Spotlight Lieutenant-Commander Alan W, Cann

Updated 2021-09-04

Squadron you belonged to as a cadet: #43 RCSCC Impregnable, Regina SK


Squadron or gliding site you currently serve: Officer Commanding Central Prairie Area 


  • What is one of your most memorable moments either as a cadet or working with cadets? 
    • The highlight of my years spent as a Sea Cadet in the ’70s was being granted the privilege of attending a ship deployment in HMCS Saskatchewan with the Royal Canadian Navy. This deployment, when I was in Grade 10 in High School, integrated me in the Deck Department (seamanship) in the Ship on a training cruise down the west coast of North America.  Manning the distance line on RAS (Replenishment at Sea) in 40-foot seas where the spray freezes on contact with your body or relaying ammunition from the ship’s magazine to the 3” gun on the destroyer, and seeing ports in the United States and Mexico were incredible experiences for a prairie guy of 16 years of age.  


  • Can you tell us about your career? 
    • I joined the Cadet Instructor Cadre (CIC) at the age of 19 and have worked extensively with all three elements, Army Cadet Corps and Sea Cadet Corps in Regina, and Air Cadet Summer Training Centres during the summer months.  For the last 30 years, I have been employed by the Regional Cadet Support Unit out of Winnipeg in a variety of positions such as: Provincial Music, Marksmanship, and Biathlon Coordinator, Regional Cadet Music Advisor, Regional Common Training Officer, Training Support Officer, Officer in Charge Common Training, Administration Officer, and for the past five years, the Officer Commanding the Cadet Program in Central Prairie Area.


  • What skills have you learned through cadets? 
    • As a shy young man, the Cadet program has helped me find my voice.  My confidence to speak to, and lead groups of people of a variety of backgrounds is directly attributable to my time as a cadet.  Additionally, my time as a cadet taught me how to analyze problems and implement action plans to solve issues. 


  • What advice do you have for current or future cadets? 
    • Take advantage of every opportunity that you can within the Air Cadet Program and don’t be in a hurry to choose employment over learning as a cadet.  You have your whole life to work, but you can only participate in cadet courses until you are 19. Also, don’t assume that your desire to participate is enough to earn the spot.  You must put a great deal of effort into earning your positions and that, in and of itself, carries an obligation to “give something back” in some way to Canadian Society.


  • What types of volunteer service do you do in your community? 
    • Being a Sea Cadet and a Gold Award holder of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has instilled in me the need to continually offer my time and talent to my community in many ways.  I have been a volunteer with the ALS Society of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, canvassed for the Heart and Stroke Fund and the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal served on church parish and synod councils, and community band boards in Winnipeg and Saskatoon.  I am currently the Treasurer of the Saskatoon Brass Band and the Vice President of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Saskatchewan.


  • What was the most important lesson cadets taught you?
    • None of your perceived obstacles in your life (physical, social, financial, emotional) will stand in your way of achieving what you want if you are prepared to work hard for that goal.  The world doesn’t owe you a fulfilling life, but you do owe something to the world and every small contribution you make to make your community a better place, makes the world a better place.


  • What advice would you give adults wanting to volunteer with cadets or become an officer?
    • Being an Officer in the Cadet Instructor Cadre has given me an extraordinary life full of diverse experiences.  All of you who enroll in the CIC will be able to contribute to society in ways that are becoming more critical with the challenges that we are facing on the globe in the years ahead. Indeed, you will have opportunities of service that I can’t even predict, but I know that society NEEDS what our program has to offer and they also NEED you to serve.