At this year’s World Peacekeeping Summit, Canadian Defence Minister, Harjit Sajjan, announced that “Canada is back,” offering up to 600 soldiers and 150 police to the UN Peacekeeping Force. He hopes to boost uniformed forces by 7,000 members, to 75,000. This might be difficult, as the Department of National Defence (DND) is experiencing retention problems, experiencing staff grievances similar to those of any large employer. The most common complaint is the lack of “geographic stability” for armed forces’ members and their families, followed by “job dissatisfaction,” low pay, inadequate benefits, and issues with senior level leadership. There may be inexpensive moves to motivate disgruntled defense staff, but in the end, the government may be forced to honour the 2014 commitment made by NATO allies to pay 2% of their GDP on defense, instead of the 1% they currently contribute. Respecting their needs as men and women may be a more powerful and less expensive staff motivator than restoring the $4 billion for new military equipment that has temporarily been withheld. Doing both would be ideal. Let’s put our money where our mouths are. Lest we forget. KG
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