right on the money, that virtually any other sampling of 100 Canadians - certainly any government poster and almost any advertisement - would include black, brown, aboriginal and female faces in ostensible mirror image of how they occur in the population at large, and his question about the lack of same among the Canadian war dead, or, as he put it in his note to me, why "a certain segment of our population is doing the heavy lifting?"

Part of the answer, and this is what I wrote the reader, is that it usually takes new immigrants - and as the 2006 census reports, fully 75 per cent of the immigrants who arrived in Canada between 2001 and 2006 belonged to a visible minority group - a couple of generations before soldiering is seen as a respectable career and/or a couple of generations before immigrant children feel liberated enough to defy their parents' wishes. Many Canadian immigrants hail from countries where the military and policing are carried out by thugs in uniform; it takes time for a family to understand that in this country, soldiering is an honourable profession.

Certainly, the military has attempted to increase representation by women, visible minorities and aboriginal people and has set itself noble goals - recruiting objectives of 28 per cent, 9 per cent and 3 per cent respectively so as to achieve a fix - which it then fails to reach. The most recent information I can find (and it may be that I am merely inept at searching the National Defence website) dates to 2000, and shows that over all, women make up about 15 per cent of Forces members, visible minorities and aboriginal Canadians less than 5 per cent each. The site is chock-a-block with stern reprimands that the "snail-like pace toward equitable representation" must be remedied.

But among all the colour-coded charts I saw, one hints at what I think is the more accurate answer. This shows that among reserve units, visible minority and female representation is almost 10 and 20 per cent respectively. That also accords with my anecdotal observation that the Toronto reserve units really reflect the city's diversity, particularly among army cadets, where, as I recall it from seeing the 48th Highlanders on parade, there are more black and brown faces than white.

And that's where the 2006 Statistics Canada census data really tell the tale.

Yes, Canada is a country of immigrants. Yes, the visible minority population is five-million-plus and growing fast. Yes, Statscan predicts that if current trends continue, visible minorities will account for about one-fifth of the total population by 2017. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

But take the province of Ontario, for instance, which has 2,476,565 visible-minority citizens. Almost half of them - 46 per cent - are in Toronto. The other 1.5 million or so folks are spread out across the enormous province, mostly in urban areas. In Peterborough, which has lost two native sons to Afghanistan, the visible minority population is 2.4 per cent. In Sarnia, it is about 3.4 per cent.

It's much the same in British Columbia, where for the first time in the 2006 census, visible minorities passed the one million mark, accounting for almost a quarter of the population of the province - the highest percentage for any province or territory.

But guess what? Almost 87 per cent of those visible minorities live in one urban area - Vancouver.

What I think this really means, and how it goes some distance to explaining the white maleness of Canadian casualties, is what a soldier friend said when I posed to him my reader's question: "While Canada has a good-sized immigrant population," he said, "it is not nearly as vast as people like to let the CBC delude them into thinking ... I think the military is a fairly solid representation of the actual multicultural Canada.

"It's sort of like the difference between the French Resistance of romantic memory and the actual, substantially smaller French Resistance."

In other words, this divide is less one about white and non-white faces. It is rather - as with many of the other divides in the country - an urban-rural or a city-small town one. I would have guessed, for instance, that the sons of Atlantic Canada accounted for more than its share of the dead, yet the greatest number of the fallen, by far, come from Ontario - 32 of them, only two of whom were Toronto boys. It is the small towns of Ontario - from Keswick, Kenora, Hamilton, Napanee, Orangeville, Niagara Falls - which have suffered so grievously.

Our vision of our country's makeup is skewed, no doubt bolstered by years of ethnically unbalanced government propaganda and advertising posters. It turns out our fallen sons, and one daughter, reflect Canada as, outside the major cities, she remains.

And they have really only one ethnicity, as my soldier pal says - they want to serve.


That sums it up pretty well, doesn’t it?

And they have really only one ethnicity, as my soldier pal says - they want to serve.

Couldn't say it any better Edward - thanks for sharing
Ms Blatchford has looked at it from one angle.  But taking the deaths of our soldiers as a sampling of the CF's makeup may be a little off.

Look at it by trade - Of the 106 that have died, I count 72 Infantrymen.  34 are members of other trades, and of these 21 are from the other 3 Combat Arms (10 Armour, 5 Artillery, and 6 Engineer).  This leaves 13 from supporting trades.

I have no information for the wounded, but I can only assume that the ratios are probably similar.  This means roughly 75% of friendly KIA are from the Infantry while roughly 90% are from the Combat Arms.  These make sense due to the nature of this conflict.

I only bring this up to show that casualties are coming from only a part of the CF.  Making guesses about the CF as a whole from this is probably erroneous.
Infanteer.. have you tried to do stats on PPCLI, RCR, R22R ???

not a purdy picture

(though I wouldn't try to draw conclusions from that)
I would be careful about drawing conclusions from that as well.

Different Regiments were there at different times.  Time and space mean alot - what else was going on in theater/the world.  What was going on in RC South.  What kind of gear we had on the ground.  Command personalities, both at unit and formation level.  Time of year (summer seems to be a campaign season, although this theory is now being questioned).  And let's not forget the enemy has a vote as well.  The operational outlook and plans of the Taliban and other insurgent forces was most likely different in the summer of 2006 then in the winter of 2009.

I wouldn't take that comparison anywhere....
- Hard for young people to join an Army when they are not really sure where their loyalties are.  Easy to hold two citizenships at once - not easy to be in two armies at once.

- As long as Canada remains a 'passport of convenience' for those who merely want to escape prosecution in their homelands when times are tough, we will not be able to harness the full military potential of our new citizens.

- Sad to say, the notion of blanket dual citizenship is obsolete.  It should be on a case by case basis, country by country.  In other words, as soon as another given country accepts me as a citizen, my Canadian citizenship goes up for review.  That - plus exit controls and stronger residency requirements - should cut out a lot of the plastic Canadians. 
T'was my point.... the stats can make people start thinking in a whole bunch of different directions BUT, in the end, none of them mean much.
... which are lies hidden in number games....
It is possible that the home town is more significant than the heritage.  Consider young people coming from the Toronto or Montreal area where authority of any type is suspect and the military is regularly flailed by most of the media and also, sadly, by the school system.  There is also very little respect for our own nation  :cdn:either encouraged or taught.  Instead they teach a 'what's in it for me' and the 'system' is out to get you kind of philosophy.  If Che and Yassar and others of that ilk are the heros, what chance to those kids have of discovering a Buzz Beurling and trying to emulate him?  In other words, in response to both Christie and the originator of this stream, I maintain that the CF reflects our educational background and home city (in Canada) rather than our ethnic heritage.
Looking into the future, from the West Coast: many of Greater Vancouver's Sea Cadet (and, I'd assume, Army and Air...) units are incredibly minority-heavy (generally Chinese).

Whether or not the current generation of Chinese cadets join Discovery and the reserve regiments of the Lower Mainland in any numbers, they still represent future parents less likely to view "uniformed service" with the same Confucian disdain and PRC-induced loathing as their parents. Wait a few more decades: many of Canada's visible minority communities have really only been in-country in any sort of force for a couple generations - I'm thinking especially of Chinese on the West Coast, and Haitians and others of African and Caribbean descent in the East.