MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – August 25, 2012
- Way Up North (1a) “Prime Minister Stephen Harper today visited the site of Operation NANOOK 12, an annual operation in the North aimed at exercising Canadian sovereignty, and participated in an emergency response simulation. He was joined by Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and General Walter Natynczyk, Chief of Defence Staff …. Led by Canada Command, Operation NANOOK 12 supports a key objective of Canada’s Northern Strategy: to protect and defend Canadian sovereignty. Operation NANOOK 12 is a joint Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Air Force and Special Forces operation, which works with other federal departments and provincial, territorial, regional and international partners, in order to provide a visible presence in the Arctic and demonstrate Canada’s ability to respond to emergency situations in the region. It builds upon previous NANOOK operations conducted every summer since 2007, primarily in the eastern and high Arctic ….”
- Way Up North (1b) And how did Canada’s Special Forces make a public appearance? “…. The Prime Minister’s Office encouraged the military to have JTF-2 involved in Operation Nanook, and asked the military to allow the media to watch the unit in action. When asked if the Canadian public could expect more displays given how Friday’s event went, Thompson said: “I don’t think that’s necessarily the conclusion I would make.” ….” Unless PMO “encourages” or “asks” again, I guess – more on on JTF-2′s public performance here, here and here.
- Way Up North (1c) “…. Prime Minister Stephen Harper indicated that military spending in the North will continue, despite projects either being behind schedule or over budget …. Boosting Canada`s military capabilities in the Arctic has been a focus for Harper on his previous six summer tours of the North, with announcements made under the banner of protecting and enforcing Canadian sovereignty over our Arctic territory. However, many of the projects Harper has announced have either been delayed or scaled back. Rather than three armed icebreakers, the federal government is building one _ the John Diefenbaker _ and opted instead for a series of armed Arctic patrol vessels. “We are taking the time to make sure we get this right, that we spend the right amount of money and we develop this kind of shipbuilding expertise in Canada in the long-term, not just for the Arctic offshore patrol vessels, but also for the polar-class icebreaker,” Harper said Thursday in Cambridge Bay when asked about the military spending. “It`s critical that we be capable for all kinds of purposes, not just direct military purposes, (but) sovereignty purposes, research, and search and rescue and other things to be able to access all of our Arctic at all times of the year.” ….”
- Way Up North (1d) Counterpoint from the Liberals “The Prime Minister’s annual trip to Canada’s North is always tough for me because it never deals with the real problems facing the North. Watching the television coverage, I find it difficult to understand why the Prime Minister has a chuckling smile on his face amid the serious challenges facing our Northern peoples ….”
- Next CDS: Whoozit gonna be? “There were strong signals Friday that Canada’s chief of the defence staff is on the verge of leaving his post. While speaking to Canadian Forces troops taking part in annual summer exercises up north, both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Defence Minister Peter MacKay sounded like they were bidding farewell to Gen. Walt Natynczyk. Harper cut away from his prepared remarks at the close of Operation Nanook to thank Natynczyk for his years of service. “Let me use this opportunity in front of so many of your people here to thank you and congratulate you on over four years of fine service as chief of the defence staff of Canada,” Harper said. After Harper’s speech, MacKay took the podium to publicly salute Natynczyk’s dedication to the military. “He has a keen understanding of our vision for the North, a strong determination to tackle Arctic defence challenges and an unflagging motivation to work alongside others and bring the government strategy to fruition,” MacKay said. “By all estimations, by all measures, he is one of the best leaders in our country today.” ….” Except when he takes a plane to interrupt leave to attend the repatriation of six soldiers and a journalist, right?
- More on Russia working with NORAD from the NORAD Info-machine “The Russian Federation Air Force and the North American Aerospace Defense Command will conduct their third cooperative air defence exercise from Aug. 27 to 29, 2012. The exercise, named Vigilant Eagle, involves Russian Federation Air Force, Canadian Forces and U.S. Air Force personnel operating from command centres in Russia and the United States. This exercise began as an initiative the United States had been pursuing, jointly with the Russian military, to transform their relationship and improve cooperation. It was authorized under a cooperative military agreement signed by the presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States of America. The agreement tasked NORAD, the bi-national U.S. and Canadian command, and the Russian Federation Air Force to conduct a live-fly exercise ….”
- Libya Nice try, guys…. “Three ex-diplomats from Libya claimed refugee status in Canada last year after being declared persona non grata and ordered to leave the country, CBC News has learned. The immigration cases are listed in quarterly reports compiled by the Department of Foreign Affairs Office of Protocol that track incidents involving alleged or suspected criminal activity involving diplomats, their family members and staff. Summaries of diplomatic brushes with the law range from child sex assault, domestic abuse and impaired driving to making late-night party noise and shoplifting. There are also “debt cases” – including one where an embassy was in arrears for residential rent payments, but the report suggested diplomatic immunity would likely prevent eviction. Immunity allows individuals with diplomatic status to avoid lawsuits and prosecution in the host country ….”
- Ooopsie…. “Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has ordered an immediate investigation into “serious” allegations of misconduct by diplomatic staff at the Canadian embassy in Copenhagen, the Citizen has learned. The accusations include financial mismanagement, abuses of government property, diplomatic privileges and racial harassment. They are supported by as many as 13 current and former locally engaged embassy staff. Some of the grievances date back several years. Just days after the written and signed allegations were delivered to Baird’s office early last week, two investigators from the department’s Office of the Inspector General were dispatched to the Danish capital to interview the employees and review documents. One is a financial auditor and the other is focusing on any violations of the Code of Conduct for Canadian Representatives Abroad, according to a source close to the case …. Canada’s envoy to Denmark, Ambassador Peter Lundy, vacated the post last week as part of a previously scheduled routine diplomatic rotation. He is in Ottawa, but declined to respond to repeated calls for comment Thursday. Lundy joined the department in 1993 after serving with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in Calgary, Winnipeg and Germany, according to his departmental biography ….”