By MPP Bobbi Ann Brady
Ontario has just wrapped up Ontario Cadets Week for the second time. One of the
last bits of business for MPP Toby Barrett, prior to retirement, was to ensure Bill
45, An Act to proclaim Ontario Cadets Week became enshrined in law.
I think it’s great that, thanks to Toby Barrett, Ontario’s cadets now receive ongoing
recognition for their outstanding service to the province starting on the first
Saturday of every October.
And most of the Legislative Assembly felt the same way as Barrett’s bill received
all-party support. As Toby said at the time: “The cadets, together with thousands
of officers, instructors, and volunteers across Ontario, are highly deserving of
recognition for their major role delivering these excellent programs for young
Cheers to that.
This year Ontario Cadets Week started on October 7 and ran until October 13. The
week is celebrated in different ways across Ontario, but it puts the spotlight on
cadets, their programs, and volunteers as corps and squadrons begin their local
training programs in the fall.
Out of respect for our brave veterans past and present, the timing of recognizing
these young people guarantees there will be no interference with the excellent job
cadets do at Remembrance Day events and ceremonies in November.
The Cadet Program is open to everyone from ages 12 to 18 and focusses on
learning responsibility, leadership, physical fitness, teamwork, and good
citizenship. Those are all critical for a healthy and happy adulthood.
Fortunately, there are many Cadet Corps and Squadrons across the province. As
it’s written: The Air Cadet League, Ontario Provincial Committee; the Army Cadet
League of Canada (Ontario); and the Navy League of Canada, in partnership with
the Canadian Armed Forces, provide programs for air, army and sea cadets. There
are 238 Cadet Squadrons across Ontario with around 15,000 youth participating
each year. Cadets are not members of the Canadian Armed Forces and nor is
participation a prerequisite for military service.
For those who are even younger, The Navy League of Canada also sponsors the
Navy League Cadets, which is a separate program for youth aged nine to 12.
We have all seen cadets in our communities, and we are all aware that when we do
see them they are doing something good. They are community activists in the best
sense of the words. They have become one of the foundations of our province and
I have friends and family who have been cadets, and to a person they have nothing
but positive things to say about the program. Just as it’s billed, they all say the
program was a character builder and helped them gain skills that came in handy
later in life. I can attest that they are all solid citizens in adulthood!
No doubt, you’ll see a cadet in their uniform outside your local grocery store soon
and of course at local Remembrance Day services. Knowing all the benefits they
provide our community, perhaps make a donation, big or small, if you can. And if
you know a young person who would benefit from a cadets program, encourage
them to participate.
To our cadets, I thank you and salute you.
Bobbi Ann Brady is the MPP for Haldimand-Norfolk