General’s apartment rental tab picked up by taxpayers for the last seven years.
I do not know LGen Wynnyk. I do not know his family. However, after reading his official biography, I can understand what his family has endured.
So, to journalist David Pugliese, let me describe the family perspective for you and perhaps you’ll understand why IR is not a “perk.”
Military families are expected to pick up and move whenever the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) says so. We give up our homes, jobs, friends, and family. This is not easy for us. We are not employed by the military, yet we are expected to serve. Many people say, “Oh, it’s your choice you married a military member.” Well, I ask you, would you give up someone you love, the parent of your children, just because they get a new job in a new city? Really think about that. If you’re thinking yes, maybe your marriage/partnership isn’t as strong as you think.
Let me tell you, Mr. Pugliese, some of the other reasons a military member might choose IR. As I am sure you know, it is a challenge for many Canadians to find a family doctor. Imagine never having one. Imagine being on a waitlist so long that you move to another city before getting referred to a doctor. Now, imagine that you have a spouse or child with special medical needs. Now, imagine dealing with that while living far away from a support network of family and friends – and possibly in another language. Imposed Restriction allows the member to move, but the family remains in one place and has consistent medical care.
For a military member to move, spouses (and children) quit their jobs. Many do not meet the criteria to collect employment insurance. They either did not work the required number of weeks because they did not live at that location long enough or had to work part-time because the military member’s job was so demanding. And what about daycare, you ask? Finding quality, affordable daycare in a new city is like winning the lottery. Waitlists are long – so long, in fact, that you might be posted out before your children get placed.
This assumes that spouses have a job to resign from. Many spouses are unemployed. If you are posted to a part of the country where you don’t speak the language, it is almost impossible to get a job. Military Family Resource Centres (MFRCs) offer second language training, but learning a language well enough to be employed takes time (so much time that you may be posted out before you become employed). The MFRCs also have a spousal employment service, but if the Cheesi-Mart is the only place in town that’s hiring, listing your Ph.D. in bioengineering on your résumé will not help you get a job bagging groceries.
Is it so wrong that LGen Wynnyk recognized the sacrifices his family made over the years, and he chose IR so his family could have someplace to call home and his wife could pursue a career?
I guess in your eyes, Mr. Pugliese, military families should endure hardships (little access to healthcare, daycare, employment, and living as a single parent), and pay for it out of our own pockets when the government expects the CAF member to perform their duties. Have I got that right? Or do you just believe that military spouses/families should just be quiet and keep the home fires burning because we happen to love someone in uniform?
Mr. Pugliese, I suggest that if you continue to write about the military, you investigate what military family life is like before you start ranting to the taxpayers about subsidies that you don’t fully understand.