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News of Military interest

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« on: June 08, 2009, 09:27:56 am »

Historically speaking, the 'civilianization' began earlier than 1972.  It began with Armed Forced Integration in 1965 when MND Paul Hellyer sought to impose "efficiency" by combining functions and eliminating what he could then designate as excesses.  Although there were many instances of the fallacy, the most glaring example happened with the military engineers.  Prior to that there were two general types of Sappers, camp and field, with members of the RCE being posted between them.   In essence, a young Sapper would start in an engineer field squadron, learn the ropes, go through the training and promotion cycle and at some point he'd be given a break by serving a tour at a static base to do the garrison's electrical, plumbing, minor construction etc., and then be posted back to a field squadron.  Under Hellyer's scheme the camp enginer function was handed over to civilians, with the inevitable result.  I had occasion to meet with the president of the civilian workers union in Ottawa a decade or so later and asked him what had become of his membership in the immediate post-Hellyer period and his answer, of course, was that it had increased by precisely the number of military camp engineers that had been cut by Hellyer.  The difference was that where the military engineer functioned exactly the same way as any other soldier -- go where you're sent to do what you're told 24/7 -- the new camp engineer worked under a union contract, with all the benefits that entailed and the "efficiancy" now required three civilians (twenty-four hours divided by three shifts since the union doesn't recognize 24/7) people to do what one Sapper had done.  By 1972 that had been reinforced by the Unification Act of 1968 and the by-then entrenched merger of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces but it had its genesis five years earlier.  aldi
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