Military budget cuts mean cadets without parkas, asked to swap used uniforms

Cadets say the cuts “came from left field”


OTTAWA – Military budget cuts are leaving cadets out in the cold, with a freeze on the purchase of parkas just as winter kicks in.

A $2-million chop to the outfitting budget also means some of Canada’s 53,000 cadets will have to recycle and swap used uniforms, and to forgo military-issue gym gear.

The clothing crunch comes as the Canadian Forces are being ask to tuck and trim everywhere to help the Harper government slay the federal deficit by 2015.

Canada’s cadets started the year with a $13-million budget for outfits but in the last few weeks were told to give back $2 million.

Expensive parkas were the first item of kit to be banned, even as a post-holiday surge of recruits is expected in January.

Cadets are being told to acquire their own parkas, as well as their own gym shorts, T-shirts and other workout clothing.

“Regrettably you will have to wear your personal parka over your uniform if the weather conditions warrant it,” says a Dec. 13 order from Col. Conrad Namiesniowski, director for cadets and junior rangers.

The Canadian Forces remain committed to ensuring that every cadet gets one basic uniform — though now it may be a used one, borrowed from others.

“I also urge all Cadets to dig into their closets for uniforms that they no longer wear and to seek out those uniform pieces that friends no longer with the program may have,” says the order.

A spokeswoman for the cadet program says there was little warning about the budgetary gear-grab.

“It came from left field,” Capt. Kimberley Caron said in an interview. “We’ve suspended the ordering of parkas, just because they’re really costly.”

“We do not expect parents and or cadets to purchase any of the uniforms.”

Cadets often have more than one uniform, for ceremonial and other uses. Caron said the military can now promise only one uniform for each cadet.

“We want to ensure that when the new kid wants to join, that we actually have a uniform of some form,” she said.

“It’s a pride thing. They want to feel like they belong.”

The Canadian Forces have been undergoing a wrenching period of cuts big and small, including to equipment. Last week, the chief of defence staff announced the army would not proceed with a long-planned purchase of armoured vehicles, saving $2 billion.

Among other measures to save dollars: trucks and other vehicles in the existing fleets have been mothballed, potted plants have been banned at headquarters, and the army is doing more virtual training by computer, reducing use of ammunition.

Defence Minister Rob Nicholson announced Oct. 2 that the cadet program was undergoing a “five-year renewal” that will boost the numbers to 70,000 and increase resources.

The cadet program places youth ages 12 to 18 in navy, army and air force programs, with more intensive training in the summer months.


Military budget cuts mean cadets without parkas, asked to swap used uniforms

  1. There is no sense having a military anymore.

    $20B a year….saved. Just like that.

    • Get back to your sherry, you drunken pacifist.

        • I’m backing BrainDrain on this one Emily. I don’t have to join, I’ve been in for over 30 years.

          • Perfect….you’re a great example of why we should toss our military.

          • Really? Tell us why you left the CAF Emily. You weren’t one of those that called us baby killers back then I hope.

          • You probably spent that time the same way you spent the rest of the last 30 years….with your nose in a beer glass.

          • If I sat at the “head table” in the mess for all this time I’d have been booted from the forces years ago. You still haven’t told us why you left.

          • You don’t have to sit at the ‘head table’ in the mess to spend 30 years drinking beer.

            I left because it’s a dead organization. Cosplay on a grand scale.

          • Really? It’s been quite active these past 10-15 years.

          • Yeah, I’m sure going after ‘murderers and scumbags’ to pad out your resume qualifies as ‘active’ in your eyes.

          • So were you a 1A or 2B release? We just showed those ‘murderers and scumbags’ some hearts and minds exposer is all.

          • We lost.

          • Meh that’s open to debate. I would say the gov’t lost the will to fight. Anyway was it 1A or 2B?

          • The govt wasn’t fighting. Soldiers were.

            We are peacekeepers. We’re good at it.

            It’s what we should be doing. Not helping Americans attack innocent people.

            And stop trying to change the channel.

          • Peacekeeping? You did live in a backroom when you were in. Soldiers hated peacekeeping and it was only lately that the ROE was change if and when we did any. Everybody can carry their bullets now.

          • I don’t care what a bunch of beerdrinkers playing macho like or dislike.

          • This comment was deleted.

          • And here with John we have another great example of a beerdrinker playing macho.

          • And where were you Emily, down in the Suk soaking up a skin full of Arak with Abdul the Adventurous?.

          • And of course Jamboy is soused all the time.

          • It’s all for you my sweet. Let’s face it, approached at the starting gate an Emily the Amorous is not a pretty thing.

          • I bet she didn’t even know she was playing a part in the ‘pig game’.

          • If that’s the case, you’re cranky because he makes more sense drunk, than you do, sober.

          • I doubt she made it past Borden.

          • Man hater.

          • BINGO!

          • Don’t worry, no one cared for you much.

          • What do you figure?

            Clerk or cook?

          • Answer Bob’s question.

            We’re SOLDIERS.

            There’s no such thing as a ‘Peacekeeper’.

            Go take your meds.

          • The only loser, is you.

          • Yup, she was booted out.

          • Punted, in other words.

          • You spent that time with a terminal case of cranial-rectal conflict.

          • Want to place bets she was punted on a psych eval?

          • You’re a great example of why dumb people shouldn’t breed.

        • LOL!

          I’ve been there and done that.

      • Sherry is probably way over EmilyOne’s pay grade.

        • Putting your money where your mouth is….is way over yours.

          • I’m attempting to structure the most polite P.F.O. ever written. There!! I’ve just done it!!!

          • No, you’ve just wimped out.

          • What is it today?


          • She wouldn’t get subtlety.

          • Translate your babble into coherent English. Thanks.

    • There’s no sense in you posting nonsensical drivel anymore.

      Quit….just like that.

  2. Sell some of those gazebos and get the kids new uniforms.

    • Or the two Challenger jets Chretien needlessly bought….

  3. Wow, Governer General wants more support for the troops in his message. Harper asks us to think about the troops in his message.

    Yet the nickel and dime our troops.

    Virtual training? Wow that’s a new one. So now we learn to run/jump/shoot/crawl/navigate etc etc etc using computers?

    what about muscle memory for quick reactions?
    what about strength and endurance?

    This is shameful. Our troops and the yes even the cadets deserve better. I was a cadet and my father served past his 25.

    • “Virtual training? Wow that’s a new one. So now we learn to run/jump/shoot/crawl/navigate etc etc etc using computers?”

      Yes, simulators.

      That ‘newfangled’ technology that’s been around since WW2 and the Link Trainer….

      “what about muscle memory for quick reactions?what about strength and endurance?”?

      What about you go and read up on what they’re doing with the technology before posting SFQ’s?

  4. But at the end of the day the military knows that their money is in all those corporate, off-shore bank account in the form of incentives, tax cuts and dodges and straight up inflated and fraudulent costs.
    Hopefully the military will remember all this when it comes to the next election Blindly voting far right is not smart. At least the others never promised you they’d support you like Harper, MacKay and the muppets did so there’s an honesty quotient to consider. Or you could stick the finger up to all the parties and vote for one of your own and I don’t mean Hillier, he’s a Tory.

    • Those of us who were around since the 70’s remember all to well what the liberals did to the military. With trudeau 2 in the wings I say, No thanks.

      • Clearly you either didn’t read the above or you can’t understand what was said. It’s not surprising to see that amongst the extreme right in any Western nation nowadays.
        You could go back and read the comment, but I’m guessing that’s not your style because it doesn’t say what you wanted it to say.
        Last I looked PET never promised the military a thing, unlike Harper who promised them the earth. PET never claimed to be pro-military unlike Harper. The end result was the same, the military got dumped on only one party lied about their intentions.
        I wouldn’t expect a hack like you to understand the difference but I always liked it when I saw my enemy coming and knew who they were. Harper is a backstabber who has used the military for PR purposes and shafted injured vets and serving soldiers alike. I may dislike PET and Harper but I’ll respect the honesty of one of them and despise the double-speak of the current coward in chief and all who enable him.

        • “…unlike Harper who promised them the earth.”?

          You may be exaggerating, but Harper DID get them:

          Leopard 2’s
          Desert camo

          Oh, he promised the CF things.
          Canceling the EH101.

          Cutting their budget.

          PET had no problem using the CF to look good on the world stage with NATO and all, but even they got fed up with his neglect and the antique roadshow of CF-104’s, CF-101’s, meagre Leopard fleet and rusted out fleet of steamer frigates.

          When it comes to hacks, you being one, would know what they are.

      • The % of GNP spent on defence by the Trudeau Liberals was greater than it is presently. There were also more troops both in real terms and relatively. Mulroney promised more- 12 nuclear subs and Corps 86 were on the table but the end of the USSR scuttled those ideas.

        You can be upset with the Liberals for unifying a force that did not revolve around joint operations with the result that the most comfortable and least military culture of the three services- the air force- came to predominate while our ability to conduct joint operations didn’t improve.

        You can be upset with them for adopting “greens” and “work dress” but you can’t really fault them for spending less than today because they didn’t. BTW where did the F-18s, frigates and Leopard 1s come from?

        • Still using that BS line, mental?

          If you knew the fact we spent at the same low level as Luxembourg in those days, you wouldn’t be mentioning it.

          “Mulroney promised more- 12 nuclear subs”?

          It was an idea they had, that never went any farther.

          What WAS a plan, was a Sea King / Labrador replacement.
          How’d that work out?

          BTW, how long past their replacement date did PET drag the CF-104’s, CF-101’s, frigates and Centurions before NATO was openly criticizing him?

          How badly did PET short-change the CF?
          Replace 200 CF-104’s, and 66 CF-101’s with what?

          138 CF-18’s.

          Centurion tank fleet?

          Approximately 240 Cents.

          PET’s replacement?


          Let’s not forget the not much better than a tin can, Grizzlies and Cougars he thought were perfectly fine as substitutes.

          What frigates did PET have anything to do with?
          The Canadian navy was the laughing stock of NATO with the steamer fleet of Annapolis/MacKenzie class frigates.

          The Halifax class started commissioning in 1992, long after they were needed.

          BTW, what did Chretien and Martin provide?

      • The Harper-haters ignore those facts.

    • “But at the end of the day the military knows that their money is in all those corporate, off-shore bank account in the form of incentives, tax cuts and dodges and straight up inflated and fraudulent costs.”?


      What did the Libs ever do for the CF?
      Cut their budget.
      Send them into wars (Bosnia and Afghanistan).
      Cancel a much needed helicopter program, buy fewer, second rate versions of it, and then one of the losers of the competition (S-92).
      Start phasing out our Leopards and ‘promise’ to buy junk AGS replacements (thankfully reversed, and proven to be a bad idea).
      Bungle a submarine program.

  5. This is why we’re seeing a lower deficit in the tunes of the .1 billions…

    One-off property/asset sales (at hideously low prices), lowering of corporate taxes, denying essentials for staff, insistence of not pursuing offshore tax evaders, and wrong-headedly demonizing an increase in consumption taxes is why we’re in the mess we’re in.

    We have high debt-to-income ratios and I think we should be putting the brakes on personal consumption before the Canadian citizen is beyond bankrupt. If citizens go under, so will the government and business will flee.

    • Canada is in no danger of going bankrupt.

      However if the govt is keen to save money….abolish the senate and the military.

      • As a former CAF member you should know that any country without a military is not a country. I think, Emily, that you must sit alone in your semi dark basement apartment and spin these remarks just to get a rise out of people. pathetic really.

        • She is not a former caf member. She made that up completely.

          • Well she has stated before that she joined in 68 and she stayed in for five tears. usually former members who left on their own terms are pro military. On the other hand she’s bitter, so I wonder what…..?

          • Former members who left on their own terms are usually pro their comrades. As for pro-military that varies depending on what happened during their service; and as for pro-government that rarely happens.
            I’ve known a few who left because of a change in command and a consequent change in trust at a local level, but it is usually the horse trading at Brass-politician level that knocks the stuffing out of people.
            I also find that the the shorter the service the greater the disenchantment with issues and the lifers stay because they are happy. Some might have been proud of the peacekeeping role and when a decision was made to move towards a more interventionist mandate they lost faith. In that case that is a perfectly valid reason to leave and to feel some bitterness towards the CAF, their role changed and so did the motivations of some service personnel.
            A volunteer military has to accept that if they change focus too much then they will alienate and lose some assets and that will result in bitterness.

          • She was punted out, I’d bet money on it.

          • It does look that way.

        • Is there a feminine form of the word, “troll”?

      • Help stop overpopulation of the planet.

        Don’t breed.

    • “One-off property/asset sales (at hideously low prices)…”?

      Did see this obviously:

      The part of interest?

      “But in recent years, the prices of prime West End London residential real estate has soared — up 30% to 60% since 2007…”

      Hideous, isn’t it?

      Lower corporate taxes to encourage business growth?

      Crazy talk.

      “We have high debt-to-income ratios and I think we should be putting the brakes on personal consumption before the Canadian citizen is beyond bankrupt.”?

      So the government should meddle in personal finances?

      You miss Layton, don’t you?

      “If citizens go under, so will the government and business will flee.”?

      Do explain that. I need a laugh.

  6. Next they’re going to stop summer training….

  7. I thought this was one of the most degrading pressers to come out of the Canadian military, in the history of Canada. This dosnt hold a candle to the decade of darkness comment, its starting to sound like our military is turning into a third world rag tag paramilitary group. Thats why Chopper Mckay was replaced by Nichols. Nichols dosnt fraternize with the military, and he knows didly squat about the military, so it dosnt matter what he cuts. Nichols never answers tough questions either, he always weaves and dodges.

    • When I was in cadets, we used our own winter clothing.

      You’re being over-dramatic, comparing the reg force with the cadets.

      Why don’t you go familiarize yourself with the current capability levels of the CF?

      We have decent fighters, good MBT’s, solid performing frigate fleet, excellent transport aircraft….

  8. Given the mistakes we’ve made in the past decades and our absurd current foreign policy, let’s cut back on our ability to bomb far off countries who don’t pose a threat to us, and concentrate on the basics like clothing and maybe finally bulding that arctic ice breaker.

    • You need to sort out the difference between the cadets and regular forces.

  9. I am aware this comment will be a lightning rod for all the uneducated, dim-witted thinkers out there. Reading comments is ample proof that a significant portion of our population is either illiterate, or lack thinking, analytical ability. This is another example. Cadets are a youth organization sponsored and supported by National Defence. Cadets are NOT, repeat, NOT part of the military. On a menu of must haves, should haves, and could haves, they are definitely could haves. The program provides young people with an incredible variety of training, experiences and leadership opportunities. It also provides young people a glimpse of the military, and is therefore a good recruiting tool for cadets reaching adulthood. That still does not make them part of the military, previous uninformed comments notwithstanding.

    • Although the older cadet movement where they actually trained with the Forces was far superior and was a much better recruiting method!

      • You might very well be correct. My involvement with the cadet movement was in the 80’s and 90’s, when I was responsible for hiring some of the Summer staff and providing log and adm support. A valuable program that should be jealously guarded.

        I was also involved in providing support for the old YTEP program: it was more closely designed to attract recruits.

      • When did the cadets EVER train with the reg force?

  10. As a cadet, I would like to clarify some misconceptions. The cadets are for one thing, not part of the military. We are not expected or obligated to join the forces in the future. It is a youth program that trains Canadian youth to be responsible citizens. Hell we aren’t even allowed to play capture the flags because it is a “war game”. It is a good investment for the next generation of Canadian citizens, one in five Canadian commercial pilot was an Air Cadet (so was Chris Hadfield). I understand the current economic situations means cuts for the non-essentials, but to suggest stopping the cadet program means stopping the best youth program in the nation, not to mention it has been thriving for more than half a century!

    • When your command is comprised of military officers and the military is responsible for giving you equipment and training opportunities you may not be part of the the Combat Arms section of the military but cadets are part of the military. The article above is quite clear about just how much a part of the military cadets are.

      Apart from that I agree that it is a worthwhile endeavour and at the very least should be funded to the level that guarantees every cadet one complete uniform. It is also necessary to prevent them freezing for the 4 months of the year that the majority of them will face in sub-zero temperatures.

      But that’s the Harper Cons for you, they know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.

      • There is no problem with the cadets wearing their “civvie” parkas. The fact that forgoing parkas allows the cadets to have the rest of their kit supplied is more important. These kids do not spend hours on end out in the cold they parade indoors. As for winter exercises outdoors parkas can be signed out on a loan basis from the detachments.

        • Things have certainly changed since I was a cadet then. Training happened in all conditions and in all weather. The only time parading indoors was an option was on Remembrance day when the old soldiers were present otherwise it was suck it up time. Cold just meant greatcoats and glove liners.
          I remember digging shell scrapes in torrential rain accompanied by gale force winds and trying to rig a poncho or groundsheet/cape into a rudimentary tent.
          Your signing out idea would work as long as it wasn’t a detachment exercise when everyone was expected to partake. Then you would have to issue everyone their own parka so they might as well have them already anyway.

          • It’s not an idea about parkas, it’s what happens at the prairie zone when I worked with the CIC. Things have changed since your time no FTXs when more than -20c, parades conducted indoors, no more great coats etc.
            Today the Sqns are not pushing the parka issue because it’s not vital to trg on parade nights, the rest of their kit is. So by eliminating the parka we get the other kit when ordered.

          • Fair enough
            Do you do exercises where the entire body is outside, or is it always partial exercises?

          • FTX’s are conducted by individual units. We also, from time to time invite other units. This build camaraderie within the Sqn, allows the cadets to meet other cadets, and allows for the sharing of detachment kit to be used and PO’s to be signed off. Nobody is sweating the parka issue, it’s a tempest in a teapot article.

          • Let me guess?

            You walked 10 miles to cadets in snow storms, uphill both ways, right?

      • Why bring politics into this? Liberals and Tories are two sides of the same coin. Both have been happy to allow military bureaucracy to expand. That’s what the story is really about. Another part of the military bureaucracy that puts it’s welfare before “troops” or mission.

        • Wrong again freddie.

      • Completely incorrect.

        Try reading the cadet mandate.

        Less than 20% of cadets join the CF.
        In my squadron of 50-70 kids, a whole whopping FOUR joined.

        “…should be funded to the level that guarantees every cadet one complete uniform. It is also necessary to prevent them freezing for the 4 months of the year that the majority of them will face in sub-zero temperatures.”?

        When I was in cadets we used our own winter kit and gym gear.
        It was like that for years.

        Do you think they go out on month long winter Ex’s to the Arctic or such?
        Shake your head.

        You libs don’t care about the cost of lives.
        Cut the budget, and THEN sent the CF to war.

        CF personnel died because of Chretien’s ego.
        Sea King crashes and a submariner death are on his hands.

  11. CP is reporting that the costs of administering cadets have gone up 40% since 1992 while enrollment has dropped 15%. Most of the cost is full time administrators who number 816. The cadets may be limited in what military skills they’re taught but the adults running the show seem to have paid very close attention to DND/ CF techniques. Never pass a chance to build a bureaucratic empire. Find full time jobs for your pals on superannuation.

    BTW does it strike anyone as curious that a free youth program has had a decrease in numbers while the population has increased? We’re told we need special tax breaks because parents can’t afford to put their kids in sports yet this program seems to be dying. Perhaps the lack of military training, including shooting service rifles, is a factor?

    • Yes but it is also a volunteer organization, nobody can force the kid to stay and I’ve seen many parents think Cadets will scare they’re bad kids straight or think it’s a glorified babysitter service and that simply is not the case, it only makes it a huge pain in the ass for the Cadet MCpl’s & Sgt’s. that deal with the person on a daily basis and sometimes if bad enough puts a burden on the whole chain of command. Mind you it’s been some time since I was a member of the Royal Canadian Army Cadets.

      • My guess is that the interest in cadets has fallen in conjunction with it being less military. You can’t force a kid to join or stay but you can make it interesting and challenging enough that he will. Drill and floor hockey are probably not be enough.

        It would interesting to see a graph showing numbers for each version of cadets and full time staff with major events indicated on the time line: last mandatory school corps closed, girls allowed in, “CF” uniforms adopted, FNs removed etc.

        • You guessed wrong, as usual.

          You haven’t even bothered to research what activities are done at cadets.

          The cadets never used FN’s mental….

    • Not only are you unknowing of the CF, mental, you know little about the cadet organization.

      The individual units are run by volunteers and it takes a lot of dedicated time to do it.

  12. Cutting anything from a youth program is wrong. I attended cadets as a teen and it saved my life. Being a part of the program was wonderful as I met so many people from all different back grounds who all shared a common value: national pride to serve our country, even if we were only seen as toy soilders by other adults on the outside.

    • Summer camps were a blast!
      Gliding and fam-flights were awesome, also.

  13. Cutting HQ and Regional HQs administration is the only way to go. That is where growth has taken place while cadet recruitment and enrollment has declined.

    • How much paperwork do the full time guys generate for the part timers who actually work with kids? That’s the normal thing for over staffed HQs to do. Justify jobs by getting the people who actual conduct the training to send in “reports and returns”. Perhaps one of the reasons for reduced cadet enrollment is that the quality of CIL has declined as people who would be happy to work with the cadets aren’t so keen on coming in and doing paperwork. Just a thought.

      • “That’s the normal thing for over staffed HQs to do.”?

        Oh, mental, do explain how you would know anything about HQ’s.

        I need a giggle.

        “Just a thought.”?

        No fred, that was gas you were suffering from.