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Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 9 Mar 12

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  • Conservative Nanaimo-area MP James Lunney speaks out in House of Commons on Reservist attack:  “Mr. Speaker, something happened on Tuesday that sparked outrage in Nanaimo and across the country. About 10:40 in the evening, a young Canadian Forces reservist was waiting for a bus. He was in uniform when he was attacked without warning and without provocation by a young assailant with a knife. Although his throat was slashed, he was able to summon help from a nearby restaurant. He was treated by paramedics, stitched up in hospital and has been released. While we are all relieved that the reservist will make a full recovery, news of the attack has shocked our community. Canadians are proud of the fine men and women who serve in our armed forces. The Nanaimo regiment is part of the Canadian Scottish Regiment. Reservists train one night a week and one weekend a month. Many of our reservists have volunteered for overseas deployment in places like Bosnia, the Middle East, Africa and for our current mission in Afghanistan. They have aided in domestic crises like the B.C. forest fires, the Manitoba flood and the Ontario and Quebec ice storm. Nanaimo citizens are proud of our reservists. We are calling for anyone with information to assist police in bringing this cowardly assailant to face the justice he deserves.”
  • Changes to military search and rescue rules out east, CF Info-machine version:  “At the request of the Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Peter MacKay, the Canadian Forces conducted a review of Canadian Forces protocols with regards to Ground Search and Rescue. The legal authority for Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR), including the response for missing or lost persons, belongs to provincial and territorial governments, and as such, the Canadian Forces reviewed its protocols in consultation with partner agencies. The review is now complete and the Department of National Defence has amended the protocol for its participation in support of Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) operations. The amended protocol provides an additional layer of diligence, with all parties agreeing to implement a military feedback mechanism, to increase direct communications between agencies, to enhance situational awareness and to improve communication between GSAR partners ….”
  • Changes to military search and rescue rules out east, plain English:  “The Department of National Defence is changing how the military handles search and rescue calls following the tragic death of a teenage Labrador snowmobiler. Military officials will no longer wait for a call back from anyone needing assistance in a search ….”  More media here.
  • Remember last August’s Fixed Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) “Industry Day” as (an early) part of the process of replacing older Buffalo and Hercules aircraft?  It appears the CF has gotten back to the companies who were interested:  The Harper government’s plan to buy new fixed-wing search-and-rescue planes has been pushed off until next year, The Canadian Press has learned.  Despite years of study and preparation, National Defence has postponed until the spring of 2013 issuing a tender call to replace nearly 50-year-old C-115 Buffalos and C-130 Hercules transports, many of which are in their third decade of service.  The procurement branch of the military has notified companies interested in bidding that it will carry out “consultations” over the next 12 months, and there will be workshops to outline expectations …. A senior defence official, who asked not to be identified, said the specifications are now wide. Companies will be asked to submit proposals that demonstrate their aircraft will be able to cover the country’s three search-and-rescue geographic sectors; carry survival and life-saving gear; possess a rear-loading ramp; and be able to conduct operations within a 15-hour crew day.  The specifications would require the winning bidder to provide a single aircraft to be on stand by in each sector 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The parameters are so broad they even leave it up to the companies to suggest where the planes should be based.  Taken together the requirements have led to speculation the federal government is prepared to farm out fixed-wing search-and-rescue, possibly as an alternative service delivery contract ….”
  • Next step for FWSAR?  ANOTHER industry get-together!  This from MERX “The Government of Canada is now ready to resume industry engagement on FWSAR and will start by holding an Industry Workshop on April 11, 2012. For this workshop, attendance will be restricted to companies who can identify themselves and can attest their capability of playing a significant role in the context of the Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue as an aircraft provider, or as a Canadian in-service support integrator ….”  Full posting here (3 page PDF) if link doesn’t work, and more in the “Industry Engagement Rules” (9 page PDF) here.
  • What’s Canada Buying?  Snack cakes for CFB Bagotville – breakdown of treats (most popular by quantity:  Jos. Louis) desired here (Excel spreadsheet).
  • It appears the NDP read Postmedia Newsthis from Question Period yesterday“Ms. Christine Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives often use a company that is known for having killed many civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan for training our troops. Blackwater’s past was so dark and its image so bad that it had to change its name to Xe. Xe has become the Conservatives’ company of choice for training our soldiers. The government uses its services regularly on untendered contracts. Why is there no call for tenders when the government hires a foreign private company to train our troops? Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of National Defence, CPC): As always, Mr. Speaker, that is not true. Academi has facilities in North Carolina that offer a number of technical ranges that we do not have here in Canada. We contract facilities for short periods of time as a most cost-effective means of investing in our troops for training, as opposed to building fixed expensive infrastructure here in Canada. We use these technical ranges for specialized skill enhancement, such as defensive driving. We continue to invest in ensuring that we have the best trained forces in the world ….”  A bit more of the same on the link.
  • Still a bit of resistance to letting go of land north of CFB Trenton for a major base expansion for a new base (“they” say) for JTF-2  “A Quinte West family has filed an objection with the federal government in a last-ditch effort to save its ancestral farm from expropriation. “We’re are going to fight this the best we can,” John Meyers told QMI Agency Tuesday. His father, Frank Meyers, has vowed to fight the expropriation of 220 acres of farm land located on the south side of Meyers Creek Road. The feds finally moved in February to begin the expropriation process on the few remaining properties needed to build a massive training facility at the north end of Canadian Forces Base Trenton ….”  More on the history of the land issues since 2007 here (via Army.ca)
  • Afghanistan (1)  Canadian Senators agree to have the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence “examine and report on the status of, and lessons learned, during Canadian Forces operations in Afghanistan”, with a final report ready no later than December 31, 2012.
  • Afghanistan (2)  How Canada made out selling their no-longer-needed stuff while getting out of Kandahar  “Private companies managed to wring major deals out of the Canadian military in the months leading up to the end of the combat mission in Afghanistan, purchasing nearly $2 million worth of equipment in Kandahar for less than $100,000, internal defence department documents show. Another $3.8 million worth of baseball gloves, computers, armoured SUVs and other supplies that couldn’t be sold ended up being donated or destroyed. The documents are part of a briefing package prepared for Defence Minister Peter MacKay and cover the period from June 1, 2011 to Oct. 15, 2011. The totals do not include items that were sold, donated or destroyed from Oct. 16 to Dec. 12, when the last Canadian troops left Kandahar airfield ….”
  • Afghanistan (3a)  “Statement of the Embassy of Canada in Afghanistan to Commemorate International Women’s Day”
  • Afghanistan (3b)  “Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and Rona Ambrose, Minister for Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, today issued the following statement: “March 8 is International Women’s Day. This day celebrates the achievements of women around the world, and focuses on what must be done to achieve greater equality ….”
  • “Minister Of National Defence Statement On The Occasion Of International Women’s Day”
  • Syria  Tory Senator Hugh Segal says it’s time Canada should do something military  “…. Canada should act in concert with our Turkish, American and Arab League partners, and seek a substantive joint military engagement, preferably with Arab nations in the lead, in defence of the people of Syria and their right to self-determination ….”  Caveat:  let’s remember Libya, where the “good guys” might not be all that good after all….
  • Mark Collins on why Chief of Defence Staff Walt Natynczyk was visiting China
  • As the U.K. mourns six killed in Afghanistan this week, this blogger, a former Ministry of Defence staffer, is underwhelmed with the media’s behaviour:  “…. The author feels an immense sense of frustration today – not at the news, for that is a tragedy, but instead at the manner in which the media have conducted themselves. To his mind there is something deeply ghoulish about the way that the media have spent the entire day whipping up a frenzy of coverage over these deaths – chopping to different reporters at different times, merging speculation, with rumour, with idle gossip and a small sprinkling of fact. This has been a great day in their eyes – a tragic story with death, merged with the passing of a self imposed figure of total casualties. No doubt tonight the evening news shows will be full of people debating the wisdom of the war, the value of the operation, and whether the sacrifices paid by our troops was worth it. No doubt tomorrow the papers will be full of that combination of tributes, merged with analysis of the Warrior IFV, doubtless researched by a junior hack on Wikipedia who thinks the Warrior is in fact a tank. There will be breathless commentary from retired officers, demands that something must be done, conspiracies linking this to other events, and a general sense that a bad thing has happened. There is a media feeding frenzy going on here – Humphrey was repulsed at the sight of a reporter going ‘I’m not sure if it was an anti-tank mine, or a large Taleban roadside bomb’. The media are so desperate for a story, any story, that their humanity and basic common decency appears to have been sold out in a desire to come up with ever more sensational headlines and fill the large gaps of airtime demanded of a 24 hour rolling news channel. Personally Humphrey would really like to run up to a lot of these reporters, shake them by the shoulders and shout at them to STOP ….”
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  1. [...] Good grief but this acquisition (a major CF priority in 2004!) has been cursed. At MILNEWS.ca: [...]


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