Statement made on 15 September 2009 by Senator Joseph Day
Hon. Joseph A. Day:
Honourable senators, it is good to see you all back.
Honourable senators, I have no doubt that we each share the concern of a lack of work for and the resulting inactivity of our country's youth. I wish to draw to your attention the cadet summer training program, a program available to Canadian youth aged 12 years to 18 years.
The aim of the program is the development of leadership and citizenship qualities and the promotion of physical fitness and stimulation in the interests of sea, land and air activities. Sea cadets, army cadets and air cadets each have their own training programs designed to offer challenging, safe and fun activities while allowing cadets to benefit from increased self-confidence, self-esteem and teamwork.
Approximately 4,200 sea cadets participate in activities such as sailing and seamanship. About 8,000 army cadets receive training in leadership, citizenship and teamwork. Approximately 10,000 air cadets attend summer training and their courses include powered flight, glider pilot training and air traffic control instruction.
There are 24 cadet summer training establishments across Canada. Each is located in a unique setting, such as the Rocky Mountains, north of 60 in Whitehorse and in the Atlantic provinces at Greenwood, Nova Scotia.
In addition to travel within Canada, there are international exchanges for certain selected senior cadets during the summer. They are selected on merit, and their visits include various foreign locations such as the United Kingdom, Europe and Japan. Cadets on exchange represent Canada as youth ambassadors abroad and participate in training or cultural activities with their foreign cadet counterparts.
Honourable senators, cadets are not members of the Canadian Armed Forces. The cadet program is not designed as a recruiting vehicle for the Canadian Armed Forces. Some former cadets do join the Armed Forces, but the vast majority of cadets choose careers outside of the military.
Regardless of the path they choose, most former cadets credit their experience in the cadet program with enabling them to become successful in both their professional and personal lives. This is a wonderful opportunity for the youth of our nation to develop important personal qualities and broaden their interests.
I had the opportunity to visit the Argonaut army cadet camp in New Brunswick this summer. I spoke to both the cadets and their parents, and their comments on the program were positive. Honourable senators may wish to look into this particular possibility for the youth in their regions.