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MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – February 26, 2014

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  • Please do what you can to spread the message that folks who are having a tough time don’t have to suffer alone – #sendupthecount – more here on Facebook and here at milnet.ca (Disclosure:  I’m a moderator at Milnet.ca)
  • Tory MP in House of Commons on how well Canada treats vets  “Mr. Speaker, having served 20 years in the Canadian Armed Forces and being a veteran myself, I rise in the House today to highlight what our government is doing to support our veterans.  We have increased funding from $2.8 billion to $3.6 billion in under 10 years. We have cut red tape and have ensured that 90% of Veterans Affairs funding goes directly to programs and services for veterans and their families.  We have made services easier to access through Service Canada offices.  In my riding of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, in Hawkesbury specifically, veterans will no longer have to travel an hour and a half to Ottawa because they will now have access to a nearby Service Canada office.  Yes, it is clear that our government supports veterans. Canadians have not forgotten what these brave men and women have done to serve our great country, and neither have we.”
  • From the Info-machine  “The fourth annual mental health resiliency training session, in which more than 150 military family services providers are present, is being held this week at the NAV Centre in Cornwall. The goal of the training session is to enhance the availability and quality of mental health services at Military Family Resource Centres, in direct support of military families. The Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence, sent the following message to training participants today ….”
  • Point  “Harper Cares More About Dead Veterans Than Living Ones”
  • Counterpoint  “…. The author …. had choice words about our government’s work to give injured veterans first crack at federal job opportunities for which they are qualified. While unions like the Public Service Alliance of Canada are publicly opposed to giving veterans this important opportunity to continue serving their country, we have made it a priority to assist veterans in making the all-important transition to civilian life. We also work closely with corporate Canada to ensure they have the information needed to tap into their invaluable skill sets ….”
  • Ukraine (1)  A bit more specific of a denial from Russia’s ambassador to Canada  “…. Georgiy Mamedov said categorically that a Russian invasion was not in the cards, despite recent events in Kyiv that have pushed Ukraine away from renewed ties with Moscow.  “It’s very simple. We are no NATO, it’s not Libya, you won’t see any Russian troops in Ukraine,” he said.  “Whoever discusses rumours about Russian military intervention in Ukraine is committing an insult to the intellect of the Canadian public, full stop.” ….”  Unless Russia says, “this isn’t Ukraine – lookit all the Russians here – this is Russia, really”, right?
  • Ukraine (2)  Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered massive exercises involving most military units in western Russia amid tensions in Ukraine Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a televised statement made at a meeting of top military brass in Moscow that the exercise is intended to “checks the troops’ readiness for action in crisis situations that threaten the nation’s military security.”  In remarks carried by Russian news agencies, Shoigu said that the manoeuvrs involve some 150,000 troops, 880 tanks, 90 aircraft and 80 navy ships.  He said the exercise is unrelated to the developments in Ukraine ….
  • Approximately 900 personnel from the Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force are participating in a major fleet exercise this week until March 14, 2014, off the Eastern seaboard. This exercise will also see the contribution of United States Coast Guard vessel, USCG Campbell, and the Federal German Ship (FGS) Bonn, a Berlin-class replenishment ship ….”
  • Way Up North (1)  A C-130 Hercules is on its way to Rankin Inlet to help with the search for a 24-year-old hunter missing since Friday.  The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Trenton, Ont., says the plane should be arriving late Tuesday afternoon.  The missing hunter went out on the land on Friday and didn’t return as planned Friday evening.  Blizzard conditions in the area have delayed efforts. The weather has eased up but local searchers are concerned about the extreme cold temperatures ….”
  • Way Up North (2)  Russian intelligence troops hold anti-terrorism exercise in Arctic regions – more here in Russian, here in clunky Google English\
  • Way Up North (3)  Russia, Norway get ready for joint naval Arctic exercise – more here in Russian, here in clunky Google English
  • Way Up North (4)  From the summary of  a U.S. Congressional Research Service reportChanges in the Arctic:  Background and Issues for Congress(117 page PDF):  “…. The Arctic has increasingly become a subject of discussion among political leaders of the nations in the region. Although there is significant international cooperation on Arctic issues, the Arctic is also increasingly being viewed by some observers as a potential emerging security issue. In varying degrees, the Arctic coastal states have indicated a willingness to establish and maintain a military presence in the high north. U.S. military forces, particularly the Navy and Coast Guard, have begun to pay more attention to the region ….”
  • The Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), General Tom Lawson, visited with Canadian Armed Forces’ members and community leaders today in Toronto.  During his visit, the CDS spoke to members of the Canadian Army’s 4th Canadian Division and Canadian Forces College.  The CDS also had the honour to deliver opening remarks at the Princess of Wales Theatre during the gala opening of The Two Worlds of Charlie F, a play which draws on the real life experiences of injured and wounded British soldiers who served in Afghanistan ….”
  • A reminder:  Under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, “any person charged with an offence has the right …. to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal.”  “The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS), the investigative arm of the Canadian Forces Military Police, has charged a Canadian Armed Forces Reserve member for sexual assault allegedly committed at the Connaught Range and Primary Training Centre in June of 2009. The training centre is located west of Ottawa, Ontario.  Captain Joseph Horvath was charged …. It is alleged that, in June of 2009, Captain Joseph Horvath sexually assaulted another Canadian Armed Forces Reserve member at the Connaught Range and Primary Training Centre ….”
  • The General’s Moving Expenses  Commentary from the deputy director of education at the Canadian Forces College  “When Andrew Coyne argued on this site last week that retired military personnel, like Lt. Gen. Andrew Leslie (ret.), had no place in partisan politics, he was only partially right.  As Coyne rightly suggests, it is critical that members of Canada’s armed forces in positions of leadership remain free of even the suggestion of partisan inclinations. No liberal democracy can function effectively if the loyalty of the senior military leadership to its civilian masters is in question.  But to prevent well-educated (nearly every general has a graduate degree), bilingual, successful leaders who have spent their careers sacrificing for their country from continuing to serve the state in a meaningful capacity beyond their initial retirement would deprive Canadians of the type of parliamentarians that we so desperately need ….”
  • Analysis  “In March 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper chose Afghanistan for his first official visit in office. In a bold speech to Canadian troops in Kandahar, Harper declared, “You can’t lead from the bleachers. I want Canada to be a leader.” He then launched a thinly-veiled attack on the policies of the Liberal governments of Jean Chretien and Paul Martin, declaring that Canada was “demonstrating an international leadership role, not carping from the sidelines.” Likewise, when visiting Canadian troops participating in the Libyan mission, Harper asserted that “a handful of soldiers is better than a mouthful of arguments.” …. The Tories appeared to share the beliefs of political scientist Kim Richard Nossal, who famously argued in 1998 that Canada needed “not soft power, but power period.” Instead of practicing “pulpit diplomacy” while failing to commit tangible resources, Canada had to revitalize its hard power assets to protect and advance its interests.  Now it is possible to look back on the Harper government’s rhetoric and determine whether several years of Conservative rule have effectively revitalized Canada’s hard power capabilities. In doing so we will defer to Nossal’s four pillars of statecraft: military, diplomacy, development, and intelligence ….”
  • The Lux Ex Umbra blog on Revisiting the Commissioner’s reports: It’s supernumeraryman!
  • Khadr Boy  “Canadian correctional authorities have unfairly classified former Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr even though they lowered his risk rating from maximum to medium security, the federal prisons ombudsman complainsIn a letter obtained by The Canadian Press, the Office of the Correctional Investigator urges prison authorities to take into account evidence that Khadr poses minimal threat and should be classified as such.  “(Correctional Service of Canada) officials also note that there is no evidence Mr. Khadr has maintained an association with any terrorist organization,” the letter to CSC’s senior deputy commissioner states.  “It is well documented by CSC officials that Mr. Khadr is fully engaged in his correctional plan and he has actively developed a strong, pro-social network of support since his incarceration.”  The letter this month by Ivan Zinger, executive director of the independent Office of the Correctional Investigator, is the office’s third such complaint since Khadr returned to Canada from Guantanamo Bay in September 2012 to serve out the rest of an eight-year sentence for war crimes ….”
  • WW 2  “When Gordon Quan joined the army in 1944, he wanted to fight for his country — Canada.  After all, Quan was born in Cumberland and considered himself Canadian in every way.  So it was a surprise to learn in 1947 — two years after the Second World War ended — that Canada was only then granting Chinese-Canadians the right to vote. The federal government had agreed to repeal the discriminatory Chinese Immigration Act of 1923.  “We didn’t even know about any of the stuff until 1947,” Quan, now 88, said in an interview.  “When I joined the army, I was 18 years of age and born in Cumberland and thought I was Canadian,” said the Victoria resident. “We were all going to fight for our country and we didn’t know about the other stuff.”  Wartime experiences and contributions of men and women, including Quan, will be remembered beginning Thursday at the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum ….”

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – February 5, 2014

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  • Canada’s military becoming a bit more arm’s length from military buying?  More on that tomorrow morning in “What’s Canada Buying?”
  • Meanwhile,  Canada’s Arctic Army has no more mukluks?  (CAVEAT:  I’m a moderator at Milnet.ca)
  • Way Up North (1)  The White House releases its Arctic plans - more on that in the document here, and in an interview with a U.S. government official here
  • Way Up North (2)  Russia:  military co-operation =/= militarization of Arctic  Development of military cooperation among the Arctic countries should not be considered a militarization of the region, Russia’s Arctic Ambassador Anton Vasiliev says“Higher attention from the Arctic Council member states towards the military factor in the Arctic should not be considered as militarization,” Russia’s Ambassador at Large and representative at the Arctic Council Anton Vasiliev said in an interview with ITAR-TASS. “It is implementation of national sovereignties of the countries, which share responsible approaches to the region’s security”, he explained ….” – more here
  • Way Up North (3)  Two Tu-95MS strategic bombers of the Russian Air Force have successfully fulfilled their patrolling mission in the Arctic, Air Force spokesperson, Colonel Igor Klimov told Itar-Tass  …. “The plane took off from the aviation base in Engels, the Saratov region, southeast of European Russia. The flight took place through neutral waters over the Norwegian Sea, the Arctic Ocean and along the Kola Peninsula, far northern Russia,” he said.  “During their patrolling mission Tu-95MS bombers mastered flights over a featureless area,” Klimov said. “The planes covered over 8,000 kilometers at the speed of 850 km/h and at the height of up to 10,000 meters. The flight continued around 11 hours.” ….”
  • Way Up North (4)  Scotland pissed at U.K.  The Scottish Government should develop its own policy on the Arctic after it was snubbed by Westminster, say experts and environmentalistsScottish ministers were not consulted by the UK Government when it drew up its first strategy on conservation and development in the Arctic last year.  “Yet Scotland is the nearest part of the UK to the Arctic, with a larger proportional stake both in fishing and the hydrocarbon sector, and more natural ports of call for Arctic shipping,” says former British diplomat Professor Alyson Bailes in a paper published today by the Scottish Global Forum think tank.  “It is more directly exposed to the working of Arctic climate change, and is far more likely to be affected – and asked to help – in any major disasters affecting the European High North.” ….” – more here
  • A search and rescue (SAR) team from 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron from 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario, evacuated three patients from an isolated community on Christian Island, in Georgian Bay, approximately …. 24 kilometres northwest of Midland Island, Ontario, on January 29ORNGE Air Ambulance requested the support of Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) Trenton to medevac the patients. At the time, the ice road was deemed unsafe and the ferry was running into thick ice.  A CH-146 Griffon SAR helicopter was launched from 8 Wing and successfully transported the patients to Georgian Bay General Hospital in Midland ….”
  • Olympic Hockey Teams give CF an “atta boy/girl”  “…. On behalf of the players and staff members with Canada’s men’s, women’s and sledge hockey teams, we want to send our best wishes to the men and women representing all Canadians overseas as part of the Canadian Armed Forces.  At Hockey Canada, we take great pride in representing Canada on the international hockey stage, and we take great inspiration from Canadian troops who do the same all over the world, in much more challenging circumstances ….”
  • Some Canadian soldiers given medical discharges find they don’t qualify for benefits because Veterans Affairs uses different, more stringent criteria in an “unfair” process, the military ombudsman told a Senate committee WednesdayPierre Daigle, whose term ends in a few weeks, testified many ex-soldiers have to fight to prove the conditions that made them ineligible to serve are a result of their service.  Once released, Veterans Affairs demands the ill and injured be subject to a separate assessment above and beyond whatever examination has been conducted at National Defence.  For veterans it can be a bureaucratic conundrum that often leads to a denial of benefits and a lengthy appeals process.  “This is an area of unfairness which needs to be looked at,” Daigle said.  His comments echo complaints from the country’s veterans ombudsman, Guy Parent.  Daigle said he has had heard from former members directly, even though his mandate doesn’t extend to Veterans Affairs, and told senators one individual described the process “as the equivalent of being pushed off a cliff.” ….” - more here
  • Worries about Cadet spending in some places – AND they shared the documents!  “…. Documents obtained by Global news and conversations with concerned members and their parents have revealed concerns about how the program is run.  An inspection of the Northwest Division, which includes the Prairies and northern Canada, found questionable expense claims. Flight change fees were charged without documentation, hotel rooms were paid for and not used, and during regular trips to Cadet camps, a commanding officer paid hundreds of dollars for hotel rooms instead of staying on site.  “We do need to get a handle on how money is spent and where it is spent,” said Rear Admiral Jennifer Bennett, who oversees the Cadets in the Department of National Defence.  A recent Department of National Defence review of Cadets found the program should be fundamentally re-engineered to simplify governance and command and reduce administrative overhead ….”
  • PM’s messaging in the House on Veterans Affairs  “Mr. Speaker, as I have said repeatedly, this government has recognized like none other before it the serious challenges that do exist from time to time with mental health issues in the Canadian Armed Forces. That is why we provided record investments into these services and why we always encourage men and women who are former or present serving members and who need any assistance not to be afraid to seek that assistance …. The money allocated to veterans’ services has increased by $5 billion thanks to this government.  We have only cut bureaucracy in order to ensure that there is funding for services for our veterans. I hope that next time, the NDP will finally vote in favour of that funding for our veterans.”
  • NDP summary of VAC’s week  “Mr. Speaker, let us recap the sordid week of the Minister of Veterans Affairs.  First, the minister showed up late for a meeting with veterans. Then, when he did show up, he was disrespectful and insulted them. The following day, the minister was forced to read an apology. Then, a couple of days later, the minister went on the radio and boasted that he wears resignation calls like “a badge of honour”. He then retracted his previously forced apology, saying, “I’ve done nothing wrong, why should I resign?” To top it off, the minister then went on to insinuate that these veterans were nothing more than “union pawns”.  The fact is, the Conservatives have betrayed our veterans by making it harder for those suffering from post-traumatic stress to get help. The minister has to stop insulting our veterans. It is time for him to finally do the honourable thing, and resign.”
  • Ooopsie …. After years of impersonating a Canadian military officer at events in and around Kingston, Ont., Carl Dale turned in his uniform to military officials on WednesdayDale met with Lt.-Col. Ron Bell of the Royal Canadian Regiment and was said to be remorseful for his actions and joining several veteran motorcycle groups under false pretences.  His actions were first brought to the attention of QMI Agency by several former military members, including Dave Banks, president of the Kingston Branch of Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry Association (PPCLI) and retired lieutenant-colonel.  Calls to Dale’s home on Wednesday went unanswered and messages were not returned ….”
  • Afghanistan  If La Presse is to be believed, some Afghans aren’t happy with Canada’s schools in Kandahar (Google English version here – original in French here)
  • Liberal tries an opposition motion in the House of Commons  “That the House express its deep concern over reports that Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) has been actively and illegally monitoring Canadians and call on the government to immediately order CSEC to cease all such activities and increase proper oversight of CSEC, through the establishment of a National Security Committee of Parliamentarians as laid out in Bill C-551, An Act to establish the National Security Committee of Parliamentarians ….”
  • Defence Minister’s “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” defence of CSEC’s metadata mining  “…. this organization respects Canadians’ privacy and complies with the law.   Here is what why we do disagree. I know this organization is in the business of protecting Canadians from foreign terrorists, cyberhackers, and kidnappers. That has our support, if not the support of the NDP.”
  • Recent allegations about domestic spying and the collection of “metadata” by one of Canada’s security agencies have inspired a great deal of confusion about the precise nature of the surveillanceJohn Forster, head of the Communications Security Establishment Canada, appeared before the Senate security and defence committee Feb. 3 and answered questions about a CBC report that said CSEC had used airport Wi-Fi to follow the movements of Canadian travellers.  CSEC is supposed to monitor only foreign communications for intelligence that may be of interest to Canada. The agency has said it does not spy on Canadians nor anyone in Canada.  In this particular case, Forster denied that CSEC had snooped on Canadians, saying the agency had accessed airport Wi-Fi to capture “a snapshot of historical metadata.” ….”
  • Editorial  “Metadata spying is spying”

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – February 4, 2014

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  • With federal budget season approaching (scheduled for 11 Feb 14, in case you hadn’t heard) …. “The Royal Canadian Legion is calling on the federal Government to end the talk and respond to the urgent financial shortcomings of the New Veterans Charter in the upcoming budget. For six years now the Legion has been advocating for changes in four key areas. “The Legion was singled out in the 2013 Budget in that the Government stated it would work with us and now is the time for action,” says Gordon Moore, Dominion President of The Royal Canadian Legion ….”
  • The recent closure of eight Veterans Affairs offices has ignited a war of words between former soldiers and the Harper government over access to benefits and other servicesVeterans and their supporters say they’ll have a harder time getting the help they need.  The Conservatives counter that moving more services online and to Service Canada outlets will actually make them more widely available ….”
  • One NDP MP’s statement in the House of Commons on the closure of VAC offices  Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Veterans Affairs has already earned a spot in the Conservatives’ hall of sheer incompetence for his handling of the F-35 fiasco and for believing that Haiti’s problem is the garbage in the streets. Even though his incompetence is legendary, he continues to be rewarded by the Prime Minister for who knows what reason.  This minister’s most recent exploits are the closure of veterans’ service offices and the insults he hurled at the men and women who fought for our country. After shedding crocodile tears last week, the minister still believes that veterans’ complaints are all a union ploy. For heaven’s sake. He still believes that closing these offices will not result in cuts to services. The reality is that there have been massive cuts in his department.  Veterans deserve better than the minister’s wishful thinking. After everything they have done for us, they deserve much better than Conservative MPs who are trying to save money at their expense.”
  • Another NDP MP’s online statement  This week was a tough one.  On Friday the Thunder Bay Veterans Affairs office closed its doors for the final time.  It was an undignified slap in the face to local veterans and those across the country.  Over the past year, New Democrat MPs joined with the Public Service Alliance of Canada and hundreds of veterans to try and stop the closure of the Thunder Bay office and eight others like it across the country.  In the end, they were closed despite our best efforts.  I’m sure some may wonder why we fought so hard to keep these offices open, but the answer is simple.  We fought for our veterans because they were promised, require, and frankly deserve face-to-face service from their own government ….”
  • The Parliamentary Secretary for Vets Affairs, continuing to share the message  “Mr. Speaker, our government has created 600 additional new points of service across this great nation. The member opposite mentioned Thunder Bay. I can assure him that the Service Canada office is within only four kilometres of the district office that was there. We will make sure that we have a fully trained VAC employee present, along with Service Canada employees, to assist veterans in need.”
  • Commentary When one of Canada’s most senior politicians — a federal cabinet minister — disgraces himself and by extension, all of us by acting with disrespect for a our country’s veterans, it’s time to speak upVeterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino’s behaviour towards a group of veterans last week disgusted me. And, when he blamed his behaviour on the actions of a union I became outraged ….”
  • Best of luck!  “Corporal Dominic Larocque will represent Canada with pride at the XI Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia in March.  “I would like to acknowledge and congratulate Cpl Dominic Larocque for making the Canadian National Sledge Hockey Team! Cpl Larocque’s drive and determination serves as an inspiring example for us all. This March I urge you to join me cheering on Cpl Larocque, and all of the men and women who will represent Canada as part of our Paralympics teams,” said General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff.  In 2007, Cpl Larocque was deployed with the 3rd Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment in the Panjwayi District of Afghanistan. While on patrol, he was wounded in an improvised explosive device attack. As a result, he had to have his left leg amputated above the knee ….” - more on links between sports and the CF here
  • This Saturday’s men’s hockey game between the Nipissing Lakers and RMC Paladins promises to be a busy oneFirst and foremost, the Lakers will be looking for crucial points to help them secure a playoff position and with just three games remaining, and six points separating them from RMC – with Laurentian in the mix as well – but there will be more to the game than just points.  Saturday will mark the Lakers fifth annual Military Appreciation Night, a tradition that has always made for an enjoyable night celebrating all the Canadian Armed Forces do for the community of North Bay, and all of Canada.  Members of 22 Wing/CFB North Bay along with members of the Lakers men’s hockey team, Lakers athletics and the president of Nipissing University were all on hand for the announcement which took place Tuesday morning ….”
  • From the Pentagon Info-machine  “Members of Air Forces Southern have begun to trickle into Belize in preparation for New Horizons ’14, a U.S. Southern Command exercise focusing on improving the joint training readiness of U.S. military members, partner nation civil engineers, medical professionals and support personnel through humanitarian assistance activities.  This will be the second year in a row that the New Horizons exercise has taken place in Belize. Last year, members of the Belize Defence Force, contractors throughout Belize and Airmen, soldiers, and Marines worked side-by-side to build community centers, medical clinics and schools …. There will be multiple Medical Readiness Training Exercises in Belize City, Corozal and in areas surrounding Punta Gorda. During these Medical Readiness Training Exercises, teams of medical doctors and specialists with equipment and supplies will provide medical treatment to the local population. The doctors and specialists are comprised of U.S., Canadian, and Belizean professionals ….”
  • Way Up North  “Okalik Eegeesiak, an Inuk from Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut, is expected to become the next chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council. Eegeesiak is currently president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association. The group represents the 14,000 Inuit in the Qikiqtani Region — also known as the Baffin Region — of Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut.  Canadian Inuit leaders asked Eegeesiak to assume the new position during an ICC-Canada board meeting on Friday ….”
  • Opposition MPs said Tuesday they aren’t convinced Canada’s intelligence agencies are not spying on law-abiding citizensNDP Leader Thomas Mulcair dismissed assurances from top officials at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Communications Security Establishment of Canada (CSEC) Canadians are not being watched, tracked and eavesdropped on.  The officials along with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s national security advisor testified at a Senate hearing Monday and dismissed a CBC report that said Canadians have been targeted in a nefarious Wi-Fi espionage exercise at airports ….”
  • Three “must reads” and one “don’t look” from the Lux Ex Umbra blog
  • The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, today launched the Cyber Security Cooperation Program (CSCP), a new five-year funding initiative to support projects that will contribute to the security of Canada’s vital cyber systems. Minister Blaney also announced the program’s first call for proposals ….” – more in the backgrounder here
  • A bit of WW2 history from the Info-machine here  A mere 21 years after the end of World War I, Canada once again found itself at war.  On 10 September 1939, Canada declared war on Germany following the invasion of Poland. As the war progressed, Canada also declared war on the other Axis powers, Italy and Japan, on 11 June 1940 and 7 December 1941 respectively.  The original 3rd Canadian Division fought with distinction during the Great War, but was disbanded shortly after the Armistice.  In the face of an ever-expanding conflict, the need to create additional divisions became evident; thus, on 24 May 1940, the formation of the 3rd Canadian Division was authorized by General Order 184/40.  The 3rd Canadian Division, which was later designated the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, carried the battle honors of its Great War predecessor and wore the French Grey divisional patch. The division headquarters was established in September 1940, under the command of Major-General E.W. Sansom ….”

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – January 28, 2014

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Written by milnewsca

28 January 14 at 20:00

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – January 10, 2014

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MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – September 11, 2013

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Syria ….

…. and elsewhere

Written by milnewsca

11 September 13 at 7:45

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – September 10, 2013

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Syria ….
…. and Elsewhere

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – August 15, 2013

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MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – August 12, 2013

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MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – July 24, 2013

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  • In celebration of the arrival of an Heir to the Throne born yesterday to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the 30th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery from the Canadian Armed Forces fired a 21-Gun Royal Salute on Parliament Hill at noon (yesterday).  Royal or State Salutes, consisting of 21 rounds, honour the reigning sovereign, members of the Royal family, foreign sovereigns and members of their families, heads of state, and the Governor General of Canada ….”
  • Everything Old is New Again (Pips & Crowns)  Want to know a few more details?  Check out this message sent out by Army Central via Milnet.ca (DISCLOSURE:  I’m a moderator for Milnet.ca)  My fave talking point:  “‘Stars and Crowns’ is not British.  The officers of almost 100% of the armies on every continent of the world including China, Russia, Finland, Colombia, and including the Salvation Army and RCMP wear a system of two identifiers: (i) a star, and (ii) a national symbol…it is an international convention and customary practice so an officer from any country can negotiate on the battlefield or work in coalitions like the UN or NATO and with civilian agencies.  Canada’s Army used this international customary practice from 1885, officially recognized it in 1903, but lost it in 1968.”
  • What’s the Vets’ Ombudsman up to with a new Minister?  “…. I have already engaged with the new ministerial staff, and have had a fulsome discussion with Minister Fantino’s new Chief of Staff, Jacques Fauteux – a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces, who I had the pleasure of working with when I served as Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer. I have been informed that the Minister is eager to meet with me at the earliest opportunity and I look forward to briefing him on the key elements of my Office’s operational work, plans for the future and ongoing concerns.  I intend to maintain the collaborative approach of the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman. I am determined to continue to provide the Minister and Veterans with evidenced-based advice in consultation with the Veterans Community. The reports that my Office publishes will continue also to offer timely, factual and relevant information on both existing and emerging issues of concern.  My primary focus now is the New Veterans Charter and the upcoming review of the Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act. I am concentrating my efforts on the financial, vocational assistance and family support aspects of the Charter and I will continue to call for a broadened Charter review to address shortcomings in these areas ….”
  • Then-defence minister Peter MacKay was told in a secret briefing last year the Canadian military had no choice but to continue using thousands of live animals for testing chemical-weapon antidotes and medical training.  The briefing came after a study in the journal Military Medicine revealed Canada was one of only six NATO countries still using live mice, ferrets and pigs for military purposes. Defence officials said at that time that they were “actively” looking to end the practice.  But in a briefing note obtained by Postmedia News, officials cited Canadian laws forbidding the application of new drugs or medical techniques on humans without pre-clinical trials on “animal models” as among the reasons for the continued need for live animals.  It also said “limiting or abolishing the use of animals” at National Defence “would significantly impair training delivery, impact (the military’s) readiness and could threaten the health of its deployed members.”  National Defence uses an average of 2,900 live animals each year for research, the note adds.  It uses an undisclosed number of additional animals for training battlefield doctors on how to treat gunshot wounds, blast injuries and other trauma ….” - you can find the original journal article here (bullet #6)
  • Way Up North  Left-wing worries about militarization of the Arctic  “Canada recently took over the leadership of the Arctic Council and will be succeeded by the U.S. in 2015. With back-to-back chairmanships, it gives both countries an opportunity to increase cooperation on initiatives that could enhance the development of a shared North American vision for the Arctic. The U.S. has significant geopolitical and economic interests in the high north and have released a new national strategy which seeks to advance their Arctic ambitions. While the region has thus far been peaceful, stable and free of conflict, there is a danger of the militarization of the Arctic ….”
  • Members of Canada’s military have always recognized that there were some inequities between the members of the military community and the rest of the Canadian population. These were frequently met with the quip, “We are here to defend democracy, not practise it.”  While the right to vote is the most fundamental right under Canadian law, members of the Canadian Armed Forces were not always able to cast their ballots.  Voting in federal elections and byelections is an entrenched right and is accomplished using an absentee ballot. Military members assigned to a ship or deployed to a mission such as Afghanistan or humanitarian assistance or disaster relief in Haiti, retain their Nova Scotia addresses, so were qualified to vote in provincial and municipal elections.  But these families faced an entirely different set of circumstances if the posting was outside Canada for an extended period. When assigned to a Canadian embassy, NATO, or at one of the alliance’s facilities for three to four years, military members and their family members move from their Nova Scotia residences and store their furniture and effects until they return to Canada.  Without a Nova Scotia address, they were not eligible to vote in provincial and municipal elections even though they paid taxes to both the federal and provincial governments. This “taxation without representation” was what led the United States’ founding fathers to ultimately declare independence from Britain.  Last year, the Nova Scotia government changed the rules. In the next election, Canadian Armed Forces members and DND civilian employees serving outside Canada who meet the new residency requirements will be able vote ….”
  • Aaron Yoon, the 24-year-old Canadian who has been held in a Mauritanian prison since December 2011 on terror-related charges, has been released.  Yoon was sentenced to two years in prison last July after being convicted of having ties to an al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group that operates in the North African region and of posing a danger to Mauritanian national security.  A Mauritanian court decided earlier this month to release Yoon for time served, roughly 18 months, and rejected prosecutors’ requests to have his sentence extended to 10 years.  The Korean-Canadian was released at dawn Tuesday and turned over to Mauritanian intelligence officials for questioning, CBC’s Adrienne Arsenault reported. He is expected to be deported to Canada soon, travelling on a temporary passport he was given by authorities ….”
  • A Mississauga grandmother visiting family in India has been arrested and charged with arms smuggling after authorities in Mumbai say they found live ammunition in her luggageIrene Mathias, 59, would seem to be an unlikely arms smuggler. She works with the Canada Revenue Agency in an administrative position, volunteers with the Canadian Cancer Society and is a regular churchgoer, her son Trayson Mathias said.  “She’s a woman who loves her church, volunteering in her community and cooking for her family,” he told the Star in a phone interview from North Carolina. “She’s been in hell, sitting in a jail there.”  Mathias was preparing to return to Canada after a two-week visit when she was arrested July 16 at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. She was jailed for three days and had her passport seized.  Out on bail, she is now staying with family in the Mumbai area …. Police later told Irene Mathias’s husband that the ammunition found in his wife’s luggage was .22 long-range Dynamit Nobel, rounds that were made in Germany for a rifle ….”
  • A car bomb exploded in the Libyan capital of Tripoli near a building that houses the Canadian Embassy, but an official says the office was closed at the time and all staff are safe“We take the safety and security of our staff abroad very seriously,” Rick Roth, press secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, said on Twitter. “We are monitoring events closely and taking [appropriate] security measures.”  The explosion occurred in the car park of a residential compound next to Tripoli Towers, where both the British and Canadian embassies are located, according to a Reuters report citing an unnamed witness ….”
  • An iconic photo of a little boy dashing out toward his father as he marches off to war is going to be immortalized on the B.C. street corner where it was taken more than 70 years ago.  The image dubbed Wait For Me, Daddy became one of the most famous photographs in Canadian history.  The boy in the photograph was five-year-old Warren ‘Whitey’ Bernard, who still remembers the day in the fall of 1940 when the B.C. Regiment marched down 8th Street in New Westminster, B.C., as they headed off to war.  “I wanted to go with Dad. I wanted to be with Dad. I guess I had it in my mind that this was it,” Bernard told CBC News from his home in Tofino, B.C. ….”
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