At the time of my enrolment I was told by the recruiter in Calgary that due to the duration of my training in Kingston that my family would be moved out here with me. It turns out not to be the case though. Turns out that despite the assurances I received that the Forces would be able to accommodate our family’s large size were not accurate assurances. I have been told that my family cannot be accommodated for. My wife Toni has taken a week and is out here to see what solutions were available for our family as I have been so unsuccessful in getting any answers or solutions other than missing a few years of my children’s lives.
Her first meeting was with the Military Family Resource Centre. They were sympathetic and encouraging and communicated to Toni that something should be able to be accommodated as even serving members on tour were able to come home three times on a 9 month tour with their expenses paid. So a subsequent meeting was setup that included myself with a Canadian Forces Social Worker. During the meeting with the Captain it rapidly became apparent that I was only going to be given two choices. Either we could suck it up and accept that I was going to be away from my family for approximately the next two years and be happy with going home to see my children once per year partial or she offered to forward a recommendation for what is called a "Compassionate Release". Nice choices…
To say I am a little angry about the situation would be significantly understating it.
During our meeting with the Forces Social Worker, she had detailed how difficult of a time the Canadian Forces were having in recruiting and in retaining members. She described how when they were looking at candidates now for which they had to look past some eligibility issues such as drug or alcohol addictions. The idea apparently is that some of these people could be "fixed" with a little bit of money being thrown at them in treating these issues.
So here I am, hard working, no drug or alcohol issues, mature and disciplined, extensive skill sets in many occupations and trades, currently succeeding in my courses, meeting all of the physical requirements, offering my service for the next 25 years and yet apparently, my family’s well being is not worth looking after in order to enable me to continue to serve in the forces.
If they don’t want married individuals with families to join the military then maybe they should mention that at the recruiting centre and not waste peoples time and hard earned money.
Anyway, Toni will be heading back on Tuesday this next week with my decision in hand.