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"Co-op program called death sentence"

Last week the Windsor Star published a report which gave much credence to the ill informed opinions of a group opposed to a co-op programme involving the Canadian Forces Reserves. Since then, it is reported, the Windsor Star has been bombarded with reports from readers which aim to correct the false impressions created. The Ruxted Group wishes to add its voice.

It was with great surprise and sadness that we bore witness to a former "educator" and a current "student" proudly displaying their ignorance of today's Canadian Forces (CF) and the individuals that make up this last of the Great Canadian Institutions. For serving and past members of and as citizens interested in the CF, it is hard to know where to begin in refuting the malicious, ill-informed, and scare-mongering propaganda quoted by numerous individuals in the story.

Firstly, Marilyn Eves' assertion that students taking the opportunity to serve in a local Reserve unit for one co-op semester would be "...going overseas to fight and some of them are going to die." is a fallacy. One co-op semester is barely enough time to become basically trained as a member of the CF, let alone be trained up to the standards demanded of soldiers going overseas to serve on operational tours, particularly in Afghanistan.

Secondly, no Reserve soldier has been compelled to serve overseas since the Order in Council of 1 September 1939, under General Order 135. If a Reserve soldier so chooses, he or she may serve their entire time in the Reserves in Canada. Many of today's Reservists, however, do make a choice to volunteer to serve on overseas operational tours, as well as in domestic operations. Many Windsor/Essex citizens have served (or are presently serving) the common good in Cyprus, the Golan, Bosnia, and most recently in Afghanistan to name just a few of the more well-reported areas of Canadian involvement.

To address the wholly unfounded comment about how “They beat it into you so you don't know what you think anymore. You're not a person anymore. You're just a machine." Let us assure all readers, especially parents of young people interested in the military, that nothing was "beat" into anyone during the entire 35+ years some of us served as Reservists or Regulars, nor are any of us unthinking machines. Perhaps the Windsor Star and its reporters would be even more surprised to learn that the Canadian Forces Reserve, in Windsor and all over Canada, is filled with not only high school students, but also college and university students. We also served with paramedics, police officers, IT professionals, financial planners, and another surprise, teachers! This is not to mention those troops who worked in the automotive/manufacturing sector, in the casino, as contractors, and in all kinds of blue collar jobs that keep Windsor moving. In short, the citizen soldiers who serve as reservists are the people who make up the fabric of your community, and choose to make soldiering a second calling. No matter how many times one watches Platoon or Full Metal Jacket, one will not understand the reality of today's Canadian soldier, until one bothers to talk to one. It seems that teachers have failed their students and not instilled in them the importance of researching and understanding topics that they would speak out about publicly. Serving members do not have the luxury of speaking out of turn about anything publicly, since they know they represent not only their Regiment but also the Army and Canada at large. Freedom of speech, no matter how misinformed it may be, has been bought and paid for with the blood, sweat, and sacrifice of Canadian soldiers.

This brings us to the final point. Mrs. Eves, as an ’educator’ should know that there was a time in this country when things like duty, honour, and sacrifice actually meant something. Men like Major Frederick Tilston, a member of The Essex Scottish Regiment who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his courage, gallant conduct, and grim determination, showed that Canadians are good people. We are good world citizens who recognize that sometimes evil and senseless violence must be dealt with through the application of determined, disciplined, and measured violence. We as a society entrust that ability, and that responsibility, to the Canadian Forces. In doing so, we teach the young men and women who join up to serve that they are worthwhile citizens who can accomplish great goals and overcome great obstacles. They do this by learning and using teamwork, confidence, discipline, honesty, and fortitude. From day one, service members are taught the dangers of their chosen profession. Today, no Canadian service member goes overseas without volunteering, either by joining the Regular Force, or by joining the Reserves and volunteering a second time to go overseas. We do not think it is too much to ask ’educators’ to not talk down to students who would chose service as a way of life, or depict them publicly as stupid little automatons that have no idea what is being asked of them if they choose to serve.

We would rather have our tax dollars go towards producing good citizens contributing positively to Canadian and world society than towards funding a public education system that brainwashes students into believing that today’s Canadian soldier, sailor, and aircrew are unable to think and act only a cogs in some Stalinist genocide machine. As a final thought: "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." -Samuel Adams

The Ruxted Group, after reviewing the responses from the Windsor Star and its readers, wishes to acknowledge that the article in question was not the norm for the newspaper editorial staff. However, in some cases the damage has been done, as we have at least one report brought to us of a student not being allowed to do a co-op based on the false information that was brought forth in the article.

For this the Windsor Star should acknowledge that they had the burden of proof on themselves to "factfind" and not just report the WIB's diatribe as truth.

The ’educators’ quoted in the article lead well educated soldiers to wonder if the Canadian public education system is, finally, beyond redemption – the inmates having, clearly, taken over the asylum.


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