A local MP joined members of the Armed Forces at one of the British Army’s training bases on the Canadian prairies as part of a scheme to help parliamentarians better understand the realities of life in the armed forces.
The British Army Training Unit Suffield—or BATUS—is located at a vast site on a prairie near Calgary. Its huge size and lack of neighbours for miles means that the British Army isn’t restricted in its training like it is at other sites in the United Kingdom, like Salisbury Plain.
During the visit, the MP followed an armoured battle group as it launched an attack on enemies during a live firing training exercise. He also spoke with the families of service personnel who move out to join their spouses, often at short notice, to this remote part of Canada. BATUS is entirely self-contained, with a school and shops and there are currently families from all over the UK, including Bolton, living there.
Chris Green commented: “Our Armed Forces have training bases all over the world because it is important that our troops are able to train in different conditions and climates in preparation for operational tours.
“The quality of the British Armed Forces is due to their rigorous training and also the command and control on deployment. This means that we have an effective fighting force which ultimately means that our military is a potent deterrent to potential aggressors.
“I was struck by the sacrifices British families at BATUS make. Those who are posted there are sent for two years, often with very little warning and this can mean partners having to move their entire families across the Atlantic in order to support their spouses.”
Whilst in Canada, the MP met with representatives from the High Commission and discussed the UK’s trade relationship with Canada following our vote to leave the EU.
The MP added: “The meeting was very positive and I’m optimistic that once we are free from the EU’s rules and regulations that have seen the delay of other trade deals, we will forge our own relationships with other countries such as Canada.
“I was surprised to hear that, with Canada’s strong provincial system of government, there can be greater differences within Canada than there is within the EU – it does not stop Canada from being incredibly successful as a country and shows that we do not need a one size fits all approach.”