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Offline PrairieThunder

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Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« on: October 01, 2012, 15:02:23 »
Reproduced under the Fair Dealings Provision of the Copyright Act. Highlights = mine.

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SURREY: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh Cadet Corps'

By Cheryl Chan and Larissa Cahute
VancouverDesi.com


It was supposed to be a historic moment, the culmination of two years of work and the start of an exciting program for about 60 Surrey kids.

But Canada’s first ever Sikh cadet corps has already ran into some opposition — over its name.

“We were told there was a problem with the naming,” said Pargat Singh Bhurji, director of the Friends of the Sikh Cadet Corps Society. “There was a hesitation over the word ‘Sikh.’ ”

The opposition to the name — the 3300 British Columbian Royal Army Cadet (Surrey Sikhs) — was raised in a Sept. 13 meeting between the Sikh cadet corps organizers and representatives from the Canadian cadet program.

According to Kimberley Caron, a Department of National Defence spokeswoman for Cadet organizations, officials believe the use of the word “Sikh” gives the wrong idea.

“The issue is it’s got to be all inclusive,” she said, adding the name insinuates non-Sikh youth can’t join. “You want to make sure that the program is all inclusive for all Canadian youth between the ages of 12 and 18,” she said. “We want Sikh youth to join; we want non-Sikh youth to join … everybody.”

But according to organizers in Surrey, they’d been in discussions with the military for about a year and no one had objected to the new unit’s name and they had received the green light each step of the way.

The society has used the name Friends of the Sikh Cadet Corps Society to open a bank account, send out official letters and recruit members. Uniforms and shoes and special turbans have already been ordered.

An official launch was scheduled for Sept. 19 at the Sikh Academy in Surrey.

“Then in a matter of weeks’ time, there is a problem … I think it’s ridiculous,” said Bhurji. “It was like the carpet was pulled out underneath our feet.”

But Caron said “it’s only coming to light now because they (the unit) were ready to start parading.”

The Canadian Forces is responsible for making sure the necessary components are present in a cadet corps, like the right leadership, sponsorship, community support and name.

“In this case the Canadian Forces is not satisfied that all the proponents are there,” she said. “The word Sikh has not been approved … and we have other concerns in making sure the right leadership and support for the corps (is there).

“You would want to make sure the name was actually approved prior to paying and setting all of that up.”

Bhurji notes the program has been open and pluralistic. Some regiments have names with cultural connotations such as the Canadian Scottish Regiment or Irish Regiment.

On Sept. 16, organizers were told the Department of National Defence will be involved in the decision on the name. But two weeks later, the issue still hasn’t been resolved, leaving some families feeling misled and frustrated.

Avtar Gill said his 11-year-old son Mehtab had been counting down the day until the launch.

“He was very excited. He’s asking me every day, ‘When are we starting?’” said the Surrey dad.

Gill had enrolled Mehtab in a Delta cadet corps two years ago, but with no other Sikhs or East Indians or Asians in the group, Mehtab never felt like he fit in. After two sessions, he decided to quit.

Gill is baffled over the holdup.

“I don’t understand why this is an issue,” he said. “The word ‘Sikh’ means ‘learner.’ I don’t see why anyone would have an issue with that name.”

Sikhs come from a long military lineage. In the First World War, more than 65,000 Sikh soldiers fought for the British, and another 300,000 Sikhs served in Second World War.
Caron said they’ve offered the group a number of alternative names that they believe still celebrate Sikh heritage, like naming it after a prominent Sikh leader, veteran or community member.

But without “Sikh” in the name, the cadet corps would not have drawn as much interest, said Bhurji, a pediatrician at B.C. Children’s Hospital. He stressed that while the kids who signed up may be Sikhs, they are also Canadians.

“These are kids brought up here who have Canadian values and want to serve their country,” he said, estimating 10 to 15 per cent of the members will serve in the Canadians’ army, navy and air force as adults.

Caron said “it’s sad to see it’s sort of taken this turn,” because the group is “great for community pride with Sikh traditions with multiculturalism and pluralism in Canada.”

Sikh cadet corps founder Harbinder Singh Sewak, publisher of the South Asian Post, said he is optimistic the issue will be resolved.

“We are working very hard to get some kind of resolution to this. The community is anxious to get this going.”

Original can be seen here: http://vancouverdesi.com/lifestyle/canadian-military-says-no-to-sikh-cadets/

Interesting developments. When I left Surrey not too long ago, the idea is that the Sikh temple on Scott Road is going to be host to this unit so they'd have a rent-free facility. They already had over 100 people sign up BEFORE it had even been approved. As you see in the article, they ordered uniforms already in anticipation that they'd be given the green light.

What is also concerning is their understanding of the Cadets Canada, it's purpose, regulations, etc. and their understanding of the same of the Canadian Forces. We can see this from some of the comments:

Quote
They need to ban the Canadian Scottish Regiment post-haste old boy!

Quote
wow i had no idea canada was thisracist, its reminding me more & more like the biggest terrorists on the planet the usa, sikhshave died for this country but continued to get disrespected. wow oh cannda

or the one that doesn't necessarily Grind My Gears the most (see directly above), but is of most concern:

Quote
Highlander units are by no means restricted to enrollment by only Scottish youth, nor are Irish or Welsh units restricted in the same manner. The same applies to units taking their name from Aboriginal heritage (eg. 339 G89 Iroquois Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps) and certainly to the Saskatchewan unit that takes its name from the Punjab city of Rawalpindi (118 Rawalpindi Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps, Prince Albert SK, S6V8A4).
The XXX Cadet Corps (Surrey Sikh) is open to all Canadian youth to enlist. It is our mission that cadets in our unit learn the bedrock Sikh values of being a “Saint-Soldier” or of standing up for those who are defenceless in the face of tyranny.

"It is our mission that cadets in our unit learn the bedrock Sikh values of being a "Saint-Soldier" ..."

Sorry, but remind me again where in any of the DAOD's or QR(Cadets) or CATO's that state that religious teachings are permitted in the organization? Iff they truly say it is all-inclusive, if a white Mormon or a Muslim, or a Spanish Canadian Catholic were to join, how would they "accommodate to all races/religions/backgrounds? Would then then have to teach from the Qu'Ran and the Bible as well?

------------

The man's kid drops out after 2 nights, over 6 years starting out as a recruit and going on to being a Cadet RSM, for me it took about a month to get comfortable but on average for every new recruit it was about 2-3 months before they started feeling to fit in an comfortable and being a little more social and interactive.

------------

...and the piece saying "...65 000 Sikhs fought for the British in the First World War ..." and etc, all I can say is: We're not the British are we? No. Moot point.

Comments on this matter are welcome, falling under standard policy etc.

Offline charlesm

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Re: Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2012, 17:40:11 »
Is this really and different than this cadet corp in Duncan

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Re: Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2012, 18:31:03 »
Wow, DND compromised their standards at least once.  That will probably bite back and there will be a Sikh Corps, then Islam Corps, then a left handed dog lovers Corps and onward creating greater and greater division and finally bringing to an end another program for youth.

Offline MeatheadMick

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Re: Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2012, 18:57:31 »
Well at first I agreed with the decision... make it all inclusive, since it makes sense... also disagree with religion being taught in Cadets... they have churches/mosques/temples for that, the Cadet Corps is for a different kind of experience. When you look at the listing for an All/Only Aboriginal Cadet Corps, then why the hell not... give the Sikhs their own corps too... or better yet, don't play favourites and make them both open to everybody.

It makes sense to a point, if the Aboriginal Cadets is in a high Aboriginal Populated Zone, it would see the most members from that respective group. The Sikh Cadets may be in the same boat. I'm all for everyone getting a long with no racial/religious segregation, however you can't play favourites to one specific group and shoot down another, it really is not fair.
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Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2012, 19:06:03 »
I wouldn't be comfortable sending my children to cadets located in a temple.

 You can't pretend there isn't a marked difference between the Scotish/Irish highlanders of Toronto and

The Islamic Warriors of Toronto. 
Of the Jewish Brethren of Brantford
Christian Crusaders of Cornwall.

I would guess it would be very hard to remove the religious aspect of a Sikh regiment.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2012, 19:15:15 by ObedientiaZelum »
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Offline Tank Troll

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Re: Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2012, 19:20:14 »
 :goodpost:  That is the problem I see as well.
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Offline PrairieThunder

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Re: Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2012, 19:55:54 »
REF: Aboriginal unit.

I guarantee you that it is advertised "Aboriginal Only" however, as per the 'Rules' it has to be all-inclusive. Either that or there's some clause in the Indian Act that allows the First Nations, and only the First Nations to pull this off.

Offline Strike

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Re: Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2012, 20:04:29 »
The comments re: the naming of the Sea Cadet corps is also a red herring.  Those organizations are named after former/current Canadian and Britsh ships. That those names are reflective of native groups or Indian towns is not the fault of the cadet org as a whole but a reflection of RCN history.
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Offline garb811

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Re: Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2012, 20:25:59 »
Quote
Uniforms and shoes and special turbans have already been ordered.
This has me scratching my head.  How do you order uniforms through the supply system without being officially formed, or have they bought a uniform of their own pattern based on...?

Offline Teeps74

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Re: Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2012, 20:31:23 »
I wouldn't be comfortable sending my children to cadets located in a temple.

 You can't pretend there isn't a marked difference between the Scotish/Irish highlanders of Toronto and

The Islamic Warriors of Toronto. 
Of the Jewish Brethren of Brantford
Christian Crusaders of Cornwall.

I would guess it would be very hard to remove the religious aspect of a Sikh regiment.

Considering that Sikhism is a religion and not a race nor ethnic group... It would be impossible to separate religion from the issue.

The Cadets is supposed to be inclusive... Granted, I am very rusty on the CATOs...
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Re: Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2012, 20:48:13 »
Interesting - the Sikhs have a long and proud martial tradition in the Commonwealth - just look up a history of some of the Sikh regiments.  I only have two questions:

1.  Is the turban standard wear?  I'd assume so (just like those funny Scots/Irish hats....) - does this bother Sikhs? (I don't think so - you see non-Sikhs covering their heads when they visit Gurdwaras)

2.  Is there any intent to use the cadet program to promote religious values?

If not, I'm all for this.
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Offline CanadianTire

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Re: Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2012, 20:54:03 »
Better change the name of all those Irish, Scottish and English named reserve units and cadet corps.
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Re: Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2012, 21:00:20 »
I wouldn't be comfortable sending my children to cadets located in a temple.

I spent many of my more formative years attending beavers, cubs, then scouts, in the basements of a number of churches... I don't think it ever had any positive or negative effects on my current religious leanings...

For what it's worth, those current religious leanings are "respectfully militant atheist", and as an avowed atheist, I think you're all blowing this a bit out of proportion...

A few years ago, our unit received a request to support a cadet corp, we were asked to come out and "teach somthing".

So, as a signals unit, we figured, hey, let's teach radios. So we packed up a few motorolas, and off we went, to teach a bit of VHF theory and some voice procedure.

After arriving at the cadet corp, we discovered that somone had failed to pass on a vital piece of information, The cadet corp we were teaching was hosted by a local residential school for deaf students, and all the cadets were quite deaf.

We still managed to teach a bit about VHF, and everyone seemed to have good fun. Now, what's the difference between a cadet corp hosted by the school for the deaf and the left handed dog walkers cadet corp you're terrified of?

I firmly believe it's possible for a cadet corp to be both inclusive, and be tailored to a specific community...

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Re: Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2012, 21:04:07 »
1.  Is the turban standard wear?  I'd assume so (just like those funny Scots/Irish hats....) - does this bother Sikhs? (I don't think so - you see non-Sikhs covering their heads when they visit Gurdwaras)

That is a really interesting question.... are there any "Sikh" regiments similar to "Highland" units??? (Anywhere that is, not Canada)
« Last Edit: October 01, 2012, 21:08:21 by a Sig Op »

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Re: Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2012, 21:36:17 »


1.  Is the turban standard wear?  I'd assume so (just like those funny Scots/Irish hats....) - does this bother Sikhs? (I don't think so - you see non-Sikhs covering their heads when they visit Gurdwaras)

The Cadet program issues Turban's and Hijabs in elemental colors.  It is up to the Cadet weather they choose to wear them.

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Offline PrairieThunder

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Re: Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2012, 21:37:17 »
Considering that Sikhism is a religion and not a race nor ethnic group... It would be impossible to separate religion from the issue.

The Cadets is supposed to be inclusive... Granted, I am very rusty on the CATOs...

Interesting - the Sikhs have a long and proud martial tradition in the Commonwealth - just look up a history of some of the Sikh regiments.  I only have two questions:

1.  Is the turban standard wear?  I'd assume so (just like those funny Scots/Irish hats....) - does this bother Sikhs? (I don't think so - you see non-Sikhs covering their heads when they visit Gurdwaras)

2.  Is there any intent to use the cadet program to promote religious values?

If not, I'm all for this.

But see, in the Sikh community there's this problem. Throughout my time in Surrey living and working with Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Indians. Fijians etc...

Many of the Sikhs you'd call Indian would go "NO! I am Punjabi, I am Sikh. I am not Indian" They believe they are the master race of India and Sikhism is not just a religion, it's a lifestyle and a community. Not all of them mind you, HOWEVER, a good friend of mine in the CIC/COATS world told me that this "Sikh Cadet" unit organizer came to him because he's Sikh and asked him if he'd be the commanding officer: "...because the Government wants to assign us a Commanding Officer that's non-Sikh and that's not what we want. We need dedicated Sikhs that know our teachings and want to go further to fulfill the 5 K's"

That is a really interesting question.... are there any "Sikh" regiments similar to "Highland" units??? (Anywhere that is, not Canada)

Other than India? Pakistan might have one, but other than that, it only exists in India.


I firmly believe it's possible for a cadet corp to be both inclusive, and be tailored to a specific community...

Community, fine, and the example of the Deaf Children is a great one, however with the Sikh Community's intent with this cadet unit, is not the same you speak of.

This has me scratching my head.  How do you order uniforms through the supply system without being officially formed, or have they bought a uniform of their own pattern based on...?

It's likely that is what happened. How? No idea, but it wouldn't surprise me.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2012, 21:44:36 by PrairieThunder »

Offline Michael O'Leary

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Re: Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2012, 21:41:25 »
2.  Is there any intent to use the cadet program to promote religious values?

I believe this is the only question of substance in this whole affair.

Offline PrairieThunder

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Re: Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2012, 21:48:15 »
Why not call it the "XXXX Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps (Buckham Singh)"? Surely any good faithful Sikh, especially the Canadian ones should know about him.

But as, Mr O'Leary says, the concern of religious teachings being involved is the #1 concern of everyone, including the CF.

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Re: Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2012, 22:01:24 »
Why not call it the "XXXX Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps (Buckham Singh)"? Surely any good faithful Sikh, especially the Canadian ones should know about him.

But as, Mr O'Leary says, the concern of religious teachings being involved is the #1 concern of everyone, including the CF.

Except for this part:

Quote
Caron said they’ve offered the group a number of alternative names they believe still celebrate Sikh heritage, like naming it after a prominent Sikh leader, veteran or community member.

But Sikh cadet corps founder and publisher of the South Asian Post, Harbinder Singh Sewak, said they weren’t familiar with any of the veterans names that were suggested.

“We don’t know any history about this guy so why put a name that doesn’t resonate or anything that has to do with the Sikh cadets at all,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense to me.”
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Offline PrairieThunder

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Re: Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2012, 22:11:23 »
Except for this part:

Would that not be incentive to LEARN about said person/veteran?  :facepalm: Excuses, excuses.

I never knew who "Grant McConachie" was in "810 Grant McConachie Squadron, Royal Canadian Army Cadets" until a friend of mine mentioned it. Many of those kids in that Squadron probably joined having no clue who he is.

Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2012, 22:27:11 »
I spent many of my more formative years attending beavers, cubs, then scouts, in the basements of a number of churches... I don't think it ever had any positive or negative effects on my current religious leanings...

Fair enough. It still is a big possibility. We've commented often enough on here about profs at colleges and universities pushing their beliefs (not necessarily religion) onto students. It's not outside the realm of possibility.


Quote
For what it's worth, those current religious leanings are "respectfully militant atheist", and as an avowed atheist, I think you're all blowing this a bit out of proportion...

I'm not all that against the idea honestly.   I think aboriginal corps are a great idea, but they strike me as less religious. 
I think having a Sikh cadet corps out of a Sikh temple might be pushing boundaries.
This may be too much of a side bar but I think it's a slippery slope.    How well do you think a Jewish corps out of a synagogue would jive in the same city with a Muslim corps out of a mosque?  Can you imagine the constant crap storm that would cause?
I'm sure the kids wouldn't care all that much but I wouldn't trust the parents or especially the supporters/organizers to be mature about it.

I still think there is a huge difference between highland units and something based from religion, even if it's a nice friendly one.  The question truly is would they be able to pull this off while remaining religiously neutral.

Quote
“We don’t know any history about this guy so why put a name that doesn’t resonate or anything that has to do with the Sikh cadets at all,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense to me.”
Right here they are singling out the Sikh cadets and making the corps about them and not about the cadets in general.

If what PrairieThunder said about them getting upset over a non-Sikh CO is accurate then that's another issue all together and indicative, in my opinion, of an unhealthy mindset.
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Offline PrairieThunder

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Re: Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2012, 22:38:18 »

If what PrairieThunder said about them getting upset over a non-Sikh CO is accurate then that's another issue all together and indicative, in my opinion, of an unhealthy mindset.

Well, they don't have a choice. It was one of the Conditions that RCSU(PAC) has put on to supporting the opening of this unit, they need someone there who knows what they're doing and to keep things in CADETS. The Major they have opted to send to that unit if it is opened is a very intelligent man that I have much respect for and would definitely keep everyone in line. It was just a sad thing to hear, 'tis all.

Offline MeatheadMick

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Re: Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2012, 22:53:02 »
Although I'm all for having cultural pride, if you are serving as a Cadet organization that should come first. If they choose to be a religion oriented group, rather than a military related organization that can be proud of Sikh heritage than perhaps they should be content with being a youth group beyond the limitations of the Cadet Corps. Having a cultural uniform vice a traditional Cadet uniform may as well be part of the problem.  Our serving Regular Force and Primary Reserve members wear the Canadian Forces uniform with a Sikh headdress.

If this organization wants to be associated with the Canadian Forces, as the Cadets are, they should follow suit. I originally believed that they were having hard-ships naming a Cadet unit after their community for recruiting purposes and cultural belonging, but this does seem the issue.  If religion plays so strongly in this aspect, I revoke my original statement, as I clearly misunderstood the intent.  The Aboriginal unit mentioned can not be compared the same, as it is obvious that they are Cadets first, with a similar cultural heritage, as I believed the Sikh unit was trying to be.

Interesting Topic!
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2012, 23:09:27 »
Although I'm all for having cultural pride, if you are serving as a Cadet organization that should come first. If they choose to be a religion oriented group, rather than a military related organization that can be proud of Sikh heritage than perhaps they should be content with being a youth group beyond the limitations of the Cadet Corps. Having a cultural uniform vice a traditional Cadet uniform may as well be part of the problem.  Our serving Regular Force and Primary Reserve members wear the Canadian Forces uniform with a Sikh headdress.

If this organization wants to be associated with the Canadian Forces, as the Cadets are, they should follow suit. I originally believed that they were having hard-ships naming a Cadet unit after their community for recruiting purposes and cultural belonging, but this does seem the issue.  If religion plays so strongly in this aspect, I revoke my original statement, as I clearly misunderstood the intent.  The Aboriginal unit mentioned can not be compared the same, as it is obvious that they are Cadets first, with a similar cultural heritage, as I believed the Sikh unit was trying to be.

Interesting Topic!

So how about the 'Junior Canadian Rangers (Sikh Contingent)'. The rest of the program seems to be fully dominated by one cultural group i.e., First NAtions/ Inuit, and could do with some balancing out.

http://www.jcr-rjc.ca/ove-ape/his/index-eng.asp

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Offline PrairieThunder

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Re: Surrey: Canadian military says no to 'Sikh cadet corps'
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2012, 23:15:03 »
So how about the 'Junior Canadian Rangers (Sikh Contingent)'. The rest of the program seems to be fully dominated by one cultural group i.e., First NAtions/ Inuit, and could do with some balancing out.

http://www.jcr-rjc.ca/ove-ape/his/index-eng.asp

Why does it have to be a "Sikh Contingent"? This is the problem I'm having. The JCR are not exclusive to only Aboriginals, it's ANYONE in Northern or Remote Canadian regions between 12-18 (and then there's the COATS/CIC staff).

If the Sikhs want to move north into remote communities that qualify for JCR, then they can open one/join one without all the "SIKH" overhead that they want to try it call it their own. It does not belong to them, or any one ethnic group in this country - it belongs to us all in equal parts.