MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – August 1, 2012
- Interesting development – still no settlement on the court-mandated SISIP issue for wounded warriors, but someone’s been appointed to wrestle a deal to the ground “The Government of Canada today announced the appointment of Professor Stephen J. Toope, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of British Columbia (UBC), as federal representative in negotiations to resolve the Manuge class action, regarding the long term disability benefits to former members of the Canadian Forces (CF) …. If a settlement of the class action is reached between the parties, it will need to be approved by the Federal Court.” More from the mainstream media here and here.
- Meanwhile, “Dennis Manuge’s medals are back where they belong. Three years ago, the Musquodoboit Harbour resident, frustrated by what he viewed as a lack of support for veterans, packed up his medals and sent them to then-governor general Michaelle Jean. It was not a decision Manuge made lightly, but he was disillusioned and felt his government had abandoned him …. The case to which Manuge refers is the five-year legal battle he was at the centre of to get the government to stop the clawback of long-term benefits for veterans. A Federal Court ruled in favour of Manuge in May and not long after that the defence and veterans affairs ministers announced they would not appeal. The decision could see the return of up to $500 million deducted from veterans over a 30-year period. Following the announcement from the ministers, Manuge wrote to Gov. Gen. David Johnston requesting the return of his medals (the office of the governor general has a policy to hold medals indefinitely). Manuge said Monday he partly expected to one day be reunited with his medals, which include the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal, the NATO Medal for Former Yugoslavia and the Diamond Jubilee Medal …. Manuge has asked someone who disagreed with his returning the medals to be the one to officially replace them on his chest….”
- “To further support Canadians who have dedicated themselves to serving their country, the Government is launching the Transitional Housing and Supports for Homeless Veterans pilot project to help veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The announcement was made today by the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs …. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, through the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, is providing over $1.9 million in funding for this project and Veterans Affairs Canada is providing in-kind contributions totaling $1.85 million …. This pilot project is based on a successful program that was launched in the United Kingdom, where the government provides support that is based on veteran-centred principles. A key component of the project is a focus on providing a structured, military-like environment in the housing facilities. Central to this environment includes the implementation of peer support, where veterans use their experience to help other veterans …. This important partnership project is being carried out in four cities across Canada: Toronto, Ontario; London, Ontario; Calgary, Alberta; and Victoria, British Columbia.” More from mainstream media here, here and here.
- “Aboriginal people are traditionally under-represented in the military and the Canadian Forces should carefully consider its approach to more successful recruitment, says a military expert. The challenges of recruiting within this population range from structural issues — such as the requirement that an applicant have a high school diploma and no criminal record — to longstanding issues over land claims, said Christian Leuprecht, an associate professor in political science at the Royal Military College of Canada and at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. “It goes beyond having an effective recruitment ad. It requires an entire strategy that goes beyond the CF to figure out how to forge more effective linkages with that community,” Leuprecht said. “I’m a little concerned that we’re neither moving at the pace nor with the strategical attention that’s required to remedy the demographic shortcomings of under-representation of those groups.” …. There is an argument for providing more training for those potential recruits who show potential but don’t make the academic cut, Leuprecht said. A few million dollars could mean taking a promising group of people from under-represented groups and giving them an extra year of training, he said. But, he noted, in a tight fiscal environment that’s money that then can’t be spent on other things ….“
- Latest anonymous tidbits in the “Who’s going to be the next CDS?” race “A high-level committee has been interviewing candidates to take over the reins of Canada’s military even as questions swirl over how quickly Prime Minister will replace General Walter Natynczyk, the man who holds the post now. Natynczyk met recently with the prime minister, but the timing of his departure was “not resolved,” a source said. Harper did commit to give Natynczyk plenty of advance notice when a successor is chosen. However, a panel of senior officials, including the deputy minister of defence, has been meeting with potential candidates to serve as the next chief of defence staff. “It’s a very closely guarded secret as to who they are ready to recommend,” said a source familiar with the process. Several senior officers are potential contenders. Vice-Admiral Bruce Donaldson, is vice-chief of defence staff — number two in the chain of command — and previously headed Canada Command, which oversees the military’s domestic operations. Vice-Admiral Paul Maddison, now the head of the Royal Canadian Navy, is said to be a leading contender. Another name is Lieutenant-General Tom Lawson, a former fighter pilot who is the deputy commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado Springs ….” – more in the Toronto Star here.
- Good call…. “A Canadian television station has scrapped its plans for the Canadian debut of a controversial film based upon the crimes of killer Russell Williams. The Movie Network (TMN) had planned to broadcast An Officer and a Murderer in August. The controversial Canadian-made production aired in the U.S. July 21. Spokeswoman Deborah Wilson said in an e-mail to QMI Agency the network pulled the movie after controversy erupted following the U.S. showing. “…After reviewing some of the media coverage prompted by the movie’s airing in the U.S., we agreed that the title may not be appropriate for our network at this time,” said Wilson, vice-president of publicity for Astral Media Inc, TMN’s parent company. The movie has been pulled from the schedule in the near-term and may or may not air in the future, she said. That decision would “most likely” not be made until 2013 ….”
- Way Up North Make beer, not war “An Alberta liquor store is offering a solution to the territorial dispute between Canada and Denmark over Hans Island, a tiny Arctic rock: beer-bottle diplomacy. In a joint Canada-Denmark corporate pairing, a specially brewed Danish beer called “Hans Across the Water” arrives this week for a Canada-only release. Featuring a colourful label of a sandy-haired Dane reaching across the ocean to pour a beer for a bespectacled Canadian, its slogan is: “Make Beer Not War.” “Our intention is to invite both prime ministers to stop acting like bloody fools, sit down like men over beer and hammer this out,” said Jim Pettinger, purchasing manager at Edmonton’s Sherbrooke Liquor Store, which boasts the largest selection of beer in Canada. “It can be solved very simply but when you get lawyers and diplomats involved nothing is simple,” he said. “Even if our respective countries could not come to an agreement here, we could.” ….” – more here.
- “CSIS would do well to look closely at budding business links between First Nations in Canada and Chinese companies, says a former operative for Canada’s spy service. “A lot of natural resources and a lot of the things (China is) looking for, the First Nations are sitting on them,” said Michel Juneau-Katsuya, who now heads up security consultancy Northgate Group. “So they’re going to try and make deals directly with them.” CSIS (the Canadian Security Intelligence Service) has refused comment following media reports that as early as 2010 it had probed dealings between B.C.’s Kaska Nation and Silvercorp, a Canadian miner with strong Chinese connections …. Canada’s relationship with China is warming up despite a 2010 warning from CSIS Director Richard Fadden that included hints Beijing was trying to influence Canadian politicians. “How much influence are we getting?” asks Juneau-Katsuya. “Who is running the show?” He contends the Conservatives¹ embrace of China means the party should change its colours to red with a yellow star a blunt reference to China’s flag. Meanwhile, a former Pentagon official warns CNOOC¹s growing oilsands presence creates strategic worries. “The real issue here is that China is using this oil to propel its military build-up,” Jed Babbin told QMI Agency. “What they do with trying to invest in Canadian assets is to control the flow of the oil.”