What does summer camp have to do with national security?

Dear editor,

In my many letters about the Canadian Cadet Glider School, I never questioned the 'national security asset' that is CFB Comox.

Dear editor,

In my many letters to your newspaper over the years regarding the Canadian Cadet Glider School program, I have never questioned the ‘national security asset’ that is CFB Comox.

What I have questioned is what has been going on there, and its direct impact on my family and me.

I have never in these years questioned the SAR Tech training or any other professional military activity, let alone the increasing commercial jet traffic; my complaints have always centred on the noise created by the tow planes from the air-cadet summer camp.

Yet a recent letter I received from our honourable MP John Duncan (in response to my questions) did not mention glider cadets, and instead dwelled on national security. I ask what does a teenagers’ summer camp have to do with our national security?

I know it’s naive to long for the days when my neighbours cut their grass with sheep, and the glider cadets flew over the farm fields of former CFB Chilliwack (closed due to budget cuts in the 1990s). I suppose it is also naive to hope for any kind of accountability.

On July 13, your newspaper published a letter I wrote in regard to noise pollution statistics published by WHO, that estimated that one in 50 heart attacks in rich European countries are caused by exposure to road noise. I then had the temerity to correlate these, and other longstanding scientific findings, to the noise imposed by 12 hours a day of glider tow plane aircraft.

To their great credit, MP John Duncan and the commander of the base, J.C. Benninger, responded with two pages and in the former’s case, a paragraph.

To the commander’s credit he worked very hard to extol everything that the base was achieving, something MP Duncan explained as expressing “our national security assets.”

Is summer camp a case of national security? Do the CFB  Comox cadets qualify as “national security assets?” If so, do the Canadian Boy Scouts?

Liberal MP Justin Trudeau questioned the $207 million allocated for 15,000 Canadian cadets in our Conservative government’s budget last spring. $207 million adds up to $1 billion every five years.

The Scouts of Canada engage over 250,000 Canadian youth every year and yet this leadership training costs us taxpayers nothing.

In these tough economic times 19,000 public employees are being made redundant, our own military will suffer a five-per-cent budget reduction, and this on the heels of our longest war.

Our base commander J.C. Benninger, and MP John Duncan are attempting to lump cadet youth summer camps in with our national security. Is this really teaching leadership?

Steve W Hodge,

Comox

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