MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – August 6, 2012
- “Federal cuts are threatening the future of a program that hires veterans who have been medically discharged from the Canadian Forces, according to a Liberal senator. “It is a program that’s in trouble,” says Percy Downe, who was so worried about the fate of the program he wrote Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his ministers asking why they weren’t doing more to support the program. In a letter to Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq CBC News obtained through the Access to Information Act, Downe writes, “I urge you to instruct your deputy minister to follow the spirit and intent of the regulation and appoint qualified medically released veterans … to employment in your federal government department.” The priority hiring program for Canadian Forces veterans discharged due to physical or psychological injuries was introduced in 2005 as part of the Veterans Charter. RCMP officers were also included in the program, but most participants are vets. According to a CBC News analysis of statistics from the Public Service Commission, the federal body responsible for administering the program, Health Canada has hired nine people on the priority list, well behind National Defence, the Correctional Service of Canada and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. Of the nearly 1,000 people who found jobs through the program, National Defence hired 73 per cent of them. Nine federal employers, including the Privy Council Office, haven’t hired anyone ….” Kudos to CBC for sharing at least some of the documents in question here and here – more from the Public Service Commission of Canada here, and some discussion over at Army.ca here.
- Meanwhile, what’s up with Canada supporting vets? “On behalf of the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification) (on Saturday) joined Veterans, Canadian Forces members, community leaders, and members of the public for the opening ceremony of the Canada Remembers Our Heroes Tribute. The event honours the contributions of Veterans and pays tribute to fallen Canadian Forces members. Veterans Affairs Canada has contributed up to $8,000 to this event through the Community Engagement Partnership Fund ….”
- Way Up North More on OP Nanook underway “The Canadian Forces have set up camp outside Inuvik, N.W.T., for the annual summer Arctic exercise Operation Nanook. Last week, Maj.-Gen. Christine Whitecross, the Canadian Forces’ chief military engineer, inspected the camp which was put together in 10 days. “What I look for are systems that are efficient,” she said. “Design that makes sense so we’re not creating something unsustainable. Comfort is nice, but it’s a low priority. Efficiency, effectiveness and ability to operate.” ….”
- The City of Halifax appears to be working more closely with the CF for emergency preparedness “Halifax is no stranger to emergency and crisis in recent years: hurricane Juan in September 2003, the blizzard of February 2004; and even the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon caused airliners to be rerouted to Canadian airports, including Halifax International. The many situations that could constitute an emergency or a crisis for the Halifax Regional Municipality prompted municipal authorities to take advantage of a military exercise to practise and refine their procedures and processes to meet the challenges of a major emergency. The Halifax Emergency Response Exercise (HEREX) began early on Wednesday, June 27, at HRM’s Emergency Operations Centre in Dartmouth. The exercise design team put the municipality’s senior elected and administrative staff through their paces. “The military exercise gave HRM an opportunity to dovetail with the military in rehearsing and validating how we meet emergencies and crises,” explains HRM’s manager of public affairs, Shaune MacKinlay. “This allowed us to build and confirm partnerships with other players in emergency management, including DND, Public Safety Canada, Nova Scotia Emergency Management Office, Capital District Health Authority, Emergency Health Service and the municipality.” ….”
- No more trespassing for YOU (in B.C.)! “The majority of Nanaimo’s most popular recreational spots used by mountain bikers, hikers, swimmers and all-terrain vehicles are on private property. In July, Canada’s Department of National Defence announced they would step up patrols, replace no trespassing signs and barbed wire and hand out fines to those found trespassing on their Nanaimo rifle range. A new, six-foot high fence topped with barbed wire, around DND’s property line would permanently seal off some of Nanaimo’s oldest and most popular trails behind Westwood Lake, including the very popular Westwood Ridges. This area is supposed to be off limits because its within the danger zone boundary of the active rifle range, outlined by the DND. Richard Harding, City of Nanaimo director of parks, recreation and culture, will meet with the DND to discuss the boundary lines and access issues behind Westwood Lake next week ….”
- Some media relations advice from a newspaper responding to this fracas “…. She was upset the lead of the story referred to her as MacKay’s wife. But her name started the second paragraph, which was also just the second sentence of the story. And she was upset with the headline: Time to bring Khadr home: defence minister’s wife. Now, full disclosure: The Guardian is owned by the same company that owns this newspaper. But really, our view would be the same regardless: as the wife of a prominent government figure, you should know the rules of engagement when you speak to the media. If it comes out of your mouth, it may appear in a story. A journalist isn’t speaking to you to pass the time, or because s/he likes you – they’re doing their job and want a story to write based on the conversation you’re having. You will be described in the story in the terms most meaningful to readers. Nazanin Afshin-Jam means less to readers than “wife of the defense minister,” regardless of how you wish to be known. When you say controversial things, they will probably be the focus of the story. If you want the story to be about your one cause – promoting a book, for example – only say interesting things about that one subject ….” Media Relations 101, straight from the horse’s mouth.