Not a Single Youth for Imperialist War
– Alexandre Cubaynes –
Youth in the forefront of opposition to imperialist war in the years since 9/11, Windsor, March 19, 2004.
Besides the hundreds of thousands of people killed as a result of U.S. wars of aggression and occupation in which Canada has also participated, many young people have been killed and wounded and suffer post-traumatic stress as a result of crimes committed in Afghanistan and other countries. They are also victimized by the lack of care upon their return home. Youth for Democratic Renewal (YDR) is involving young people to look at the Canadian government’s continued efforts to mobilize youth for imperialist wars, war preparations and other provocative activities at the national and international level. YDR also opposes the militarization of cultural life and the education system in myriad ways and participates in antiwar activities to Make Canada a Zone for Peace.
YDR delivered a report at a recent Zoom organized by the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) on the occasion of the anniversary of 9/11, the “War on Terror” and its repercussions. It addressed the ongoing attempts of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to recruit the youth of Canada and Quebec to join the military through the Cadet Program. From the end of elementary school and in the early stages of high school, children and adolescents and their families are targeted by the army’s recruiting agents, YDR pointed out. It explained:
The Cadet Program is a national, community-based program funded by the Department of National Defence in partnership with three civilian organizations: the Navy League of Canada, the Army Cadet League of Canada and the Air Cadet League of Canada.
The program, one of the oldest in the country, was established in 1862 and includes the following organizations:
– Royal Canadian Sea Cadets
– Royal Canadian Army Cadets
– Royal Canadian Air Cadets
The Cadet Program says it is designed to develop leadership and citizenship skills in youth, promote physical fitness, and foster an interest in the sea, land and air activities of the Canadian Forces. While it does these things, the aim of the armed forces is covered up. It is disinformation to divert attention from Canada’s role in U.S. war preparations and participation in aggressive wars and occupations and other activities harmful to the cause of peace, freedom and democracy, in the name of high ideals, including alleged protection for human rights, democracy, freedom and peace.
The Department of National Defence (DND) and the CAF cover the costs of cadets (including uniforms and travel). Cadet Leagues require support from the local community to meet their obligations for accommodation, educational materials and program development, support that is not available from any other source. For this reason, parents and cadets are encouraged to participate in and contribute to fundraisers organized by the local sponsoring component of the Leagues.
Any legal resident of Canada, between the ages of 12 and 18, can join the Cadets.
The Army tells us the program focuses on life skills that can be used by cadets in whatever profession they choose and that cadets are NOT members of the CAF and are not expected to enlist in the military. YDR encourages the youth to draw their own conclusions about the sincerity of this statement because cadets are offered lucrative positions and career opportunities in the military which are made attractive to poor families and youth with a spirit of adventure.
In 2017, there were 53,203 cadets across Canada in 1,113 cadet corps and squadrons:
Total number of Sea Cadets: 7,825
Total number of Army Cadets: 18,376
Total number of Air Cadets: 27,002
Girls were finally allowed to join cadets in 1975 and now represent 31.9 per cent of all cadets in Canada. The participation rate for girls is highest among Sea Cadets, where it is 40.2 per cent. Girls represent 30.8 per cent of Army Cadets and 30.3 per cent of Air Cadets.
As the war in Afghanistan intensified, the Army implemented a massive public relations campaign: Operation Connect. To offset the departure of baby boomers from the military and fill offensive mandates, 10,000 new military personnel per year were sought between 2007 and 2012. This objective has not been lowered. In this context, the then-Commander of the Canadian Forces, General Rick Hillier, ordered all members of the military to actively participate in the youth recruitment process.
In order to meet these ambitious recruiting goals, it is imperative for the military to expand its recruiting pool. The cadet movement is an integral part of this charm offensive. War creates an unparalleled need for manpower and any means to overcome that shortage are considered acceptable and will be taken.
For poor families, it is obviously an interesting proposition since it is a way for their children to participate in weekly activities at summer camps, weekend camps, with financial allowances and trips across Canada, Europe, etc.
Cadets are offered financially attractive career prospects directly by the army.
According to the military:
“Whether you’re thinking of going to college, university or getting your post-grad degree, the CAF can help you get there with one of our six paid education programs. If you qualify, the CAF will pay 100 per cent of your school fees, including your tuition, books and academic equipment! Meanwhile, you’ll earn a competitive annual salary and an excellent benefits package including health, dental, vision care and much more.
“After you graduate from one of our paid education programs, you will be guaranteed a job in your field with the CAF. Your salary will continue to increase through professional experience and promotions. Each program requires two months of service for every month of paid education. For more information about the service commitment, or about any of our paid education plans, visit our Help Centre or explore our new paid education booklet.”
In an effort to train more French-speaking medical officers, the CAF struck agreements with the four medical faculties that offer medical training in French in Quebec (Université de Sherbrooke, Université Laval, Université de Montréal and McGill University – Outaouais campus) regarding a specific contingent (four spots) subsidized by the CAF.
Canada, the warmonger, needs more and more soldiers to meet its NATO and other commitments around the world where foreign militaries have no business interfering in the internal affairs of other countries or enforcing sanctions, which are acts of war, in the name of high ideals and the like.
YDR points out that current generations of young people born after the fall of the Soviet Union and the division of the world into two camps during the Cold War, are not infected with Cold War anti-communist propaganda. They are characterized by their sentiments for peace in the world and protection of the natural and social environment for the benefit of the peoples of the world, not narrow private interests.
“We do not play their game. Every day, our efforts to raise awareness, inform and mobilize seek to ensure that young people will not be mobilized for imperialist war, will not be used as cannon fodder for the hegemonic wars of the oligarchs and their governments or to replace funding for social programs and civilian search and rescue operations and the like.”
YDR presented a list of CAF operations which it pointed out are worthy of investigation. Even though this is the only publicly available list, it demonstrates an obvious urgent need of the armed forces to recruit new soldiers on a broad scale.
About the myriad operations and activities in which CAF is engaged, YDR points out:
“Canada must not participate in the imperialist war preparations of the United States and must also defend its sovereignty in a meaningful way. The U.S. imperialists must not be permitted to exercise command and control over Canada’s airspace, land, water, government and military assets.
“The slogan of the youth is: Not a Single Youth for Imperialist War! Make Canada a Zone for Peace! Our objective is to establish an anti-war government so that Canada will be a factor of peace and not of predatory war. An anti-war government will withdraw Canada from NATO and NORAD and from aggressive military organizations and arrangements, and will end interference in the affairs of sovereign countries. An anti-war government will work to end the displacement of peoples that is the result of wars of aggression and occupation and provide humanitarian aid to refugees and victims of natural disasters.”
YDR calls on the youth to create their own training camps to create and build projects which humanize the natural and social environment and provide them with the skills they require to live productive confident lives in a manner which opens society’s path to progress.