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Ottawa hasn't ruled out a guard of honour at war memorial

The Bread Guy

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Arlington North?

Nice idea, but one big question - how do you staff this if this is to happen?

Shared in accordance with the "fair dealing" provisions, Section 29, of the Copyright Act.

Harper government hasn't ruled out a guard of honour at war memorial
Allan Woods, CanWest News Service, 3 Nov 06
http://www.canada.com/topics/news/politics/story.html?id=fc9005e2-8e8b-4ca4-89f3-1f20c88747f9&k=80923

A majority of Canadians support the idea of posting a full-time guard of honour around the National War Memorial and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, according to an internal poll conducted for the Harper government and obtained by CanWest News Service.

Six-in-10 Canadians polled by Prime Minister Stephen Harper's top bureaucratic advisers said they supported the idea of a round-the-clock sentry at the site and Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor has not ruled out moving ahead on the plan, according to a spokesman.

The idea of a permanent military presence around the monument that honours those who died fighting with the Canadian Forces was first raised this summer after a young man was photographed on Canada Day urinating on the granite structure.

The public square occupies a prominent location in the capital, just across the street from the Parliament buildings.

An Ottawa-area Liberal MP, David McGuinty, initially made the suggestion after seeing the national outrage that had developed.

He also put the suggestion to Harper directly in a letter days after the incident.

In August, Harper's top policy advisers in the Privy Council Office asked 1,647 Canadians if they would support the idea of placing a full-time guard of honour around the National War Memorial and Tomb of the Unknown soldier.

Sixty-one-per cent responded favourably to the idea, including one-quarter of respondents who "strongly support" the idea, according to the poll results. One-in-three Canadians 35.4 per cent said they were opposed to the idea.

The poll, completed by Decima Research, was considered accurate to within 2.4-percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Days after the young man's photograph was published on the front page of the Ottawa Citizen and later picked up by newspapers across the country, leading to a national outcry Harper himself called into an Ottawa radio station and denounced the "thoughtless" actions.

"Obviously, it's a terrible thing to do," Harper said. "Certainly my impression is it doesn't represent in any way the views of any segment of Canadian society."

Authorities said at the time they would consider hiring private security guards to police the area, but nothing has come of it.

McGuinty said in an interview Thursday that in addition to his guard-of-honour proposal, he suggested Harper introduce a new criminal code offence to deal with such desecrations.

He was later told that Veteran's Affairs Minister Greg Thompson had been asked to look into the matter, but had not heard anything yet about the government's position.

Etienne Allard, a defence ministry spokesman, explained Thursday the government has already committed $5.5 million over three years for restoration and upkeep of Canada's 6,000 cenotaphs and war monuments and that the idea of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is that it should be accessible to all visitors.

"We poll on many issues," Allard said in an e-mail. "But unlike the previous government, we do not govern by them."

(Poster's Note:  This suggests the spokesperson is a Minister's spokesperson, not a "ministry", or bureaucrat, spokesperson.)

However, he added: "no decision has been taken yet" on whether or not to place a guard of honour at the war memorial.

A frustrated McGuinty said he does not understand why no action has been taken yet on an incident that occurred in July.

"This is something that could have been solved within a week," he said, adding he found it surprising that government felt it had to conduct an opinion poll for "something that feels like common sense."

"It might be that instead of actually working transparently, maybe they're trying to spring something in advance of Remembrance Day," McGuinty said.

Provincially, the idea of a year-round guard of honour around the military monument achieved greatest support in Atlantic Canada, where military traditions and membership is disproportionately high.

Only in Quebec, which is widely considered the province most wary of militarism, were more people opposed to the idea of posting an guard of honour at the public square.

Fifty-five percent of Quebeckers opposed the idea, compared to 43 per cent who said they were supportive.

The 22-metre-high National War Memorial was unveiled in 1939 by King George VI and dedicated to Canadians who served in the First World War.

It was later re-dedicated to all Canadians who have served in 20th-century wars, including the Second World War and the Korean War.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was constructed in 2000 when the remains of a Canadian killed in the First World War in France were returned to Canada and buried in the special tomb in front of the war memorial.

 
I will gladly staff this...

If others won't, post them there. Should be a nice way for reservists to make some extra cash on top of the parade night per week...
 
I suppor the idea wholeheartedly. 
Aren't the GGFG reservists?
It would be a great feather in the hat for the conservatives supporting the troops.
:cdn:
 
I like the idea. Maybe they could 'round robin' the rotation to units across the country so everyone gets a chance. Pricey yes, worth it though.
 
"A great way to make a little cash...."

I take it the guard would consist of four members similiar to the National War Memorial on Remembrance day.  I doubt many reservists will volunteer for the 0200 to 0600 shift.  Has anyone else ever had the privilege of coordinating just 1 reservist for a 24/7 duty?  Unless there's some binding agreement this just won't fly.

To allow for leave, rest and simple administration, training and logistics, at least a 30 person unit fully tasked would be required.  That's at least $3,000,000 per year.  Economics is all about choices....
 
Sorry, but all this angst is the result of one over-reported over analysed and emotional incident.
Let it go.  Spend the money on ammunition.
 
Haggis :

Sorry but you are wrong lad. The new war memorial here in Toronto at Queen's Park has all ready been defaced and it was only dedicated this past fall, in 2006. Don't you think that the NATIONAL memorial should be protected ? I sure do . And it seems to me that it should be a CF responsibility to do so. I wouldn;t want to see private security doing that job.

Jim B Toronto.
 
You know, there is a powerful message when you go to Arlington National Cemetery and see the Old Guard on duty at the Tomb of the Unknowns. It says, "We remember — not just on Veterans Day, and Memorial Day, but each and every minute of the year. Is it expensive? Probably. But it's a duty that is beyond price.
 
Red 6 said:
You know, there is a powerful message when you go to Arlington National Cemetery and see the Old Guard on duty at the Tomb of the Unknowns. It says, "We remember — not just on Veterans Day, and Memorial Day, but each and every minute of the year. Is it expensive? Probably. But it's a duty that is beyond price.

True, but in our military we rob Peter to deploy Paul.  Units go to the ranges only a few times a year.  Recruits get issued outer clothing that is two generations old.  We bum rides from allies to get to theatre. 

jimb said:
Don't you think that the NATIONAL memorial should be protected ? I sure do . And it seems to me that it should be a CF responsibility to do so. I wouldn;t want to see private security doing that job.

Yes, I do, but that is why we have the police and private security companies.  Both can provide security far cheaper and with less political ramifications that taxing an already economically strained military with yet another political "feel good task".

Running the guard is one thing.  Setting it up is another, much more costly endaevour.  Think for a minute of how the CF, federal and local politicians, lawyers, Legion, veteran's groups and local police would deal with the following questions:

-Should the Guard be armed?
-What are their Use of Force (ROE) guidelines? How and who do the call for help?
-Regular or Reserve Force?
-Army, Navy or Air Force or some of each?
-Would the Guard wear Unit or "CF generic" cap badges and acoutrements?  Maybe we should stand up an "Old Guard" unit?
-Number of visible minorities and males/females per shift?
-Chain of Command?  CFSU (Ottawa), 33 CBG or Canada Command?
-Funding?  Maybe a split between the city, NCC and CF?  Who pays how much?
-Recruiting and selection? In service or off the street?
-Rations and Quarters?
-Bilingual or unilingual?
-The closest CF building is over 1/2 km away from the NWM.  Where do they rest?  Warm up?  Eat meals?  More importantly, since this started the discusion, where do they pee?
-Who would clear snow and ice away for the Guard on a 24/7 basis?  CF?  NCC?  City of Ottawa?  A private contractor (Joe's Backhoe Service)?  Who pays for this?
-What drill movements would be used on the monument?  How would they go to/from the monument?

Each one of these questions will require time and money to address.  All in response to ONE incident.

Then, extraploate those costs for your monument in Toronto, and all the others across Canada.

See where I'm going with this, "lad"?
 
Its doable if there is the political will to do it. The US Tomb Guard consists of a platoon. The unit could tasked from the RCR. Or a section from each of the services could be contributed. Or you could rotate a platoon from the Army,Navy and Air Force throughout the year. The tomb of the unknowns was guarded even during  hurricane Isabel in 03.

http://www.army.mil/oldguard/SpecialtyPlatoons/Tomb.htm
 
Worn Out Grunt said:
To allow for leave, rest and simple administration, training and logistics, at least a 30 person unit fully tasked would be required.  That's at least $3,000,000 per year.  Economics is all about choices....

At this time I think the money would be better spent on equipment for those at the pointy end of the spear, but if the government goes ahead with this initiative I would consider it an homour.  With a composite guard unit - I would think more than a platoon would be necessary - but I would gladly volunteer for any shift.  If keeners could pick up a guard duty shift each week, and those with less free time like myself take a couple of shifts each month, I think it would be easy to mount an honour guard 24-7.
 
Red & T6 is correct re:  the symbolism and the principle.

However, Haggis is also correct re:  the devil being in the details, and Hunter about the size of the CF funding pie being fixed.  

One lesson I've learned about gov't is:  "When you have a problem, mandating and implementing a solution is not always the same as solving the problem."

So, the first step is to define the problem.  Is it "how do we keep the physical infrastructure of the monuments safe from vandalism?", or is it, "how do we educate the public at large to the point where nobody would DREAM of desecrating such monuments?".

???
 
We have no shortage of un-trained Pte's at PRETC here in Borden, task a few troops out from here... Most of us look for any excuse to get away from PRETC for a while, and I would be honored to take that position, im sure others would be too. But yes, money is paramount, I still have, for the most part, my initial recruit issue of kit and not much else. Wearing webbing as opposed to Tac-vests is painfull, and seing guys over in the sandbox with TW CADPAT kit is no good either...
 
tomahawk6 said:
Its doable if there is the political will to do it.

Canadian "politcal will" doesn't always come with a funding package or an increase in person-years.  Without that we would, again, be playing a tasking "shell game".

Show me the money.  Then show me that tasking. 
 
vanislerev said:
Wearing webbing as opposed to Tac-vests is painfull
that's a good thing. The old web gear is 100 times better than the POS Tac Vest.

Back on track, I say we can't afford it, either. Put some Commissionaires on it, with reliable comms to the LEO, and have them swing by regularly.

Didn't we have this discussion when pussnuts pissed on the thing?
 
Just throwing an idea out, so no need to jump on me. ;)  Instead of creating a "guard" unit from scratch, suppose this function be added to the cceremonialguard, and just make this function a year round deal, make it a class B tasking from 6 months to 1 year (or longer if warranted).  There would still be a requirement to come up with ROE, UofF etc. But this would seem like the simplest solution, if it were to happen.
 
As much as I like the idea, I would have to agree with Haggis as to the practicality of initiating and maintaining a ceremonial platoon. From what I understood from my visit with 3 IR at Ft Myer a few years ago...it is a whole company tasked to the National cemetery at a time. That is a manpower pull that we may not be able to maintain, esp with our current op tempo.

Also, you would have to be careful as to what troops you put there. The Old Guard has a high expectations as to their recruits and their training. I would be truly embarrassed to be a Canadian soldier if we had someone who is not absolutely proficient at drill, and looks worse then I do in my CFs guarding the tomb.
 
If we have an extra company's worth of soldiers (reg or reserve), for chrissakes send them to 1 VP!!!!
 
PPCLI Guy said:
If we have an extra company's worth of soldiers (reg or reserve), for chrissakes send them to 1 VP!!!!

Haven't seen 'em so far.

Since I feel like stirring the pot a bit, wouldn't this be a fine task for the NDHQ "Guard"?
 
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