Posts Tagged ‘House of Commons’
- Libya Mission Motion tabled in House of Commons for Monday vote on on three month mission extension – another motion condemns the bad guys and supports the troops here. Media version here, here and here.
- MCPL Nicole Stacey, R.I.P. “Soldiers and members of the Army reserve community across Alberta and Yellowknife are grieving the loss of a much loved member of 41 Canadian Brigade Group who died suddenly in the tragic aircraft accident which occurred in Yellowknife on September 22nd, 2011. Master Corporal Nicole Stacey served most recently with the Yellowknife Company (C Company Loyal Edmonton Regiment), a unit within 41 Canadian Brigade Group ….” – downloadable PDF of statement here, condolence thread at Army.ca here and media coverage (via Google News) here.
- Afghanistan (1) Recent Canadian firefight in Kabul comes up in Question Period: “Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP): Mr. Speaker, today, Canadians learned that our military trainers in Afghanistan were involved in active combat last week when a NATO compound in Kabul came under attack. The Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence repeatedly told Canadians that this would be a non-combat mission. Clearly, that is not the case. This training mission is a combat mission that continues to put Canadian troops at risk. Will the government now acknowledge that there is no non-combat military role in a war? Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of National Defence, CPC): Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, the combat mission in Afghanistan has now come to an end. We have transitioned to training. That training is taking place in and around Kabul. However, I do not think the member is naive enough to suggest that Canadian Forces are not going to protect themselves when in a volatile city like Kabul. They will return fire and protect themselves. That is what happened in this instance. The member and Canadians would expect no less ….” Reminder to Mr. Dewar: I guess you missed the PM’s warnings from April of this year here, here and here.
- Afghanistan (2) “A senior member of the military says the Afghan army is well on the road to self-sufficiency thanks in part to Canada’s newly established training mission in Kabul. But the upbeat assessment from Brig.-Gen. Craig King stands in contrast to a warning from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which said in a report earlier this week that allied nations have no plan in place to sustain Afghan troops and cops once they’re trained. King, who sits on the military’s strategic joint staff, appeared before a House of Commons committee Thursday, where he faced a number of questions about how sustainable both the military and political situation is in Afghanistan. “We have made some real, significant, systemic institutional progress to get them to the point where (Afghan security forces) will be self-sufficient,” said King, who served nine months at NATO’s southern Afghan headquarters in Kandahar. But Matthew Kellway, an Ontario New Democrat MP, said the army being raised in Afghanistan far exceeds the country’s ability to support it. “Afghanistan itself will not be able to take over funding the military and security forces that we’re attempting to build here,” he said. “So, is this financially sustainable?” The U.S. study, released Tuesday, shows the U.S. paid 90 per cent of Afghanistan’s security bills between 2006 and 2010. According the stark review, Washington covered 62 per cent of the Karzai government’s overall $14-billion annual budget, other donors picked up 28 per cent of the tab ….”
- Pile On the Defence Minister About The Planes/Choppers! (1) This from Question Period yesterday: “Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, whether it is a tony royal gazebo, fake lakes, G20 spending or now fishing trips on search and rescue aircraft, the government’s ministers think taxpayers’ money is their personal reserve. No one is buying the defence minister’s excuse that his lift from a fishing camp was a preplanned training demo. Training demonstrations are day-long exercises. Could the minister confirm that his office overrode the local base, which initially denied his demand for vital rescue equipment to give him a lift to the airport? Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of National Defence, CPC): Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, I was on a trip to the beautiful province of Newfoundland and Labrador, a trip I paid for myself. As a result of pressing government business, I was called back from that vacation. I left the vacation early to come back to work. As the member might know, the government has reduced the use of government aircraft by over 80%. We take the use of government aircraft very seriously. It is used for government business. That is the line we will follow ….” More from Question Period here, and the media here, here and here.
- Pile On the Defence Minister About The Planes/Choppers! (2) This from the National Citizens Coalition (the group the PM used to be president of): “With new information surfacing about Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s misuse of public funds for personal transportation, the federal government has a lot to answer for. Minister MacKay’s recent use of a military search-and-rescue helicopter for transportation following a holiday carried a price-tag of nearly $32,000 for less than an hour of flying time. “Let’s be clear,” says Peter Coleman, President and CEO of the National Citizens Coalition, “we are not talking about taxi receipts here – this is exactly the kind of wasteful spending this government has promised to eliminate.” ….”
- Pile On the Defence Minister About The Planes/Choppers! (3) This editorial from the National Post: “…. Minister MacKay has been a strong champion of Canada’s military, and is understandably popular among the troops. Canada’s military will need such a strong, passionate champion in the lean years ahead. Mr. MacKay owes it to himself, the troops and the Prime Minister to avoid any further acts that give others fair cause to question his judgment and commitment to living within his government’s limited means.”
- Calgary Stampede board member backs CDS’s fly-in work appearances at the Stampede.
- More media regurgitation of the same flight logs. “The majority of flights on the government-owned Challenger jets in the month of June were taken by defence officials who could have used commercial aircraft, according to documents obtained by CBC News ….”
- This columnist asks a very different question on the CDS-Challenger non-fracas: “…. Natynczyk says the Challengers are often being flown empty on training flights that are needed for to maintain the certification of the aircraft and pilots. That being the case, he argues he is only making use of flights that would have taken place anyway, but without a meaningful destination. After all, the added costs of actually using the jets, after deducting the fixed costs of ownership, is reported to be only about $2,600 an hour, a pittance compared to the $2.4 million an hour we spend on the armed forces that Natynczyk leads. Yet here’s my question. Why are we looking for make-work projects for such expensive aircraft? Three are equipped for medical flights. Why don’t we sell them if there isn’t enough cost-effective work? ….” Along the same lines: “…. Perhaps the key is not to expand the VIP list but the VIT (very important task) list. Three of the fleet of six Challengers are occasionally used for medevacs. What other secondary roles might they be able to perform that could be of value to ordinary Canadians or Armed Forces members with important needs — subject, of course, to the planes’ availability?”
- “The Defence Department says HMCS Chicoutimi will be ready for action by 2013 but a former crew member who was on the sub the day it caught fire seven years ago believes it will never sail again. In an email Tuesday, a department official said Chicoutimi began a refit in July 2010 and work is expected to be finished by late next year. Vice-Admiral Paul Maddison, the head of Maritime Command, welcomed the news on Wednesday. “We are looking forward to getting Chicoutimi back to sea where she is needed,” he said in a separate email. But a former submariner, who had to leave the navy because of health complications from the 2004 Chicoutimi fire, laughed at the idea the submarine would be ready for 2013. Chicoutimi has been cannibalized,” said the man, who did not want his name used because he still has friends in the navy …. “Chicoutimi will be nothing more than a harbour training sub,” the former crew member predicted. Still, the sub’s former skipper, Cmdr. Luc Pelletier, is more optimistic about Chicoutimi’s future. “It will be a significant milestone for me personally and for many, I am certain, when Chicoutimi returns to the operational fleet,” Pelletier said. “A lot of effort, dedication and sacrifice was made by the initial Canadian crew during her U.K. reactivation and repatriation to Canada. So her return to the fleet means our plight was not in vain and Chicoutimi can now shape her future in the defence and security of Canada.” Pelletier’s response was emailed to The Chronicle Herald by a Defence Department spokeswoman ….”
- Way Up North “Just days after Gen. Walt Natynczyk, Canada’s chief of defence staff, left Moscow after meeting his counterpart last weekend, a Russian official announced that the country would be increasing its Arctic military presence, a move that could increase tensions in the resource-rich area. Anton Vasilev, a special ambassador for Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was quoted this week by the Interfax news agency as saying his country would be beefing up its presence in the Arctic, and that NATO was not welcome there ….” In case this looks familiar, check bullet # 13 here from Tuesday’s MILNEWS.ca summary.
- Commander of Canada Command, Lieutenant General Walter Semianiw speaks to Washington D.C. university think tank – highlights of his speech via Twitter here (PDF of Twitter feed of speech also downloadable here if link doesn’t work)..
- Canada, UK issue “Joint Declaration” – here’s some of the security bits: “…. We will continue to work with Afghan and international partners to help build a more viable country that is better governed, more stable and secure, and never again a safe haven for terrorists. Through the training of Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), regional diplomacy, and development assistance, we are working to help enable the transition of security in Afghanistan to the ANSF by the end of 2014. We will create greater interoperability between our defence forces and deepen cooperation on procurement and capabilities, to be enabled in part by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Defence Material Cooperation, existing MoUs and the “Partners in Defence” dialogue, which will draw on the lessons of current and recent national and NATO-led operations. We will strengthen our counter-terrorism collaboration, in particular in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel and South Asia, including our efforts to tackle terrorist finance activity in third countries ….”
Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ): Mr. Speaker, earlier in question period, the Minister of National Defence refused to answer a very simple question. I will ask him once again. Given that NATO announced today that Canadian soldiers will be leaving Kandahar in early 2010 and going to a neighbouring district, can the Minister of National Defence confirm that this redeployment will not change the July 2011 end date of the mission for all Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan?
Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, CPC): Yes, I can confirm that, Mr. Speaker.
I suppose now, the Bloc Quebecois can complain if there’s even ONE Canadian soldier left in Afghanistan, right? I guess he didn’t get the PM’s memo about still figuring out what happens next.The mambo continues…
I know the details of Canada’s post-2011 mission are still being sorted out.
Mixed messaging by Ministers of the Crown during Question Period (QP), the most public (and probably least representative) portion of House of Commons business, doesn’t help, though.
This from Hansard during QP 8 Oct 09 (highlights mine):
Hon. Bob Rae (Toronto Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. There is some confusion on the government’s position with respect to the military mission in Afghanistan post-2011. For the second time in as many weeks the Minister of National Defence has talked about this. I would like to get the minister again on record. I tried to get him last week on this question. Could the minister confirm that the Canadian military mission in Afghanistan will be over in 2011, yes or no?
Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, it seems the only person who is confused is the hon. member on the other side of the House. Let me be perfectly clear. Canada will end its military mission in 2011. Do I have to repeat it to him in French?
Hon. Bob Rae (Toronto Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am not the one he needs to repeat it to. He needs to repeat it to his colleague, the Minister of National Defence. The problem is that when he speaks in committee or elsewhere, he says the exact opposite, and that is important. I will ask the minister the question again. How will the government ensure that the House of Commons is consulted before any changes are made to the military mission in Afghanistan?
Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, let me quote the hon. member who said, this week, in the House:
I do not believe that Canada’s commitment to Afghanistan can, in any way, shape or form, end in 2011. I do not believe our commitment to the region can end in 2011.
Then he went on to talk about development.
Our position is clear. The military combat mission will end in 2011.
Funny what a difference that one word “combat” can make…
Yesterday, during Question Period, the Prime Minister gave another version of what’s next for Canada in Afghanistan post-2011 (highlights mine):
“Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the House of Commons voted last year to have all troops out of Kandahar by 2011, but now we hear hints from the Minister of National Defence that the troops may stay in Afghanistan longer. It is now the established practice in the House that there be a vote in the House of Commons on the deployment of Canadian troops. Does the Prime Minister believe that he can keep troops in Afghanistan beyond 2011 without a vote in the House authorizing such a deployment?
Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC): Mr. Speaker, let us be clear that it was this government that brought in the practice that military deployments have to be approved by the House of Commons. The position of the government is clear. The military mission in Afghanistan will end in 2011. I have said it here and I have said it across the country. In fact, I think I said it recently in the White House.”
The day before, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon shared this message during Question Period:
“I will say this clearly and succinctly so that the member will understand. Yes, we are sticking to that motion. Yes, the Minister of National Defence answered that question previously with the same response that we always give. We are putting an end to our military combat mission by 2011, and that is clear.”
On my highlights above:
2) That’s NOT what the Motion says – it only says Canadian Forces troops will be out of Kandahar by the end of 2011.
E.R. Campbell over at Milnet.ca sums it up quite well:
“Political leaders, including Prime Minister Harper, Ministers Cannon and MacKay, and Michael Ignatieff have all been careless with the facts and, almost without exception, Canadian politicians have done a real disservice to Canadians, especially to the Canadian men and women who are prosecuting this war. They should all be ashamed.”
I offer only a couple of changes to ERC’s masterful summary to express my feelings:
“Political leaders, including Prime Minister Harper, Ministers Cannon and MacKay, and Michael Ignatieff have all been careless and inconsistent in the facts their statements to the public and, almost without exception, Canadian politicians have done a real disservice to Canadians, especially to the Canadian men and women who are prosecuting this war. They should all be ashamed.”