Canada Day a time of thanks

From the Editor’s Desk

Cliff Kenyon

Perhaps Canada Day this year should be more like Thanksgiving.

I don’t mean we should indulge in the excesses of a huge family meal and a big celebration, but how about quiet reflection about what we are thankful for? We have lots to be thankful for this Canada Day and that is good reason to be waving the flag.

How about being thankful for leadership that has gotten us through a pandemic that in some parts of the world has had catastrophic results?

4 Wing Commander Col Dave Moar is celebrating a return to virtually normal base operations on July 6, nearly three months after an unprecedented and unexpected lockdown. You can be sure it’s not something he ever imagined happening.

We were told repeatedly by government and health officials that together, while being apart, we would beat this threat. It seems they were right.

Across 4 Wing Canadian Armed Forces members and the base support staff of civilians were sent home and told to stay away from each other. It can be a tough order to comply with for many. We were facing a threat and expected to remain calmly at home.

It’s not a surprise members of the Canadian Armed Forces are people of action. They detect a problem or a threat and are ready and eager to come up with a plan of action. Not this time. The order was to stay at home. Be patient. Then be even more patient.

Wing leaders and the CAF drew up emergency plans, reviewed and adjusted them. They had to figure out the best way to deal with a threat that was never really expected.

Then the battle was on.

Base leaders determined who were essential workers, the ones who must work to ensure the operational integrity of the base.

Because, regardless of the threat, 4 Wing is an operational air force fighter base and it was essential that operations be maintained, somehow. Worldwide commitments related to defence and peace cannot be put on hold or a time out because of a pandemic.

Wing leaders examined every job and task and determined, at least for the short term, who were essential and non-essential workers.

Those in the essential category, those who do the day-to-day jobs that keep CF 18 Hornets in the air when they are needed, were divided into teams so the work wouldn’t be left undone. Each team worked and completed necessary tasks in daily shifts without ever contacting members of complimentary teams doing the same work at other times of the day.

Some training was delayed, but vital tasks were completed.

An important part of a pandemic plan was that members of the Canadian Armed Forces across the country were ready and prepared if they were needed, even if they were at home waiting for the call that may never come.

But it did come. Again, unexpectedly, hundreds of CAF members were needed to help out in long term home care centres in Ontario and Quebec.

Members of the CAF did the unexpected, successfully completing a mission that was never imagined. But they were ready for the unexpected, for the never imagined, and being ready to help without delay or hesitation was part of the overall pandemic plan.

This Canada Day every Canadian can celebrate mission success, something you can always be thankful for. Even if your mission involved staying at home and being ready.

Happy Canada Day.