Canadian army should not be mocked for civil service
By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
The city of Toronto has been the butt of jokes for far too long now (though some might say not long enough): their uproarious mayor, Charlie Sheen; the Maple Leafs double-dribbling to the playoffs; and, of course, the freeze storm. Yes, it has been an ice age of comedy for the centre of the universe, but I will not poke fun at Toronto for sending in the army to battle Mother Nature, that cold-hearted bitch.
While we’re living in Vancouver, where anything below 10-degrees Celsius is considered cold, people in Toronto have been pouring cups of hot water outside and watching it turn to ice before their eyes. The sight gave me chills (remember the 1997 movie, Batman & Robin, where Arnold Schwarzenegger a.k.a Mr. Freeze kept making cold puns? I do). I know people in the Prairies are laughing at Toronto for their dramatic call to arms, but let’s be honest, if they weren’t laughing at Toronto, they would probably be shivering. Toronto is a big city that can only function when people are able to leave their households. As someone who has all-season tires on my car for, well, all seasons, I know what it’s like to be stuck at home. So I’m a little surprised that calling in the troops for reinforcement isn’t more common—after all, why shouldn’t we use our resources?
Weather is one of the most devastating forces in the world, and having the military around to back up normal people is a morale boost a country like Canada should have. We are a peaceful nation and we should lead by example. For many in the United States, the idea of sending in the troops for anything but war is still a highly debated proposition. Citizens just don’t want to see the army cruising down the streets—that is not encouraging for a healthy morale. Recent hurricanes have since changed the minds of many, but others are still convinced that a country should not rely on their army for domestic reasons. But as the world continues to face the fury of Mama Nature, it seems that the army lending a hand may become a common trend.
A little deep freeze is far from a humanitarian emergency, but it would be comforting to know that the military would be able to help when disaster strikes. A soldier assisting shouldn’t be something we laugh at; it should be something we expect and respect.
Taking a look closer to home, we wonder what might cause Vancouver to send in the army. How about an earthquake? What they call the inevitable “Big One” could literally happen at any moment. I sure hope and expect someone to help me deal with that crisis, especially if I get stuck on Granville Street when the city shakes.
We can mitigate disaster, but we can never really avoid it. So, let’s use all we have when things get bad and build upon that for when things get worse.