Why Does Canada Have an Army?

If the USA invades it they are going to lose for sure. And if another country invades it they know the USA will come to their aid. So why bother wasting money on armed forces? Couldn’t they get by with a small national guard type for internal matters?

Yes they could get by, but having a military serves many other purposes beyond defense of the homeland.

First and most importantly politically is that it creates a massive number of jobs for unskilled and generaly unemployable people. Second, it fuels the economy by creating jobs, and by propping up cities in which bases are located. Third, it makes other countries very happy when your willing to contribute men and equipment to UN/NATO joint forces. Kinda unfair to get tons of protection when your incapable of offering anything, but verbiage. There are lots more reasons, but you get the point.

Canada has, proportional to its population, the same military stregth as the U.S. They have nuclear weapons technology, though I’m not sure if they have produced any bombs. Canada was a large part of World War II (1/5 of the normandy invasion force, which means that they had twice as many D-day soldiers per-capta than the U.S.). While Canada has not, since 1814 or so, had to defend its territorial integrity, that is FAR from the only reason to support an armed forces. Like it or not, we live in a global economy, and in order to maintain economic buoyancy in the late 20th century, you need to think globally in all of your nation’s endeavours, including militarily. It is neither unusual nor impractical for Canada to have a strong army.

Jason R Remy

“No amount of legislation can solve America’s problems.”
– Jimmy Carter (1980)

Unskilled or otherwise unemployable people?

You must be thinking of Napoleon’s army. The modern armed forces generally require high school diplomas, and most jobs in the military are technical specializations that require hard work and extensive training. A growing number of military specializations require university degrees or extensive technical training (radar techs, pilots, airframe mechanics, air traffic controllers, etc.). Even the ‘grunts’ or infantry have extensive technical training because of the high-tech nature of the weaponry they have to use, and would probably rate at least ‘journeyman’ in any civilian job.

I used to fly on a military base, and I live several blocks from one of the largest bases in Canada. As a result, I know many, many military people. NOT ONE could be described as being either unskilled or unemployable.

As for why Canada has a military, that’s easy. It’s to provide for the common defense. In order to receive protection from the U.S. and other countries, we are required to do our part. During the cold war, Canada was strategically important because Soviet Bombers would pass over Canada on the way to the U.S. Thus we had the DEW line as a contribution to NORAD, huge military airfields that could stage B-52’s on their way to the U.S.S.R, etc. The Canadian Navy at one time was quite large, and our airforce did a lot of patrolling of northern waters for Soviet submarines. Currently, the Canadian Forces do a lot of peacekeeping and humanitarian work, and the military here is responsible for drug interdiction, protection of international limits for fishing, etc. In the U.S., the Coast Guard does a lot of this work, but Canada’s Coast Guard is not an armed service.
Canada’s military also does a lot of domestic search-and-rescue (not insignificant in a country as sparsely populated as Canada).

Part of our requirement for being involved in NATO means that we have to keep a large force ready for overseas deployment. Canada flew F-18’s and had two destroyers in the Gulf War, and we always have large contingents of peacekeeping forces in various areas of the world (several friends of mine are currently in Bosnia on peacekeeping missions).

Canada has actually had quite a large military in the past, and we played a large role in WWII (1.1 million Canadians served). At the time, Canada also had a large aerospace industry, and manufactured many bombers and fighter aircraft. The Avro company was a world leader in aviation until the 1960’s. (For that matter, Canada once again has one of the largest aerospace industries in the world, I believe it is 2nd or 3rd largest).

You guys down south might think of us as Mexico North, but Canada is actually pretty strong militarily. We have 1600 pilots, many squadrons of aircraft, and over 90,000 personnel.

Moral: Stay away from our beer.

God damn it.

No they don’t, neither the US or Canada’s. I am going to guess that since we don’t no other country could possibly. Now your misrepresenting what I said. By no means did I imply that the entire military is unemployable and unskilled, but that is where you go if you are. They take the public service of training these people in exchange for years of service. If you have no skills they will put him in the lowest ranking position, and train him to read etc.

IT seems to me that the last time Canada and the US were on different sides of a conflict Washington was burned to the ground.

Member posted 08-18-1999 01:04 AM


God dammit, Omniscient, you are right. Well, the military does prefer a high school diploma. When I joined my recruiter insisted that I take the GED (I was kicked out of high school towards the end of my senior year for having a ‘bad attitude’). Also, you must pass an armed forces entrance examination. It really depends on how the military is faring. If the military is going through a popular stage, they will likely snub drop outs. When only desperados, losers and fellows given the choice of jail time or green fatigues seem to want to join up they will not only blow off the high school diploma–they will (or used to) fudge their own examination for you. We were severely hung over when we took the test and must have passed somehow, but the poor country boy sitting next to me–sweating and scratching his head during the entire test–was sent back to the farm.

I did a bit more research into the Canadian Forces, and you’re right. They don’t *require a high school diploma for non-officer positions. However, depending on the number of applicants for a specific job posting, that’s one of the first things that will get you disqualified.

When I thought about joining the forces in the 80’s, I was told that a diploma was mandatory. That’s probably because they had far more applicants than jobs at the time.

The point being is any attack on Canada will HAVE to be defended by the USA, due to the long border etc.

Thus if Canada said tomorrow, we aren’t having any armed forces the USA would have to come up with plans to defend it. If the USA invaded Canada it would lose, simple.

Canada only needs then a simple home or national guard for internal problem. Which are much less than the USA.

Lastly, the money used for Canada’s military could be spent on the private sector to produce better jobs and more industry. No matter how many jobs the military produces the private sector can do better. Remember all the talk in the USA about the peace factor after the cold war ended and all the military bases that shut down.

Monty, your link only confirmed what Omni said. Click the FAQ and read the requirements. Still, at least during the 80s, I’d say ‘generally required’ is closer to the truth.

AFAIK Germany has a mandatory military service or other social work (2 years?) requirement. I believe Israel has mandatory military duty for everybody. During the 70s our ranks were pretty ragged compared to the German troops. I have always thought that the draft made for a better military (not that I would want to be drafted) because it mixed up the ranks better. As in Catch 22, there are times when only crazy people would want to be in the military; the draft keeps things in balance—a fair draft that is.

I always wondered how Richard Gere got into flight school in An Officer and a Gentleman.

Damn, I get called a liar (or idiot depending on your perspective) and before I realize it, and therefore get to act all indignant and throw facts in their faces, you guys back me up. Well thanks i guess, I was looking forward to acting indignant. :slight_smile:

Its all is relative, and the less qualified you are the lower your rank and freedom of choice, but eventually they’ll take anyone.

Markxxx, yes the USA would do anything and everything to protect Canada’s borders, but if you chose to disolve the military and depend on us when not absolutely necessary you would do severe damage to the nations relationship. In turn the USA would make restictions and use our economic power to make life quite miserable for you, the USA and Canada are quite dependant on one another, if one goes into a depression so does the other, and if one gets pissed at the other it hurts both. The US however can afford the strain, Canada can’t.

Also, the country can’t just say hey, we’ll pour money into the private sector and make jobs. It doesn’t work that way. The only reliable way to make jobs is to create work. The only way to really do this is militarily. The military acts as a bit of a saftey net from depression too. The private sector increases jobs when there is a demand (supply/demand), a surplus of money isn’t going to cause more jobs, just raise salaries. The economic effect of maintaining a military is far to complicated to explain (not that I realy could anyways), but rest assured without one, unemployment would sky rocket and cause a major depression.

      • X-File No. 374F.559-22R: Canada is building up its military in order to invade Greenland.

-Don’t say I told you so- MC

I hope I can truly answer the question of “why does canada have a military”?
here is why…

To go in and dig out toronto after a couple inches of snow…

oops, fell off my chair laughing.See I am from the maritimes, where unless you cant see the tops of the houses, it really hasnt stormed yet and (holding my sides) a couple of winters ago, the m m mayor…oh god…giggle, giggle…hhhhad to call in the a a army t t to dig out the c c city…
ooooooh I hurt!

on a serious note though, they also did some search and rescue of swiss air off peggy’s cove, and helped out the people of Quebec after the terrible ice storm a few years back. We also have the boatloads of immigrants dropping on our shores, illegal drug smuggling, all kinds of stuff for them to do.and those boys look FINE in those uniforms!!

Or, is it to save Nell from Snidley Whiplash?

Beg to differ about the uniforms… IMHO, the American military looks much more fetching in uniform than ours. Parking commissionaires look smarter in uniform than our soldiers.

But then, this is coming from me, who believe that all armies and guerrilla units should be taken off of “kill people” duty and put on “make porn movies” duty. Yeah!

Because they’re going to invade the US! That’s why 90% of them live within 100 miles of the US border. They’re waiting for the Y2K bug to immobilize the US, then they’ll come marching in. And us 'merkins will be blotto on cheap Canadian beer and whiskey, while the subliminal messages that have been implanted in our minds via shows like “Star Trek” & “Spin City” will make us mindless zombies that will offer no resistance to the horde from the north.

you wanna talk handsome…mounties.
'nuff said.

Adam says:

Yes, and if I recall, Canada was still ruled by Britain at the time, whom we’d already booted out. Couldn’t really call it the Canada we all know and love today, could you?

…and speaking of Canadian WWI military, don’t forget who shot down the legendary Red Baron-it was Roy Brown…a Canadian

(at least I’m pretty sure that was his name)