MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 25 May 12
- Afghanistan (1) New Canadian boss “Command of the Canadian Contribution Training Mission – Afghanistan (CCTM-A) was transferred from Major-General (Maj.-Gen) Michael Day to Maj.-Gen Jim Ferron during a small ceremony held today at Camp Phoenix, Kabul. Maj.-Gen Ferron will also be assuming the responsibility of the Deputy Commanding General of the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan (NTM-A) from Maj.-Gen Day. Maj.-Gen Day initially deployed in April 2011 as Deputy Commanding General Army – Combined Security Transition Command, and was appointed as Deputy Commanding General of NTM-A in October 2011, assuming responsibility for the growth and development of the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, Afghan Air Force, and Afghan Special Forces ….”
- Afghanistan (2) Terry Glavin on how Canada can REALLY help Afghanistan “…. Canada should act now to re-dedicate its meagre resources in Afghanistan and assert its influence in NATO to the purpose of shoring up the organic defences every civilized society requires to function — a literate population, emancipated women, the rule of law, a free press and fully free and fair elections. No matter what else happens in 2014, an election that produces a credible result is the only thing that will matter in the long run ….”
- Afghanistan (3) Noah Richler shares more details on his feelings about the Afghanistan mission “…. So what was Richler’s position about entering the war in the first place? “We did need to go in, we needed to stand by the United States, but I objected to the deliberate confusion of purposes that were being presented to us,” he said. “I don’t think that protecting our trade relationship with the United States, which was one of the reasons bandied about in the beginning, was a good reason to go in. And I’m sorry that … we have done a number of things that have confused our possibility of operating the kind of role we did before with the U.N., being a sort of mediating force, and offering some kind of alternative path. We’re part of the invading force in Afghanistan.” “
- “An official with the Royal Canadian Legion said she expects more Canadian veterans will die as a result of federal spending cuts on mental health services for soldiers. “I firmly believe that we’re going to see the numbers of suicide incidents increase and that is unacceptable,” Patricia Varga, the dominion president of the Royal Canadian Legion, told CBC News. …. The cuts come at a very bad time, said Varga. “We’ve had major heavy operational deployments over the years – to the Balkans, to Afghanistan – and we don’t know full extent of the cases of mental illness,” she said. “We don’t think it’s been felt, by any means, yet. It’s coming.” ….”
- F-35 Tug o’ War (1) Lockheed-Martin’s take to date: Canada’s buying the F-35 “F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin is warning that Canadian companies will lose out if the Conservative government decides not to purchase the stealth fighter. “Right now we will honour all existing contracts that we have,” Lockheed Martin vice-president Steve O’Bryan told Postmedia News on Thursday. “After that, all F-35 work will be directed into countries that are buying the airplane.” But O’Bryan also said his company has not received any indication Canada won’t buy the aircraft. “What we have is the official statement out of the government and we’re working with the government,” he said. “They’re committed to the F-35, they’ve selected it, and we haven’t had any change in that official position.” ….” In case you’ve forgotten, here’s the April 3, 2012 statement of the now-famous seven-step F-35 message withdrawal program (as compared to a somewhat more definitive statement a few weeks earlier)
- F-35 Tug o’ War (2) Associate Minister Fantino on his meeting with Italy’s Undersecretary of State for Defence Filippo Milone in Toronto: “Today, I met with Filippo Milone, Italy’s Undersecretary of State for Defence, to discuss and re-affirm our countries’ bi-lateral defence relationship. We agreed that our countries are important allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), with many common defence priorities. We each appreciate the support the other nation committed to NATO’s mission and Libya, and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Furthermore, we discussed our participation in the development of the Joint Strike Fighter program that has resulted in economic benefits for industry and skilled workers in our respective countries. While Canada is committed to sustaining the Canadian Forces’ fighter capability, we will not proceed with a decision to purchase any replacement aircraft until the seven points we have outlined have been implemented ….”
- What’s Canada Buying? (1) The latest on the Close Combat Vehicle project, via the latest CF Info-machine Backgrounder: “…. Following the conclusion of a Solicitation of Interest and Qualification (SOIQ), a Request for Proposals (RFP) was released to the Pre-Qualified Bidders. There were no technically compliant bids received in response to the original RFP. A second RFP was issued to the five Pre-Qualified Bidders in April 2012 and will close in August 2012. Contract award is expected in 2013 ….” An older short list of Pre-Qualified bidders available here (via Army.ca)
- What’s Canada Buying? (2) “…. (Search and Rescue) Course Director …. The Department of National Defence (DND) requires support at 426 Squadron (8 Wing, Trenton, Ontario) to conduct and administer ground, simulator and flying instructional functions (in Search and Rescue) for CC130H aircrew, particularly, but not limited to pilots ….”
- Way Up North (1a) When is a Canadian Forces Base not “a full-fledged military base”? When a Tory cabinet minister says so! “Ottawa is planning to turn 5 Wing Goose Bay into a full-fledged military base, according to Newfoundland and Labrador’s representative in the federal cabinet, Peter Penashue. In an interview for this week’s episode of On Point with David Cochrane, Penashue said Goose Bay will have a role to play in Canada’s Arctic sovereignty. He said that will mean a change in Goose Bay’s status. “Previous governments, Liberals, have never turned it into an operational base,” Penashue said. “It’s a station. It’s a satellite office. And we’re committed to turning 5 Wing Goose Bay into a full-fledged military base.” Pressed on when that may happen, Penashue said news will come soon. “We’ll be making announcements in the next several months,” the minister said. Penashue said a committee is looking for ways to expand the station. He said the beefed-up role will likely be related to the protection of Canada’s Arctic ….” - a bit more here. Funny, the RCAF Info-machine seems to think Goose Bay is a Canadian Forces BASE, not a Canadian Forces STATION like, say, Alert or St. John’s (which appears to be about 1/2 way ready)
- Way Up North (1b) Ah, Goose Bay appears to be a base after all…. “…. Penashue’s office issued a correction Thursday after the remarks were published and broadcast, noting that 5 Wing — also known as Canadian Forces Base Goose Bay — has the status of a base. Penashue’s office also said the minister’s comments about expected announcements on the expansion of 5 Wing still stand. Said a spokesman for Penashue: “5 Wing is not an operational base at present and that is something that our government and Minister Penashue are determined to see changed.” “ The bit in green intrigues me, considering the base is staffed and, therefore, must be doing some work. I guess we’ll have to wait until the Info-machine shares more.
- Way Up North (2) “A new documentary series, currently under production for Canada’s Aboriginal People’s Television Network, APTN, chronicles the activities of the little known Canadian Ranger Patrol Group 1 as they assert Canada’s sovereignty over the country’s Arctic region. The series is being filmed on the hauntingly beautiful barren landscape of Canada’s northern Nunavut territory ….”
- LOADS o’ cenotaph and memorial work being funded (and announced) by Canada – projects in Invermere and Langley, BC; in Blackfalds, Calgary, Drumheller and Edmonton, AB; in Morse, SK; East Ferris, Essex, Guelph/Eramosa, Ottawa (more), Parry Sound/northern Ontario, Roseneath and West Carleton/Dunrobin, ON; in Dorval, QC; in Outer Cove, NF; in Bass River, NS; and in Summerside, PE.
- “Prince Charles already has a long list of titles and names — including one in Cree — but now he is also the honorary commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The ceremonial title currently held by Queen Elizabeth— who is being promoted to Commissioner-in-Chief — came as the Prince of Wales and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, wrapped up a $750,000 three-day tour through as many provinces this week. “It was a wonderful surprise,” the prince said in a speech following a performance of the Regina Symphony Orchestra at the RCMP Academy on Wednesday night ….”
- Khadr Boy (1) If Sun Media has it right, the (potential) neighbours continue to be underwhelmed “Some Scarborough residents are planning a town hall meeting to rally the community and prevent terrorist Omar Khadr from returning to his east-end home. A number of Scarborough residents were meeting on Wednesday to plan against Khadr’s return to Canada in months after spending a decade in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for terrorism offences. “We need to have our voices heard,” said activist Shobie Kapoor, who has created an online petition calling for Khadr to stay away from Canada. “We are trying to find out what our options are when he (Khadr) returns to the community.” ….”
- Khadr Boy (2) QMI/Sun Media-commissioned survey says…. “The Tories will be at odds with the majority of Canadians – and almost 70% of their supporters – when they eventually allow convicted terrorist Omar Khadr back into Canada, a new poll shows. The Abacus Data survey into public opinion on Khadr, who pleaded guilty in 2010 to war crimes committed in Afghanistan when he was 15 years old, suggests 53% of Canadians view him as a security threat and shouldn’t be allowed back into the country. The Toronto-born Khadr, now 25, has been jailed at the US military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since he was captured in battle after killing US combat medic Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer with a grenade. “This might be an issue where the law and legal requirements don’t match up with public opinion,” Abacus CEO David Coletto said Thursday. Khadr signed a plea deal in 2010 that required him to serve eight years of a 40-year sentence. The Canadian government agreed at the time to look favourably on his transfer back to Canada after one year. But just 13% of Canadians strongly support his return while 32% are strongly opposed. “The intensity of opposition is much greater than the intensity of support,” Coletto said. “You see the same trend and pattern right across the country.” ….”
- ” “Government of Quebec, you have been warned.” The unmasked threat was part of an Anonymous video broadcast early Saturday, just as the international hacktivist collective brought down 13 Quebec government and police websites, as it officially launched #OpQuebec and brought the ongoing street protests online. On Wednesday, websites for the Quebec public safety ministry, the Liberal Party of Quebec, the Quebec coroner’s office and the Quebec police ethics commission remained out of order, or “under maintenance.” This, in retaliation for the government opting to “assassinate the right to protest by adopting an emergency law to try and stifle protests against the tuition hikes.” The video has since received more than 156,000 hits on YouTube. According to Commander X, one of the least anonymous Anons and an important organizer of its operations, the group has been discussing for two weeks whether to get involved in the situation in Quebec, as it did in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere last year. “The passing of ‘Special Law 78′ has merely added a sense of urgency and forced us to take immediate action,” said Commander X, whose real name is Christopher Doyon. Bill 78 makes it illegal to assemble, protest or picket outside universities and colleges, or anywhere in Quebec with more than 50 people without prior police approval ….”
- A bit of military history being recognized in Winnipeg “A ceremony at the Valour Road Commemorative Plaza this Sunday, May 27, will mark the completion of the recognition of a significant milestone in Winnipeg’s military history. Members of The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada, and The Royal Winnipeg Rifles will assemble at the Valour Road Commemorative Plaza (Sargent Avenue at Spruce Street) at 2 P.M. Sunday, to dedicate three bronze plaques honouring the lives and bravery of three soldiers. They were awarded the Victoria Cross for Valour during the First World War and all lived on the same street in Winnipeg, then known as Pine Street. Pine Street was later renamed Valour Road in honour of the three; Corporal Leo Clarke, Sergeant-Major Fredrick William Hall and Lieutenant Robert Shankland ….”
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