OTTAWA - They were Canada's best of the best.
Before Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2), the Canadian Airborne Regiment was the elite rapid-response unit in the Armed Forces for more than a generation - with roots reaching back to the Second World War.
Now, 16 years after the Somalia inquiry which resulted in its “disbandment in disgrace,” the final commanding officer of the regiment is demanding an apology from the federal government.
“When they disbanded the regiment, they tore the heart out of me, and of every other man that was serving that day and serving in that regiment before,” said retired colonel Peter G. Kenward. “It was a miscarriage of justice, it was grossly unfair and it was a politically expedient move by the Liberal government of the day.”
The regiment was a specialized group of Army soldiers selected to jump out of airplanes into hostile territory. The storied group of paratroopers traces back to the First Canadian Parachute Battalion, which landed behind enemy lines on D-Day in 1944.
Officially formed in 1968, the Canadian Airborne Regiment was most notably deployed during the 1970 October Crisis to thwart a terrorist threat from the FLQ, and in 1974 to Cyprus during a civil war.
It was the 1992 peacekeeping mission in Somalia where things went wrong. A Somali teenager was tortured and killed, and several Canadian soldiers were court martialed. After the official inquiry, the federal Liberal government disbanded the entire regiment.
“The soldiers, the people who built that regiment, 99.9% were so harshly punished for the misdeeds and the wrongs of a few,” said Kenward. “Under any justice system, that is totally unacceptable.”
Groups dedicated to the “Airborne Brotherhood” are filled with calls that the regiment be reinstated and the term “disgrace” removed from the official record. Many young soldiers still wear the disbanded colours.
The Conservative MP representing CFB Petawawa, the final home of the Airborne, supports the call.
“One way would be to resurrect the colours. They took down all of their symbols and to this day you can still see, peaking through a wall that was white-washed, the shadow of the Airborne,” said Cheryl Gallant. “It will be an honour for me, as a member of the Conservative majority government, to see how this historic wrong can be corrected.”
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
Cheryl Gallant is backing a winner with this issue, and while it is typical
of the conservatives to engage in good politics and bad policy, this particular
stunt qualifies as good policy especially with the military and those who did
not agree with the liberal decision to scrap the airborne in the first place.
If Mr. Harper really wants to back a winner in policy and politics, he should take that Private Member's Bill for a Legal Presumption of Equal Parenting and turn it into law and in one stroke will wipe out 100 billion dollars being extorted from Fathers across Canada in the farce called family law.
Mr. Harper also needs to rethink his zealots approach , his republican doctrine on incarceration, in particular, use our jails for real criminals, not Feminist Debtor's prisons for father's whose only crime is to be born with testicles and end up before a dead beat judge who habitually ends children's relationships with their father.
The Airborne was "disbanded", scrapped in dishonour because of the actions of
a few. The liberals wanted to problem to go away so, disbanding it was a very
destructive way of dealing with the problem. The absurdity was that the members
of Canadian forces remained, so, somehow by removing the name, what ever
problems existed would go away.
By the same token, a large number of Members of Parliament have been charged with criminal offenses, cannot have a credit card and have histories as habitual liars, frauds and exactly the wrong sort of people to have absolute power. By that reasoning, our parliamentary system should be scrapped.
The Liberals quietly buried the "For Sake of the Children", that should have led to a massive overhaul of child custody legislation, a reform of family law, and a legal presumption of equal parenting.
While our corrupt family law system remains, Canadian Children have more probability of growing up without a father in the home than with one. More than 50% of children don't have their father in the home. That leads to dysfunctional children who become dysfunctional adults who can't be trusted with absolute power.
More Canadian men kill themselves because they can't see their kids than are killed on our roads or in military conflicts. Its time to recognize that our society is burdened with a 100 Billion dollar problem that can solved by voters demanding change as occurred in Australia and brought about legal presumption of equal parenting.