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New Documentary Shows University Students Once Learned How To Be Canadians
iChannel, Monday December 8 @ 9.00pm EST
In a by-gone era, the bells at Canadian universities once rang out in
tribute for students in uniform, when young people received army, navy and
air force training on campus. Through the decisive decades of the 20th
Century, the programs of the Canadian Officers Training Corps (COTC)
produced leaders of business, politics and the military. Then, in 1968, the
COTC was suddenly abolished. "No Country For Young Men" revisits the
memories of Canada's lost tradition of university military training when
citizenship, leadership and service were part of a university education.
Interviews with prominent Canadians such as Peter C. Newman, Ed Broadbent,
Senator Bill Rompkey and the Hon. John Fraser reveal just how important and
formative were their experiences and memories of COTC training. New
Canadians, men and women, French and English - students at schools across
the country from University of British Columbia to Memorial in St. John's
joined the Canadian Officer's Training Corps and its naval and air force
affiliates, the University Naval Training Division (UNTD) and the University
Reserve Training Program (URTP). At the height of its success in the late
1950's there were over 5,000 officer cadets in the COTC alone at 28 colleges
and universities across Canada.
Participation, for which the student was paid, involved once a week and
occasional weekend as well as summer deployment with the branch of service
selected. In the UNTD you went to sea with the Navy - with the URTP there
were opportunities to fly and be posted to Air Force bases in France; COTC
officer cadets were posted around the country to train with the Army. There
was no obligation to enlist upon graduation. The participants got an
invaluable exposure to our country's military. The universities graduated
well rounded men and women who were destined to become the leaders of their
generation, and the military got advocates and allies amongst these future
leaders who now had a basic understanding and fondness for the military's
contribution to society.
In 1968 due to campus unrest over the war in Vietnam and unrelated military
decisions to cut costs, the COTC was abolished just as the universities were
expanding exponentially to accommodate the baby boom. The result was a
disconnection between the military and an entire generation of upper and
middle level Canadians who now run business, politics, and the universities
and the result was the abandonment of the citizen's responsibility for
national defence in a democratic society.
"No Country For Young Men" points to the loss of the COTC for this
lamentable situation and offers a solution to restore the connection.
Toronto's Stornoway Productions in association with the BREAKOUT EDUCATIONAL
NETWORK has released "No Country For Young Men" to be broadcast Dec 8 @ 9pm
on iChannel. The documentary is part of the Seven Year Project, a leadership
development initiative to reconnect Canadians with their military
For more information contact:
Robert Roy, Head of the Seven Year Project
(416) 923 1104