“Propogat[ing] oppression and domination”, using “violence and murder”, and “sanitiz[ing] and whitewash[ing] war.” One might be forgiven, reading these words, for imagining that they describe some horrid dictator half-way around the world who brutally terrorizes his people and those of other nations. Sadly, however, these words, as used by the McGill Daily in a recent article, refer not to some distant despot but to our own Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence (DND). Unfairly slandering the many men and women who work for both organizations, the Daily argues that all military recruitment, of which they include the DND, should be banned on campus and throughout all academic institutions.
To deny any student the right to be informed about a potential and legitimate job opportunity seems an egregious example of imposing one’s beliefs on others. Moreover, it is both an infringement upon the right of the DND and the Canadian Armed Forces to inform and the students of McGill to be informed about legal, not to mention necessary, careers in a venerable and honourable profession. As members of a functioning democracy wherein each citizen is given the right to choose nearly every aspect of their life, including their career path, we find it eternally distressing to think of a potential choice as being excluded because of the whims of a small but vocal minority. It is this vital aspect of our society, freedom of choice, which endears us to nations the world over as a model among democracies and which, not coincidentally, the DND and Canadian Armed Forces strive to protect on a constant basis. Yet even with this in mind, the McGill Daily continues to oppose giving students their basic rights as citizens and, in doing so, betray their true feelings regarding the competency of McGill students.
Even if those who oppose military recruitment on campus were not a minority, and were in fact a majority as they would have you believe, it would still remain a grave breach of our rights to not allow the highly intelligent and capable students of McGill and other universities to decide for themselves what is right for them. McGill students would furthermore seem to agree strongly with this point as they have consistently chosen to stand side-by-side with the DND and Canadian Armed Forces. The two General Assembly motions mentioned by the Daily which sought to ban military recruitment from Shatner were soundly defeated by the students of McGill. The student group Demilitarize McGill is likewise a feeble organization populated by only a few dozen far-left individuals and thus is not representative of the average student.
In targeting the DND and military recruiters the McGill Daily furthermore unfairly slanders a necessary part of our society. Though the use of force is and shall forever remain a last resort to be avoided at all costs, the reality exists that it is sometimes necessary. Why then single out the brave and honourable men and women of our armed forces and the infrastructure which supports them – individuals who maintain a constant vigil and defend Canada when others will not and who often bear the burden of performing a task for which they are vilified, as is the case now.
Any clear-minded individual will perceive that there is a difference between supporting those who protect us as we should and condoning violence and warfare, none of which are the goals of the DND or the Canadian Armed Forces. Rather, they are the unfortunate reality of the duties they are tasked with performing. Moreover, it is but one aspect of the vital role that the Canadian military and the DND play in our lives. Both are responsible for a wide range of services such as securing Arctic sovereignty, protecting delegations during international gatherings, and conducting search and rescue operations, to name only a few. Though obvious to most, it seems necessary to point out for the benefit of would-be slanderers that it is so-named the Department of National Defence for a reason – it exists to protect the safety and sovereignty of all Canadians.
If those persons who try to deny the DND and the military the right to recruit on campus are as true to their convictions as they claim to be, then it is well within their rights to continue to oppose them so long as they do not impede others of a dissimilar opinion from doing the opposite. In fact, as a democratic nation where freedom of speech and freedom to protest are engrained in the national conscious and form the foundation of our society, it seems almost necessary that they do continue to voice their opinion. What should not, cannot, and will not be tolerated however are their blatant attempts to silence the voice of the DND and the Canadian military on our academic campuses or anywhere else. We remain confident that McGill students, given the opportunity, will make the right choice and choose to support the DND and the Canadian Armed Forces as is their right and their duty. The Herald stands as a proud supporter of Canada’s brave servicemen and women, and supports those McGill students who choose to join their ranks.