MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – September 1, 2012
- The latest promotions….
- And the associated tea leaf reading “One of the most ardent defenders of the Harper government’s plan to buy F-35 stealth fighters is leaving the Canadian military. Lt.-Gen. Andre Deschamps, commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, will retire. He’s being replaced by Maj.-Gen. Al Blondin, who will be promoted and until recently commanded the 1st Canadian Air Division. Deschamps’ exit comes just days after the government picked another air force officer, Lt.-Gen. Tom Lawson, as the new chief of defence staff, the country’s top military commander ….” – more here.
- The “L” word on the outgoing Chief of Defence Staff “If you ask Gen. Walt Natynczyk about the legacy he’ll leave behind, those who know Canada’s top soldier say he’ll furrow his brow and take a pass on the question. However, those same people aren’t too shy to describe the chief of defence staff’s contribution to the military as he prepares to pass the baton to Lt.-Gen. Tom Lawson in the next few weeks. “It’s just a question of caring deeply about the soldiers,” said retired colonel Alain Pellerin, executive director of the Conference of Defence Associations Institute. “(Natynczyk has) spent a lot of time on the road, whether it’s visits to Afghanistan or visits to bases.” While Natynczyk declined comment, his supporters were more than willing to speak on his behalf ….”
- Way Up North (1) “The Department of National Defence has agreed to pay $1.83 million to the Northwest Territories Power Corporation for damages resulting from a Canadian Forces helicopter cutting a power line near Yellowknife in February. The incident occurred during Exercise Arctic Ram, when a Griffon helicopter practising low flying surveillance struck a transmission line from the Snare hydroelectric system. The helicopter landed safely, but the damage cut power to the Yellowknife area ….” – a bit more here.
- Way Up North (2) “Looking for ways to become partners rather than competitors in the increasingly strategic Arctic region, 12 nations wrapped up a two-day security conference in Bodo, Norway, on Thursday focusing on such issues as communications and search and rescue. While some Arctic watchers have expressed concern about the potential for conflict in the so-called High North, where new shipping lanes could open in the years ahead as ice caps melt, officials at U.S. European Command said they see other challenges, such as increased demand for search and rescue as maritime traffic increases. “As you bring more traffic through here, you’re still dealing with very dangerous water,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. Mark Schissler, who led the EUCOM delegation taking part in the talks. During the Arctic Security Forces Roundtable, military officials focused on ways to bolster communication capacity in the region and prepare for increased maritime activity that could come with new shipping lanes. “We spend a lot of time talking about communication,” said Schissler, making his first visit to the Arctic. “There’s not a robust communications infrastructure here.” ….” - more on this (compared to Canada’s view of the Arctic) from Mark Collins here.
- Syria: Canada twists arms a bit more – this from Canada’s foreign affairs minister: “…. The Assad regime’s bloody assault on the people of Syria continues unabated. To date, more than 20,000 have been killed, and more than 180,000 have fled to neighbouring countries. The entire region is becoming increasingly unstable. Canada is responding today with additional measures to further isolate and increase pressure on the regime and to erode its capacity for repression. The Canadian government has added a further 47 individuals and three entities to the list of individuals and entities subject to a prohibition on dealings under existing Canadian sanctions. Our expanded sanctions target the regime and its supporters, not the Syrian people ….” – more here.
- Remembering Canada’s merchant seamen “Canadian Merchant Navy veterans gathered at the National War Memorial in Ottawa earlier this week to remember the fallen members of the Merchant Navy who served in the Second World War, and to mark the ninth annual Merchant Navy Veterans Day. “Supplies are critical for survival and crucial for victory during wartime,” said Veterans Affairs Minister Stephen Blaney. “Canada’s overseas forces in the First and Second World Wars would have had a slim chance of either without the successful delivery of equipment, fuel, goods and personnel. For that, we are forever indebted to our Merchant Navy.” Each year, Canadians mark Merchant Navy Veterans Day on September 3 ….”
- Coming up: the anniversary of the liberation fo Belgium during World War 2 – this from Canada’s veterans affairs minister: “…. “Canada played an important role in the liberation of Belgium during the Second World War. Our soldiers, sailors and airmen helped defeat the German army and restore freedom to the people of Belgium after more than four long years of harsh occupation. Having made the ultimate sacrifice, more than 800 Canadians are buried in Belgium and it is our duty to remember the sacrifices and accomplishments of the Canadians who brought justice to Belgium ….”