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Disrespect by CDS?

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Rick Goebel

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Late in December, during the Christmas shutdown, the Calgary Highlanders was informed that the CDS would present the unit with the Canadian Armed Forces Unit Commendation the morning of Saturday, 10 January for outstanding dedication and sustained commitment towards the war in Afghanistan.

The unit organized a unit parade (including finalizing tailoring of new DEU jackets with new rank and division insignia) and sent invitations to friends of the Regiment on 22 December).

The unit was told just a few days before the event that the date/time would be changed to Friday afternoon.  Being a reserve unit, the general unit parade couldn't rapidly be changed to a Friday, but the unit did arrange a smaller ceremony with a quarter guard and fewer friends of the Regiment attending.

In order to allow most of the troops as well as friends of the Regiment to celebrate the occasion, the unit still held the Saturday event as a “re-presentation”.

I fully recognize that the CDS can easily have more urgent and important events than presenting an award to a reserve unit come up quickly.  I have to question why it was considered so important that “Tom Lawson” as an individual or even "the CDS" as a position present this award that it would mean moving to a different, much less appropriate, day.  I am not aware of any special significance that he specifically has to the unit.  It would have been better to get another General from Ottawa (there doesn't seem to be a shortage) to stand in for the CDS on the originally scheduled day.  Perhaps one could have been found who actually commanded Calgary Highlanders in Afghanistan.  This would actually have been more meaningful than the CDS presenting it.  It turned out that the commendation was presented by the current Brigade Commander, who actually had some Calgary Highlanders under his command in Afghanistan.  Not a bad thing but we could have saved the cost of the CDS flying to Calgary on the wrong day.

Frankly, I think that if the date had to change to "regular time", the CDS deserved to be greeted by just the Adjutant and the other full-time staff to accept the award for “re-presentation” to the rest of the unit and supporters on "reserve time".

What do you think?
 

Tibbson

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What do I think?  I think s**t happens and inspite of his best efforts the event had to change.  I certainly don't see it as any snub or disrespect.  The intention of the award is to be important enough as to warrant the CDS presenting it and without info to the contrary I can only assume he had a good reason for having to amend his schedule.  Unfortunate?  Yes but certainly not disrespectful.
 

PuckChaser

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Do you want your CO giving you your CD on a medals parade with the whole unit, or some brand new OCdt give it to you in cadpat the way out the door on a random Thursday night? The CAF unit commendation is a pretty big deal, and requires an adequate representation from the senior leadership of the CAF. You act as if your unit has never had a task or date change at the last minute.
 

Shamrock

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The CDS Commendation is a big deal, but something else came up forcing him to change his schedule.

As an innocent bystander, I can see a changed situation between the notification of the event and its realization. Seems like the CDS flew a long way to personally issue the commendation in the time available while still respecting the unit's parade and meeting his own obligations.
 

Eye In The Sky

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Rick Goebel said:
Late in December, during the Christmas shutdown, the Calgary Highlanders was informed that the CDS would present the unit with the Canadian Armed Forces Unit Commendation the morning of Saturday, 10 January for outstanding dedication and sustained commitment towards the war in Afghanistan.

BZ to the Calgary Highlanders.  And it is nice to see PRes Regiments being recognized for their service.  I, like so many other current serving Reg Force mbrs, have beginning and/or roots in the PRES.

The unit organized a unit parade (including finalizing tailoring of new DEU jackets with new rank and division insignia) and sent invitations to friends of the Regiment on 22 December).

The unit was told just a few days before the event that the date/time would be changed to Friday afternoon.  Being a reserve unit, the general unit parade couldn't rapidly be changed to a Friday, but the unit did arrange a smaller ceremony with a quarter guard and fewer friends of the Regiment attending.

In order to allow most of the troops as well as friends of the Regiment to celebrate the occasion, the unit still held the Saturday event as a “re-presentation”.

I fully recognize that the CDS can easily have more urgent and important events than presenting an award to a reserve unit come up quickly.  I have to question why it was considered so important that “Tom Lawson” as an individual or even "the CDS" as a position present this award that it would mean moving to a different, much less appropriate, day.  I am not aware of any special significance that he specifically has to the unit.  It would have been better to get another General from Ottawa (there doesn't seem to be a shortage) to stand in for the CDS on the originally scheduled day.  Perhaps one could have been found who actually commanded Calgary Highlanders in Afghanistan.  This would actually have been more meaningful than the CDS presenting it.  It turned out that the commendation was presented by the current Brigade Commander, who actually had some Calgary Highlanders under his command in Afghanistan.  Not a bad thing but we could have saved the cost of the CDS flying to Calgary on the wrong day.

Frankly, I think that if the date had to change to "regular time", the CDS deserved to be greeted by just the Adjutant and the other full-time staff to accept the award for “re-presentation” to the rest of the unit and supporters on "reserve time".

???

What do you think?

I think you should have stopped at...

I fully recognize that the CDS can easily have more urgent and important events than presenting an award to a reserve unit come up quickly.

I believe some of the language used towards the CDS and how he performs his duties is, at the very least, inappropriate and unprofessional.  I might question some things my CofC (from my Skipper right up to the CDS) decides to do/not do...I also try to keep those question and/or opinions in the crewroom, hanger or Mess.  IMO it wouldn't be wrong if the name of this thread was changed to:

Disrespect TO the CDS

Don't think there's much more to say to answer your question.  :2c:

Again, BZ to the Calgary Highlanders!
 

Blackadder1916

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Intentional disrespect?  Unlikely, but it does indicate a lack of understanding about the limitations inherent in the Reserve.  Somewhat ironic, as the commendation was essentially for overcoming many of those limitations in order to support the war effort.  Still the incident should be grounds to heap scorn on the CDS, especially if he ignored advice of his staff (as well as the unit’s superior commanders i.e. bde and div ), who I assume would have briefed him on the consequences of trying to attempt a weekday ceremonial function with a Reserve unit on short notice.  If his staff did not brief him, then, they should be shot and pissed on.

While others have suggested that presentation of the CF Unit Commendation is of such importance as to require personal attendance of the CDS, I would suggest that it is of such importance as to require attendance by the majority of the people who are being honoured.

Yes, the CDS’s time is valuable and his schedule is subject to change.  If he was unable to attend at the original ‘appropriate’ date/time, then he should have sent a suitable proxy.  Is the CDS the only person in the CF?  My original assumption was that his presence in Ottawa was mandatory due to the international situation (France) but then it is suggested that he was needed in Ottawa on the Saturday to attend the funeral of Gen Withers (another ceremonial event).

Rick, my opinion is probably more in line with yours and, as a retired member, I am the sole judge of appropriateness and professionalism of my comments.  This is an example of the Regular CF making the Reserve CF fit into the wrong mould.
 

TCM621

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One the one hand, the CDS  is busy and stuff happens. On the other, this award should have been about the Calgary highlanders not what is most convenient for the CDS. I can't really blame them if they feel slighted. But in the end BZ to the Cal Highs. Wear it with  pride.
 

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Blackadder1916 said:
This is an example of the Regular CF making the Reserve CF fit into the wrong mould.

It actually seems to me to be more a matter of an event that was most likely scheduled months ago having to be adjusted at the last minute when someone died and had a funeral planned for the same time.  I won't pretend to speak for the CDS but I would hazard a guess that its more a matter of having the award suitably presented the CDS to the Unit leadership and those who could attend so that it can be more ceremoniously presented as originally planned. 

Was the award presented by the CDS?  It certainly was.  Did the Unit still have it's larger ceremony where the Award was delivered and celebrated?  Yep.  The simple solution....cancel the presentation until a later date the CDS can attend and the whole Unit was there.  At least he had the courtesy to attend and present it in person even if you couldn't be there.

I can't help but wonder if this post would have been still written, although slightly differently, if someone less then the CDS presented it as planned and people were upset "the CDS couldn't be bothered to attend"?
 

Blackadder1916

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Schindler's Lift said:
It actually seems to me to be more a matter of an event that was most likely scheduled months ago having to be adjusted at the last minute when someone died and had a funeral planned for the same time.  . . . .

Did you read the opening post?  Even the originally scheduled Saturday parade would (especially in the reserve world) have been a short notice event.

Rick Goebel said:
Late in December, during the Christmas shutdown, the Calgary Highlanders was informed that the CDS would present the unit with the Canadian Armed Forces Unit Commendation the morning of Saturday, 10 January . . . . .

The unit was told just a few days before the event that the date/time would be changed to Friday afternoon.  . . . . .

While it would be most appropriate for the CDS to present this award (The Commendation was created by the Chief of the Defence Staff in November 1980), at what point does ceremony trump practicality (or vice versa)?  If it had been a Regular Force unit receiving the commendation, it would be almost a given that every available member of the unit would be on hand to witness the presentation (and almost every member of a Reg Force unit would be “made available”).  Of course in that case, full-time careers or schooling does not interfere with scheduling.

It almost seems that the presentation was intended to be done very casually, when it could have been a more visible community event.  I haven’t seen anything on the local news media, but to be honest, I wasn't really looking.  I keep hearing that Reserve units are important in maintaining a connection of the CF to the local community, but in this case I think they lost a good opportunity to demonstrate how important that connection is.
 

kratz

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Blackadder1916 said:
<snip>  I keep hearing that Reserve units are important in maintaining a connection of the CF to the local community, but in this case I think they lost a good opportunity to demonstrate how important that connection is.

I think you're bang on with your comment.
 

chrisf

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Eye In The Sky said:
I believe some of the language used towards the CDS and how he performs his duties is, at the very least, inappropriate and unprofessional.  I might question some things my CofC (from my Skipper right up to the CDS) decides to do/not do...I also try to keep those question and/or opinions in the crewroom, hanger or Mess.

Look again, the op is retired.

As he's now a civilian, he's entitled to voice whatever opinion he wants.

Even if he wasn't, I don't see anything disrespectful to the cds in his post. It's a valid point, a reserve unit put in a lot of work to prep for something, and doesn't have the liberty of rescheduling the full parade. Having someone else make the presentation may have been an excellent alternative.
 

Eye In The Sky

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So you can only be inappropriate and unprofessional if you are still serving?  According to the OPs profile, it's not like he was just Cpl Bloggins when he was still in.  Come on.  This whole thread appears to be just a public pot-shot at the CDS.

The plan was for the CDS to do it, then the plan had to change.  The unit was presented it's award by the CDS, on the best day "he" was available.  The last I knew, we are still a military and all that.  We follow orders, its not a democracy, timings change and all that jazz.

As for the whole "its hard for the PRES to organize in short time", I was PRES before and I get how it can be a little more challenging to handle the fastball stuff BUT my unit always managed to do it and we just accepted it as part of part-time soldering.  That includes DEU type ceremonial events, and some that were a quicker burning fuse.

If the CDS decided to have someone else present it, a GO in Army DEU, then they'd be whining that "the CDS didn't even bother to present it, he sent someone else!".  Personally, I have to wonder how much dislike there would be if the DEU of the CDS wasn't blue and he wasn't sporting pilots wings.

Sometimes 'shit happens' and no one likes the guy in the field who whines about things that can't be changed, you just do your best with Plan B and get on with it.  Seems to me this is pretty much what happened here.  Shit happened, Plan A got changed and someone is whining about something that can't be changed.

Rick Goebel said:
Late in December, during the Christmas shutdown, the Calgary Highlanders was informed that the CDS would present the unit with the Canadian Armed Forces Unit Commendation the morning of Saturday, 10 January for outstanding dedication and sustained commitment towards the war in Afghanistan.

The unit organized a unit parade (including finalizing tailoring of new DEU jackets with new rank and division insignia) and sent invitations to friends of the Regiment on 22 December).

The unit was told just a few days before the event that the date/time would be changed to Friday afternoon.  Being a reserve unit, the general unit parade couldn't rapidly be changed to a Friday, but the unit did arrange a smaller ceremony with a quarter guard and fewer friends of the Regiment attending.

In order to allow most of the troops as well as friends of the Regiment to celebrate the occasion, the unit still held the Saturday event as a “re-presentation”.

I fully recognize that the CDS can easily have more urgent and important events than presenting an award to a reserve unit come up quickly.  I have to question why it was considered so important that “Tom Lawson” as an individual or even "the CDS" as a position present this award that it would mean moving to a different, much less appropriate, day.  I am not aware of any special significance that he specifically has to the unit. {Special significance would be he is the CDS} It would have been better to get another General from Ottawa (there doesn't seem to be a shortage) to stand in for the CDS on the originally scheduled day.  Perhaps one could have been found who actually commanded Calgary Highlanders in Afghanistan.  This would actually have been more meaningful than the CDS presenting it.  It turned out that the commendation was presented by the current Brigade Commander, who actually had some Calgary Highlanders under his command in Afghanistan.  Not a bad thing but we could have saved the cost of the CDS flying to Calgary on the wrong day.

Frankly, I think that if the date had to change to "regular time", the CDS deserved to be greeted by just the Adjutant and the other full-time staff {deserved?}to accept the award for “re-presentation” to the rest of the unit and supporters on "reserve time".

What do you think?
 

expwor

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I don't think it was so much disrespect as it was disorganization of the CDS schedule.  Ramsay Withers passed away was circumstances beyond the control of CDS.
But he passed away Dec 24th 2014.  His funeral was Jan 10, 2015. So even if the CDS has no control over some events to attend, namely the funeral, there certainly was enough time, at least in my opinion, for CDS to contact the Calgary Highlanders for a re-schedule of the parade.  They could have been contacted to have the date moved.
Yes it was a case of two events falling on the same date.  But it wasn't a case that one of those events happened at the last minute, they had time IMHO to reschedule the parade so the CDS could attend both the funeral and the parade.
But I emphasize I see it more disorganization, not disrespect
Anyhow a civie's, and former Reservist's point of view for what it's worth

Tom
 
 

Tibbson

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expwor said:
I don't think it was so much disrespect as it was disorganization of the CDS schedule.  Ramsay Withers passed away was circumstances beyond the control of CDS.
But he passed away Dec 24th 2014.  His funeral was Jan 10, 2015. So even if the CDS has no control over some events to attend, namely the funeral, there certainly was enough time, at least in my opinion, for CDS to contact the Calgary Highlanders for a re-schedule of the parade.  They could have been contacted to have the date moved.
Yes it was a case of two events falling on the same date.  But it wasn't a case that one of those events happened at the last minute, they had time IMHO to reschedule the parade so the CDS could attend both the funeral and the parade.
But I emphasize I see it more disorganization, not disrespect
Anyhow a civie's, and former Reservist's point of view for what it's worth

Tom

Without knowing the rest of the CDS' schedule, could it also have been a simple matter of "he was going to be in the area anyway for other events but his Saturday commitment with the Calgary Highlanders had to be postponed so in the interest of fiscal responsibility, because he was still going to be there the day before, he presented the award when he was in the neighborhood".  He may not have been scheduled to be back in Calgary or even Edmonton for quite a number of months which means the Unit doesn't get it's award in a timely fashion OR he has to schedule a special trip which gives the press more opportunity to launch pot shots over the costs.  One of the officers in my HQ used to work as an Aide to a previous CDS and as people can well imagine his schedule is set months before and there isn't much wiggle room for even the events that require wiggle room.  An issue like an unexpected funeral, as can be seen by this issue, causes far reaching ripples.
 

The Bread Guy

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Eye In The Sky said:
The plan was for the CDS to do it, then the plan had to change.  The unit was presented it's award by the CDS, on the best day "he" was available.  The last I knew, we are still a military and all that.  We follow orders, its not a democracy, timings change and all that jazz.
As much as I might be miffed if the unit I was a member of went through this, EITS has it summed up.  Unforseen circumstances (the death/funeral of a former CDS) are just that - unforseen. 

What would you tell the family of the dead former CDS if the current CDS didn't show to that event?

In the immortal words of the Minister's aide in "Yes, Minister," "CBE - can't be everywhere."
 

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Eye In The Sky said:
The plan was for the CDS to do it, then the plan had to change.  The unit was presented it's award by the CDS, on the best day "he" was available. 

However the award was to honour the unit, not the CDS.  Shouldn't it have been when the unit was available not the presenter?  Especially when they organized it at the last moment, (I'm sure a few unpaid man hours of Recall and call backs where done over the holidays).  Then take into account that the local community was invited, I can see how some of the Reservists felt slighted.  I also doubt the CDS meant any disrespect, in fact I would expect that being able to personally recognize units in this fashion would be one of the highlights of the job.  Completely understandable about unforeseen circumstances, such as a funeral.  I personally would have sent a representative to the unit ceremony with my regrets. 

BZ Calgary Highlanders.
 

DonaldMcL

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I'm guessing if the schedule wasn't changed and the CDS was a no-show, we'd be having this exact same discussion.
 

Sigs Pig

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We had a "Celebration of Life" thing for my mother, packed hall, but she was not there... still at the funeral home, awaiting cremation.
An urn at the front and nobody was the wiser or cared...
Later in warmer weather the family met and we took care of her ashes.

ME
 

Fishbone Jones

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Sigs Pig said:
We had a "Celebration of Life" thing for my mother, packed hall, but she was not there... still at the funeral home, awaiting cremation.
An urn at the front and nobody was the wiser or cared...
Later in warmer weather the family met and we took care of her ashes.

ME

Your point?
 
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