Archive for the ‘Media’ Category
- Joshua Baker, 1985-2010, R.I.P. “The Calgary reservist charged with manslaughter in the death of a soldier in Afghanistan entered not guilty pleas Tuesday morning on the first day of his court martial trial. Maj. Darryl Watts is on trial and alleged to have been negligent in the friendly fire death of Edmonton-based Cpl. Joshua Baker in Afghanistan in 2010 at a training range outside of Kandahar City. Watts, an 11-year Calgary firefighter and reservist with the King’s Own Calgary Regiment, is scheduled to be on trial for up to five weeks at the Mewata Armoury. The prosecution alleges that Watts was in charge during a live fire training exercise with a weapon called the C19. It is a mix of plastic explosives and 700 ball bearings. When detonated that day, Feb. 12, 2010, the weapon killed Baker and injured four others ….” – more here, here and here.
- Afghanistan (1) More medals being presented by the GG, including one to a soldier who rescued an Afghan man and his son under fire in April of last year.
- Afghanistan (2) Review of “Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation” “It was a moving evening of tributes to the fallen, remembrance of sacrifice, and commemoration of the daily grief experienced for loved ones by those left behind. The cornerstone work at the Calgary Philharmonic’s War and Peace Festival featured the world premiere of composer Jeffrey Ryan and librettist Suzanne Steele’s emotionally powerful Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation. It is rare to have a commission of this magnitude, the largest in CPO history. Ryan was supported by the Canada Council and Steele, chosen as the first official War Artist in the Canadian Forces Artist Program, was embedded with the 1st Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in Afghanistan. The Requiem intermixed the Latin text headers for each movement with Steele’s English poetry, and included some French and Pashto. Images taken from the Afghan missions were projected upon two large screens over the stage. Ryan offered a balanced score, with equal opportunity for all participants to shine, including four vocal soloists and orchestra members, with particularly outstanding contributions from the CPO Chorus and the Cantaré Children’s Choir. ….”
- War Monument Vandalism in Toronto “On behalf of the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, Eve Adams, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Member of Parliament for Mississauga–Brampton South, (yesterday) inspected the recently vandalized Victory Peace War Memorial at Coronation Park. “Our cenotaphs and war memorials are powerful symbols of our national remembrance and must be respected and maintained,” said Minister Blaney. “Disgraceful and disrespectful acts of vandalism like this need to be addressed. That is why our Government is proud to support Bill C-217, which will increase penalties for those convicted of these heinous crimes.” “Seeing our local war memorials treated with such disrespect is incredibly troubling, especially on such an important day of national remembrance,” said Parliamentary Secretary Adams. “I am pleased to be here today to see that this memorial has been restored to its honoured state.” ….” – more here.
- Remember the food complaints from vets living in a Halifax nursing home? Here’s the latest from a column in the home-town newspaper, whose author has a copy of a review, but isn’t sharing it with the public yet: “…. allow me to reveal a few recommendations from the report: Switch from individual packets of condiments to table-size bottles. Change servers’ uniforms from hospital garb to “hospitality” outfits. Serve salads from a big bowl. The report cost $13,500. Unfortunately, the main problem — reheating day-old food — is only something to “explore” in the “medium term,” which isn’t defined. And in the “longer term,” which also isn’t defined, the report muses about renovating the kitchen and hiring a chef for the vets ….”
- This from an independent MP’s (harsh?) take on CBC’s handling of a Bin Laden satire video from a mess dinner: “…. By engaging in yellow journalism and irresponsibly disseminating it for the world to see, the CBC hurt Canada’s image, our military’s image, and unnecessarily offended Arab’s around the world. By spinning this and putting it out for international consumption, the CBC is propagating racism. They took a video that was internal, personal, and limited to a very few, and turned it into an outward Canadian racial attitude for the rest of the world to believe. By calling upon CBC comedian Shaun Majumder – a visible minority – to speak out on the supposed ‘cultural insensitivities’ of this video is the height of hypocrisy, as Shaun has portrayed bin Laden as an Arab himself. The CBC attempted to detonate a racist scandal where there simply was none to be found …. In the face of this incident, we have to thank the men and women of our Canadian military who were doing nothing more than relieving themselves of the endless stresses of their jobs with a little bit of black comedy that from time to time many people of all races of all countries enjoy, and ended up showing us where the evil truly exists in this country – the CBC headquarters ….” I wouldn’t go as far as that last bit, but it is an interesting point about Majumder – here’s his take on Osama during H1N1 season, and here’s an Osama goodbye video Majumder headlines in. You be the judge.
- “The Honourable Gail Shea, acting Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament for Central Nova, (yesterday) presented the second of the Canadian Coast Guard’s new Hero class vessels, the CCGS Caporal Kaeble V.C. The CCGS Caporal Kaeble V.C. is the second of the Coast Guard’s new Hero class of mid-shore patrol vessels being built by Irving Shipbuilding Inc. in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Kaeble was officially delivered to Coast Guard by Irving this November. The new vessel is named after the late Corporal Joseph Kaeble, V.C. who was born in St. Moise, Quebec in 1893. He enlisted in 1916 and was a member of the famed Royal 22nd Regiment. Corporal Kaeble died of wounds near Arras, France on June 9, 1918, after he single-handedly repelled a strong enemy attack on Canadian lines. Kaeble was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions, the first French-Canadian to receive this distinguished military decoration ….” – more on Cpl. Kaeble here and here, and on the story here and here.
- Budget 2012 (1) “Federal budget cuts at Canada’s military colleges will eliminate up to a third of the professors, says their professional association. Jean-Marc Noel, a professor of physics and president of the Canadian Military Colleges Faculty Association, said Thursday he has been given a list of 68 faculty members that the Department of National Defence plans to cut. That’s more than a third of the approximately 185 faculty teaching at Canada’s three military colleges: Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont., the Canadian Forces College in Toronto and the Royal Military College cam-pus in Saint-Jean, Que. “It’s going to seriously negatively affect the institution,” he said. “My problem is if you’re cutting to the bone, which is what they’re doing now, they’re jeopardizing their own reputations.” All the names on the list are tenured professors who are locked into long-term union contracts with the colleges, Noel said ….”
- Budget 2012 (2) “According to the Union of National Defence Employees, (Joint Task Force North)’s civilian workforce may be spared job losses. More than 1,000 civilian workers are expected to lose their jobs nationally after the Department of National Defence lost $1.1 billion in funding over the next three years in the federal budget. The union’s national president, John MacLennan, said they’ve received official notice from the department of the job losses and cuts at JTFN aren’t part of the plan for now. “They’re going to continue trying to find savings throughout the next three years and I’m very skeptical that this isn’t over,” he said ….”
- F-35 Tug o’ War (1) “…. “Is anyone in charge? Or is Peter MacKay a kind of Honorary Defence Minister?” (CBC commentator Rex) Murphy asks during his segment on The National. “He’s Canada’s Defence Minister — he’s a big man at the cabinet table, he’s next to being as powerful as Stephen Harper himself. Except when anything goes wrong. Like F-35 costs, procurement, projections or anything to do with any of these. Then he’s just Peter MacKay — Honorary Defence Minister — an ornament.” Murphy also goes on to ‘dress down’ the Prime Minister. “If Stephen Harper were in Opposition now and it was Liberals who brought about this mess he would be heaving thunderbolts and breathing righteous fire about ‘arrogant and incompetent Liberals.’ and he would be right.” Murphy proclaims ….”
- F-35 Tug o’ War (2) Caveat: No sign of documents being shared publicly = no way to know if this is the whole story “National Defence pressured other departments in 2010 to jump on the F-35 program by warning that $15.4-billion in regional spinoffs could be lost if there were any delays, according to federal documents. The move was part of a widespread lobbying effort to promote the fighter jet that included a large-scale sales job by its manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, and other Canadian firms that wanted a piece of the $400-billion U.S.-led project ….”
- F-35 Tug o’ War (3) “Canadian hedging on its original pledge to buy 65 of the stealthy F-35 multi-role warplanes was only the latest in a series of second-guessing, cancellations and delayed deliveries as other countries take a hard look at multi-billion contracts. Stunningly expensive and half-a-decade behind schedule already, the $1.45-trillion program to build more than 3,000 of the sophisticated fight-bombers for the U.S. military and up to a dozen allied air forces is flying into serious turbulence both at home and abroad ….“
- F-35 Tug o’ War (4) Rounding up suspects: “Auditor-general Michael Ferguson’s scathing report on the F-35 has put a rare spotlight on the coterie of senior officials – both civilian and military – who have been central to Canada’s involvement in the troubled stealth fighter jet program over the years. The list includes a former general, now responsible for providing civilian oversight of military purchases, several former fighter pilots and a top official at the Public Works Department who previously managed communications at National Defence ….”
- F-35 Tug o’ War (5) Opinion: “…. There is no competition to be had if you want stealth and a networked capability because there are no other western aircraft being produced now that have this. It is THAT simple. The justification that the U.S., Japan and most of their western European allies have accepted is that China and Russia are rushing to catch up with fifth-generation warplanes of their own. Looking out 20 or 30 years, it is hardly a stretch to see how the Chinese or Russians might one day pose a military threat to Canada or Canadian interests ….”
- F-35 Tug o’ War (6) Opinion: “…. the public doesn’t seem particularly troubled. Concerns about the program certainly didn’t stop Canadians from giving Stephen Harper’s Conservatives a strong majority last May, even though the program’s troubles were public knowledge. It’s not that the opposition didn’t try to get the public to care. It just didn’t take. Put simply, it’s hard to get us riled up on matters military ….”
- F-35 Tug o’ War (7) “The F-35 jet has been the whipping boy for auditors and politicians all week, but it remains the darling of Canada’s aerospace industry. Industry veterans are shrugging off the vitriol of “scandal” and “fiasco” by remaining focused on the $12 billion they say the troubled program can bring to Canada. “It’s a state of the art platform,” says Maryse Harvey, an official at Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC). “Hence the delays and the challenges that they’re encountering — it’s pure innovation.” ….”
- Congrats! “Members of Royal Canadian Air Force 442 Squadron at CFB Comox, won the SAR Award for Operational Rescue Excellence at the 2012 Shephard’s Search and Rescue Conference in Dublin. “The crew of Royal Canadian Air Force Cormorant, call sign “Rescue 907″ of 442 Squadron were the clear choice of the judges for this year’s SAR Award for Operational Rescue Excellence,” said Alex Giles, CEO of U.K.-based Shephard Media. “Their rescue of an injured hiker from Hat Mountain, B.C., at night and in the most demanding of weather conditions, displayed exceptional flying skill, crew coordination and personal bravery.” On hand to receive congratulations and the rescue award were Aircraft Commander Capt. Jean Leroux stationed at CFB Comox and SARTech Sgt. George Olynyk, who is now stationed at CFB Gander. They were presented with the award by Chris Reynolds, Director General of the Irish Coast Guard, the host organization for the conference. The other members of the crew who were honoured by the awards are Maj. Troy Maa, First Officer; Sgt Carl Schouten, Flight Engineer; and search and rescue technician (SARTech) Master Cpl Nicholas Nissen ….”
- A reminder: under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, all are presumed innocent until proven guilty. “Two Nanaimo men, both members of the Canadian Forces, have been arrested and charged with break and enter and uttering threats, and one faces a variety of weapons offences. Police announced Friday that the two were initially taken into custody as a result of an investigation into a break-in at a Nanaimo fast-food restaurant on Dec. 24, where a large quantity of money was stolen. Cory Damian Wagner and Ryan Kevin Verhoeks, both aged 20, were arrested in their respective residences by Nanaimo RCMP at approximately 6 p.m. on Wednesday. t Verhoeks’s residence, police say they found more than a thousand rounds of ammunition that was not properly secured and six licensed firearms that were neither secured properly nor bearing trigger locks. Verhoeks faces 13 charges including break and enter, theft over $5,000, careless storage of a firearm and uttering threats. Wagner has been charged with break and enter, theft over $5,000 and uttering threats ….” More here and here
- Afghanistan “On March 31st, the Embassy of Canada hosted its first-ever blood drive in support of the Kabul Blood Bank. The drive was a great success and resulted in 100 units of blood donated to help Afghans. Volunteers from the Kabul community, the Embassy of Canada, the Canadian Program Support Unit, and the international community joined together to donate blood to help Afghans in need. Canada’s Chargé d’affaires for Afghanistan, Shelley Whiting, and Afghanistan’s Minister of Public Health, Dr. Suraya Dalil, were among the group of VIP donors who took part in this blood drive. “Donating blood is very safe and takes less than 20 minutes,” said Chargé d’affaires Shelley Whiting. “It is also a tangible way in which Canadians, Afghans, and the international community can reach out a helping hand.” ….”
- Another view of WW I “…. by the time Canadians started arriving in Flanders in 1915, a system of rotation and rest meant that much of their time was spent in the relative safety of towns and farms behind the lines. There they enjoyed all the amusements readily available in areas populated by French and Flemish civilians, including estaminets, restaurants, shops, and women. Friction between troops and inhabitants, however, was not unusual. The events surrounding the evacuation of the Flemish village of Dickebusch in Spring, 1916 reveal this well. Only a few days after the final inhabitant had departed, Major Arthur Murray Jarvis, the chief military policeman in the 2nd Canadian Division, acknowledged receipt of a claim for 175 francs from a beekeeping local farmer. Having returned to the village to check on his bees, the Belgian farmer stumbled across a group of soldiers from the 28th Battalion, men recruited from Saskatchewan, Fort William and Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay), crowded around his hives. The ringleader, an officer no less, had donned a gas-mask to harvest the honey, so Jarvis’s diary entry on the matter goes ….”
- More on Canada putting some money into the Bomber Command monument in the U.K. (as well as how the monument is coming along)
- Also asked of Canada’s Veterans Affairs Minister at the Bomber Command announcement: “…. Some media representatives suggested more funds should go directly to veterans. Mr. Blaney said Canada needs to support the veterans and commemorate the past. The students on this tour will be able to reach out and touch history. Students on this tour will be “ambassadors of history,” the minister said ….”
- Minister of National Defence set to announce something to do with “the care of our ill and injured” at CFB Halifax on Tuesday
Earlier today, I posted this:
- No indication of the “obtained” documents being shared, so no way to know if there’s anything else there. “Canada’s top soldier suspected the Conservative government was behind a plot to damage his reputation when reports emerged last fall that he had used a Challenger jet to join his family on a Caribbean cruise, the Toronto Star has learned. Gen. Walter Natynczyk, the chief of defence staff, aired his suspicion after learning a journalist got hold of flight logs that showed him using the military jet to attend sports events, the Calgary Stampede and to catch up to a family trip to the island of Saint Maarten in January 2010. He had missed his scheduled departure in order to attend a repatriation ceremony for four soldiers and a journalist killed in Afghanistan. “Whenever (blank) is involved in a story I tend to suspect a certain source, placed high in Government,” Natynczyk wrote to his chief media adviser on the afternoon of Sept. 15, 2011 ….” More here
Long story short – I blew it.
Further down into the story are, indeed, links to the documents being commented on in the story (all PDF):
Apologies for the earlier mistake, and well done to Allan Woods for sharing the documents to give the rest of the context.
- Afghanistan (1a) A bit more detail re: Canadian troops and the shooting of two U.S. officers in the Kabul Interior Ministry complex last week: “Several Canadian military advisers were in the Interior Ministry building where two senior American advisers were murdered on Feb. 25 by an Afghan angered by the burning of Holy Qur’ans a few days earlier at a U.S. airbase near Kabul, Canada’s top soldier in Afghanistan, Maj.-Gen Mike Day confirmed Saturday. “There were Canadians in the Ministry of Interior complex but they were not involved,” said the general, who also leads NATO’s Afghan army and police training program, adding that some Canadians, as with some other advisers in the building, were involved in the aftermath. The sanctity of the investigation into the deaths of an American lieutenant colonel and a major precluded him from providing any details about what happened, Day said. As had occurred after other such “green on blue” incidents that “targets or kills a coalition soldier, NATO was “unpacking” what had happened, he said. The general said he was “reaching out” by calling Postmedia News Saturday to clear up what may have been misinformation given by others about whether Canadians were in the Interior Ministry building at the time of the shootings last Saturday ….”
- Afghanistan (1b) Here’s what was said last week: “Canada confirmed that “all Canadian-based staff (in Afghanistan) are accounted for and safe” in the wake of two American military officers who were shot and killed inside a government ministry Saturday. Afghan security sources said the two were a U.S. colonel and a major with NATO forces. Yohan Rodericks, a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, told QMI Agency the group includes those who work at the Canadian embassy in Kabul, as well as Canadian civil police and military trainers ….”
- Afghanistan (2) “When Sgt. Darrel Shepard boards a military transport for Afghanistan later this month, it will be the hardest departure of his life. The 31-year-old soldier has already served two tours in Afghanistan, in 2005 and 2007. Both times he had only himself to worry about as he patrolled. This time is different, and not just because he will be training Afghan soldiers on how to use their American-made assault rifles. It’s also because he will be saying goodbye to a wife and newborn son. For many Canadians, the end of the combat mission in Afghanistan this past December brought a sense of closure after 10 years of war that cost 158 Canadian soldiers their lives and left thousands more physically and mentally scarred. But for hundreds of Canadian military families and their communities, Afghanistan – and the accompanying stress and difficulties that come with having a loved one in a war zone – remains a day-to-day reality ….”
- Academic critiques media’s coverage of subs “…. The information about HMCS Corner Brook’s accident is available on the RCN’s website. The only question remaining is: Why didn’t the reporters and commentators take a few moments to read it before going on air?”
- F-35 Tug o’ War (1a) Reuters’ take on “The Meeting” on Friday (from unidentified attendees): “The United States and eight other countries helping to develop the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter underscored their full and continued support for the program, according to two sources who attended a gathering hosted by Canada. Despite U.S. plans to put off orders for 179 planes over the next five years and a steady drip of news about technical problems and developmental issues, a statement issued by Canada on Friday cited “good progress” on the program. Julian Fantino, Canada’s associate minister of National Defence, hosted a dinner on Thursday and all-day meeting at his country’s embassy in Washington, D.C. on Friday to facilitate better communication among political officials from all nine partner countries. “While good progress continues to be made, we will always be vigilant with our stewardship of taxpayers’ hard earned dollars,” he said in a statement, underscoring Canada’s determination to stick to its budget for replacing its aging fleet of F-18 fighter jets. He said the program had already resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars of contracts for Canadian firms. The two sources said all nine countries underscored their full and continued support for what one described as the “backbone of allied defense in the free world” ….”
- F-35 Tug o’ War (1b) The Canadian Press’ take on the same meeting: “Countries that have invested in the troubled F-35 stealth fighter want to get together more often to keep an eye on costly program, says the Harper government’s point man on the issue. Julian Fantino, associate defence minister, concluded a one-day information session with allied nations in Washington on Friday to update them on the impact of recent changes, including the Pentagon’s intention to push some of its orders to future years. “We agree that similar meetings will help improve mutual understanding and collaboration to protect international stability from threats to security and human rights,” Fantino said in a statement. Another wide-ranging meeting of all nine countries committed to the radar-evading jet is slated for Australia this month, but the agreement at the table in Washington on Friday was that information updates need to happen more regularly ….”
- Tug o’ War (1c) Sun Media’s take: “The federal government reiterated on Friday it will operate within a set budget to purchase F-35 fighter jets following a meeting with partners in Washington. Canada’s associate defence minister Julian Fantino said the meeting held in the U.S. capital helped Canada gain “valuable” insight from allies and industry partners. Canada has laid out a $9-billion budget for the plane purchase including a contingency fund to compensate if the cost goes up. It has also planned for a $16-billion maintenance fund for the jets over a 20-year period. “Canada has set a budget for replacement aircraft and we have been clear that we will operate within that budget,” Fantino said in a statement ….”
- F-35 Tug o’ War (2) Forgot this one from Friday – the NDP is now calling for a Plan B: “As Conservative Associate Minister of Defence Julian Fantino meets with F-35 purchasing partners in Washington, the NDP is pressing the Conservatives to adopt a plan B. New Democrats are demanding an open and transparent tender process so the air force can obtain aircraft that meet Canada’s needs. “Our partners are concerned about delays in deliveries, skyrocketing costs and the poor performance of these planes. This is why they have a plan B,” said Christine Moore, Critic for Military Procurement. “The Conservatives must follow suit with our allies instead of hiding the details from Canadians on this issue.” ….”