Many militia bands rely heavily on civilian volunteers. You’d think they would encourage these dedicated people. The Canadian Forces; however, seem to go out of their way to discourage its volunteers.

At a recent event, an eastern Ontario pipe band who support and represent our local militia was asked to pipe the final leg of a re-enactors’ commemoration of the historic 104th Regiment of Foot’s 1813 march from Fredericton to Kingston. The event was on a Friday. Six pipes and three drums volunteered and made the trip; many taking a vacation do to attend.

Before the volunteers could board the bus (a school bus hired by the unit) we had to sign that we would not hold the country, military, its personnel nor agents responsible for anything that may happen during the trip. In other words the volunteers would become responsible (just for showing up) for any harm no-matter how nor by whom it was caused.

We gathered at the local Armour at 11 A.M; we boarded the bus at approximately 11:30 and arrived at CFB Kingston a little after 14:00. After tuning and instructions, the parade marched off from CFB Kingston at 15:00 and was 2 km long. At the end of the parade there was a 45 minute formal ceremony, inspection and speeches.

Although we were invited to a post event reception we were rushed back onto the bus to start the trip back to Cornwall. We reached Cornwall at about 19:30.

Accompanying the band was a militia honour guard. They did not have to sign a waiver, were on a paid assignment and as the event ran over two regular meal times, qualified for meal allowances. The volunteers; however, were out of pocket for our any meals purchased.

How does the military encourage its musician volunteers?

• First by making them responsible for any harm no-matter how caused just because they volunteered, and on top of that
• by requiring them to supply their own nourishment on an eight and a half hour event.

Makes you wonder about volunteering for the Canadian armed forces doesn’t it

The Plaidneck