MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 14 June 12
- Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird’s latest on Syria: “I am deeply disturbed by the dangerous escalation of violence in Syria …. We urge Russia and all members of the UN Security Council to come together and adopt tough binding sanctions against this reckless regime.”
- Some video of Canadian troops patrolling with Latvian troops in Exercise Saber Strike 2012 here and here
- Stuart Langridge, R.I.P. More from the Defence Minister in the House of Commons on the investigation into Langridge’s suicide “…. The Military Police Complaints Commission has received nothing but co-operation and compensation from this government with respect to this matter to get to the bottom of what really is a tragedy. It is for that reason that I met with Corporal Langridge’s mother and that we have been supportive of this process throughout. This process is now well under way. It is going to come to a conclusion. It will be instructive for the military as we go forward …. Why is information not being given? It is something called the Supreme Court of Canada, which has ruled repeatedly on the issue of solicitor-client privilege, which the member knows full well. Yet he chooses to be mendacious, to stand in the House of Commons and give false information in an ongoing process.”
- F-35 Tug o’ War “The Harper government is enlisting a former federal spending watchdog to add more credence to a promised rethink of which new fighter jet Canada should buy. The Conservatives have been scrambling to rescue their reputation for sound fiscal management after it emerged that the Department of National Defence selected the $25-billion F-35 jet with only the flimsiest of justifications. Denis Desautels is one of two independent experts Ottawa is hiring for the new government body that’s taking over the job of verifying whether the F-35 jet is the best choice for Canada. Mr. Desautels served as federal auditor-general between 1991 and 2001 …. Kenneth Norrie, an economic historian and professor of economics at McMaster University is also taking a seat on the National Fighter Procurement Secretariat. This is a new body set up in Public Works to take over responsibility for selecting a new fighter jet – a sign the Conservatives have lost faith in the defence department’s handling of the file ….” – more from QMI/Sun Media here.
- Big Honkin’ Ships (1) “The value of the Halifax Shipyard’s shipbuilding contract will absolutely not decrease, the federal government insists. Some military analysts have speculated the $35-billion shipbuilding procurement strategy — of which the largest contract, $25 billion, was awarded to Halifax in October — has hit a wall. No final contracts have been signed. This, combined with $2 billion being cut from the Defence Department budget, has fuelled speculation that the shipbuilding project will be scaled back. But a government employee directly involved in the shipbuilding negotiations said the value of the work will not go down. “Absolutely not,” said the staffer, who asked not to be named. “I’m not aware of any change in the size or scope of the project, and believe me, I would be aware.” ….”
- Big Honkin’ Ships (2) Column: “That hissing sound you hear may be some of the air coming out of a balloon of exuberance pumped up in Halifax since Irving Shipbuilding was approved to build combat ships for the federal government. Winning the right to bid for the naval shipbuilding contract and having a definitive contract in hand to actually build the ships are ostensibly separate matters …. Maintaining a positive business atmosphere while contract talks continue is probably a good thing, despite the recent negative talk. But it is also very important that construction starts as soon as possible.”
- Public hearings today in Gatineau on how much military judges should be paid
- Ooopsie…. “The Department of National Defence violated Canada’s official languages law by closing a library at a Quebec recruitment school that was serving the minority English-language community in a region south of Montreal, says a new report released by the federal government’s language watchdog. The department decided to shut down the General Jean V. Allard Commemorative library in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., due to budget cuts on Sept. 30, 2010, replacing it with an Educational Resources Centre for military and civilian personnel and for students at the Land Force Quebec 5 Area Support Group. The department made no public consultations or announcement of the decision. As a result, it eliminated public access to the library that first opened in 1971 at the Saint-Jean Garrison ….”
- Remembering some of terrorism’s victims from the 1970′s in the House of Commons yesterday: - “Hon. Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among all parties, and I believe that if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move: That the House offer its support for a moment of silence to be held at the 2012 London Olympics in memory of those killed 40 years ago in the tragic terrorist events of the 1972 Munich Olympics wherein 11 Israeli athletes were murdered.” The motion carried.