Your voice could have an effect on Canada’s defence policies, if you attend a new kind of town hall meeting in Langley next week.
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is fulfilling one of the Liberal Party’s election promises by ordering a series of events across the country, inviting members of the public to share their views on what the armed forces should and shouldn’t be doing, leading to the development of a new national defence policy.
The Langley installment will be held on June 11 at the Langley Events Centre. It was organized by 42-year military veteran and former Liberal MP candidate Leon Jensen (who lost to Conservative Mark Warawa in the Langley-Aldergrove riding).
When asked what the average Canadian walking into the event can contribute to defence policy, Jensen answered: “Everything.”
“Because the military consists of Canadians that don’t have all the answers, so there are lots of great answers from retired military members [and] just the ordinary Canadians citizen.”
The questions being asked of the public fall into three categories: “the security environment,” Canadian approach to defence,” and “defence capabilities and the future force.”
Jensen said one aspect of the armed forces’ role that is often overlooked is response to domestic disasters, such as the wildfires that have devastated parts of Fort McMurray and northern Alberta in recent weeks.
“Where do you expect the military to step in and be there for you? The big one out here, in B.C., is the earthquake preparedness because they are what we call the ‘force of last resort,’” he said.
“When the big earthquake hits, we have certain expectations of the military to come in and do their role. And we just have to define that a little bit more. What are those expectations?”
There are presentations planned from Canada’s air force, army, military and navy, including videos, talks and question and answer sessions.
Attendees will also be able to view military vehicles on display that have been used in Canada’s involvement in the Korean War, the War in Afghanistan and the Second World War.
A similar event is being hosted by Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag on June 10 at the Royal Canadian Legion branch in Cloverdale (on 57A Avenue) from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.