MILNEWS.ca Blog

Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight

Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Megeney

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 5 Nov 11

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MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 27 Aug 11

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  • A new study shows that a majority of Canadians think the Canadian Forces are important, but would like to see the military return to a more traditional peacekeeping role instead of a combat one. An Ipsos-Reid study, published in June 2011 for the Department of National Defence and titled: Views of the Canadian Forces 2011 Tracking Study, surveyed 1,651 Canadians across the country between March 21 and 24 on their knowledge and opinions about Canada’s military and its missions, primarily in Afghanistan and Libya. When asked to describe the mission in Afghanistan, such words as “deadly,” “expensive,” “underfunded” and “endless” were used. “There was a also a sense of “enough is enough,” the study authors wrote. “In general, many participants seemed to feel that they were under-informed about the Canadian Forces’ role in Afghanistan, and that they did not know why the Canadian Forces was still there,” the study said ….”
  • Way Up North (x)  Prime Minister Stephen Harper has sent a signal to Beijing that Ottawa will not relinquish its sovereignty over the portions of the Arctic lying within its territory. Countries around the world are looking northward as the sea passage across the top of Canada becomes increasingly navigable and exploration for new energy and mineral sources suggests the Arctic could contain a wealth of untapped natural resources. One of those countries is China, which has begun to take a hard look at the potential that lies under what was once a frozen ocean, especially the commercial and shipping possibilities, and has asked for special observer status in the Arctic Council. On Friday, a reporter with the official Chinese news service who is accompanying the Prime Minister on his annual summer tour, asked him to clarify his position. “It seems like there are some local media reports that the Arctic region belongs to the Arctic countries and it’s not the business of the rest of the world,” the Chinese reporter said. “What is your comment on this opinion and what role do you think the rest of the world can play in the Arctic region affairs?” Mr. Harper responded by saying that vast areas of land and significant territorial waters within the Arctic are under the sovereignty of various countries, including Canada. “The government of Canada, working with our partners and the people in this region, intend to assert our sovereignty in these regions,” said the Prime Minister ….”
  • Way Up North (x)  Wired.com’s Danger Room blog on the CF’s tender call for quiet snowmobiles“The Canadian government wants a stealth snowmobile. Just, apparently, because. It’s not as if Canada has any alpine enemies to sneak up on with shadowy, frigid cavalry. But that’s not going to stop the Canadian Department of National Defence from spending a half million dollars on a prototype ….”
  • The body of a former Ottawa resident was found this week among over 150 others in a Tripoli warehouse, members of Canada’s Libyan community report. Abdulhamid Darrat, who first came to Ottawa in the early 1980s, ran a successful Internet company in Libya called Baitaslxams. He was taken by government officers along with five co-workers and shoved into the back of a van, while at work in May. His daughter, Khadija, 16, said the last time she saw her father was at 3 a.m. on May 19 before he headed into the office for the day. Khadija said Libyan officials led the family to believe that Darrat was taken out of Tripoli in order to do some sort of Internet work for the government. She said relatives with contacts in the Gadhafi regime told them Darrat was well looked after and doing well ….”
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be at the table when world leaders decide the future of Libya. A conference dubbed “Friends of Libya” is set for Sept. 1, in Paris, France. French President Nicolas Sarkozy invited all NATO member countries, including Canada, and added China, Russia, India and Brazil to the invite list. Sarkozy said he called the conference “to help a free Libya, tomorrow’s Libya, and to really show that we are going forward and passing from military collaboration to civil collaboration to resolve the situation.” ….”
  • How’d the Libyan rebels get that expensive Canadian-built micro-UAV“…. Start-up Aeryon is mainly focused on the consumer uses of drones, such as replacing satellite mapping with drone mapping. Their drones are dual-purpose products — intended for commercial use, but also usable for military operations as demonstrated below. Canadian law only prohibits them from selling drones to North Korea or Iran. “Because it’s a dual-purpose product, rather than just intended for military use, we face fewer restrictions when sending them to other countries,” says (Aeryon CEO David) Kroetsch ….”
  • One old warhorse’s glass-is-half-empty view of Libya: “…. is Libya a “victory”? We don’t know much about the rebel leadership and the National Transitional Council (NTC) that Canada, for one, is pledged to support. What we do know is that the rebels have gotten rid of one of their military leaders – former Interior Minister Abdul Younis — who was assassinated by his own fighters in Benghazi for reason unknown. That’s an uncomfortable omen for the future. Also known is that with total victory, tribal and ideological factionalisms surface, and scores beg to be settled ….”
  • Exercise PANAMAX 2011 in, around Panama is winding down.
  • Afghanistan (1)  Four Chinook helicopters flown by the Canadian military in the deserts of southern Afghanistan soon will be headed to another desert — in Arizona. Unable to sell the aging aircraft, the federal government has decided to ship the Chinooks to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, a U.S. air force installation known as “The Boneyard.” The helicopters will be stored at the open-air facility outside Tucson until the government can find a buyer, said Tracy Poirier, a spokeswoman for the Defence Department. The department, however, declined to provide a cost estimate for the storage, saying it is prohibited from revealing the details of contracts made with a foreign governments. “This was the most economical option available to us,” Poirier said. “This facility is the biggest of its kind in North America and very specialized at storing and reinstating old aircraft.” ….”
  • Afghanistan (2)  Last Canadian Air Wing boss back home.
  • Afghanistan (3)  Canadian reporter discovers it’s damned expensive bringing stuff to fight a war 1/2 way around the world“Summer in (southern) Afghanistan is a blast furnace. Temperatures rise over 50C. Air conditioning is what allows the frenzied pace of NATO’s war during the fighting season. The price is astronomical. The Americans have calculated that in the past two years they have spent $20 billion on AC. If you add the rest of NATO, that figure is probably well over $24 billion. That means that coalition forces spend more to keep themselves cool each year than Afghanistan’s gross national product. Every drop of fuel, drinking water as well as every morsel of food consumed on NATO bases is imported into this landlocked country – most of it trucked in through Pakistan. The cost is enormous ….”
  • Afghanistan (4)  Chatting up surrendered Taliban.
  • Ronald Kevin Megeney, 1982-2007, R.I.P.:  The trial of former Nova Scotia reservist Matthew Wilcox, charged in the shooting death of his friend and comrade in Afghanistan in 2007, has been adjourned until Sept. 12. Wilcox has pleaded not guilty to charges of criminal negligence causing death and negligent performance of a military duty in the death of Cpl. Kevin Megeney, a fellow reservist from Nova Scotia ….”  More here.
  • Some U.S. Army LAV work for a Canadian companyGeneral Dynamics Land Systems-Canada, a business unit of General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE:GD), received a contract worth $49.2 million from the U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command. Per the contract, General Dynamics will provide training and field service support for Light Armored Vehicles (“LAV”) that was previously supplied under a Foreign Military Sale (“FMS”) contract. Support activities under this contract include the provision of field support teams to conduct operator and maintenance training, technical support and fleet status monitoring. The five-year contract was awarded through the Canadian Commercial Corporation, a Crown Agency of the Canadian Government and is expected to be completed by July 2016 ….”
  • Postmedia News offers up a series of terrorism profiles of different countries, including Canada.
  • This from the Veterans Affairs Info-MachineOn behalf of the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of National Revenue, announced today up to $5,000 in funding for the official opening of the Air Force Heritage Park in Summerside, Prince Edward Island. “Our government is proud to support great community projects like this one,” said Minister Blaney. “We commend all those involved with the creation of the Air Force Heritage Park for doing their part to recognize the men and women who have served our country, past and present.” ….”

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 26 Aug 11

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  • Libya Mission  “NATO official, speaking on condition of anonymity” says Canada punching above its weight in Libya“Canadian fighter jets were in the air again this week, striking at the Gaddafi regime’s tanks and artillery, part of this country’s surprisingly substantial contribution to the five-month-long NATO bombing campaign in Libya. As one of three nations carrying out the bulk of the sometimes-controversial air war, Canada with its aging CF-18 fighters has made a contribution clearly disproportionate to the compact size of its air force, say alliance and academic sources. While Britain and France have about three times as many fighter-bombers in the operation as this country and are usually credited with most of the fighting, Canada has been close behind in its role, said a NATO official, speaking on condition of anonymity ….”
  • “New” Libyan diplomat recognized by Canada.  “Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird (Thursday) issued the following statement: I am pleased to welcome Abubaker Karmos, appointee of the National Transitional Council (NTC) of Libya, as chargé d’affaires ad interim at the Embassy of Libya in Canada. Mr. Karmos’ accreditation by Canada was completed this morning and he has already assumed his functions ….”  In case the name sounds familiar, here’s why:  “Former Libyan diplomat Abubaker Karmos, who defected from the Libyan Embassy in Ottawa in February, has been confirmed as the Libyan National Transitional Council’s representative in Ottawa, Foreign Minister John Baird announced Thursday ….”
  • A Canadian national has reportedly been killed fighting with the anti-regime rebels in Libya“A Canadian man died on the frontlines of the Libyan conflict this week while fighting with the rebels trying to oust Moammar Gadhafi from power. A friend has revealed that Nader Benrewin was shot dead by a sniper as he took part in a raid on Gadhafi’s Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli, which Libyan rebels stormed on Tuesday. Benrewin, 24, was born in Edmonton, but worked in Ottawa for the past three years, Haitham Alabadleh told The Canadian Press. The Ottawa man made the decision to go back to Libya where his family was living and he pledged to fight with the rebels ….”  More from CBC.ca and Postmedia News.
  • A Canadian “independent journalist” is now free again.  “Dozens of journalists, including a Canadian, who were stranded in a hotel in downtown Tripoli by the fighting were released Wednesday. Journalists had been holed up inside the Rixos hotel under the watch of armed men loyal to Col. Moammar Gadhafi. Among those released from the hotel was Mahdi Nazemroaya, a 29-year-old freelance journalist from the Ottawa area. His friend, Briton Amos, said Wednesday that Nazemroaya left the hotel with the other journalists and was “out of danger.” The Centre for Research on Globalization, for which Nazemroaya works as a correspondent, said in a statement Wednesday that he was safe aboard a chartered boat from the International Organization for Migration. It said Nazemroaya was set to return to Canada ….”  Funny, the statement issued by the Centre doesn’t mention the bit I highlighted above in red.  I guess that kinda wrecks the “NATO as bad guy” story line, right?
  • Interesting prediction.  “…. events in Libya suggest we may be moving (toward) something very different, perhaps a war that is above and beyond the people. That’s as close as we want to get to raging conflicts. Among the officers I talk with, the strategic thinkers are straining to better understand these scenarios, and what they will mean for Canadian and other forces. No one knows the future, but critical spending decisions have to be made. The current mood strongly suggests that should we again become involved in foreign actions, we will want to rely more on airpower and naval supremacy, while the armies stay home. (Diplomats may also discover their talents are again in high demand.) ….”
  • Gwynne Dyer on what (may) happen next in Libya“…. Britain and France, in particular, have committed a great deal of political capital to the success of the Libyan revolution. They carried out more than half of the air strikes in support of the rebels, while other European democracies and Canada, all NATO members, did the rest. (The United States only contributed surveillance capabilities and occasional Predator drone strikes after the first few weeks.) These European allies need to justify their intervention to their own people, so they will do everything in their power to make sure that there are no massacres, that Gadhafi and his close allies, when caught, are handed over to the International Criminal Court for trial (much better for the stability of the country than trying him in Libya), and that the process of building a democratic government in Libya goes as smoothly as possible. They have a great deal of leverage over the rebel forces at the moment, and they will use it to keep the revolution on the tracks. Despite all the obstacles to a smooth transition that Libya faces, the outcome here could be surprisingly positive.”  One hopes.
  • Way Up North  How it’s not all competition and conflict in the Arctic “…. Together, the CCGS Louis S. St. Laurent and USCGC Healy will map the Alpha Ridge, a 2,000 kilometre-long range of underwater mountains running from the northwest flank of Canada’s Ellesmere Island toward Russia’s (Wrangel) Island. The Alpha Ridge parallels the more famous Lomonosov Ridge, which lies between it and the geographic North Pole. The Healy is equipped with an advanced multi-beam sonar system that provides detailed information about the shape of the ocean floor. The Louis S. St. Laurent carries a sophisticated seismic array that measures the character and thickness of seabed sediments. However, vibrations from icebreaking can affect the accuracy of these instruments. And so the two ships take turns clearing a path for each other, with the resulting sonar and seismic data being shared between the U.S. and Canada. It’s a partnership born of necessity. Neither country has two icebreakers capable of the task, and both require a complete scientific picture of the seabed in order to determine their rights over offshore oil and gas ….”
  • Senator:  Now’s the time to grasp the nettle and close bases to save money“…. Stephen Harper should take advantage of a moment in Canada’s political history that isn’t likely to come along again for some time: a majority government, with at least four more years in power guaranteed. If the Prime Minister moved quickly, he could put a plan in place that would rationalize Canada’s military infrastructure without paying an enormous price at the ballot box. Harper doesn’t even have to finger the infrastructure that should go – in fact, he shouldn’t. He should instruct his military leaders to do an assessment of what infrastructure is still needed, and what can be eliminated in the interests of efficiency and effectiveness. Once that report was in – and it would be a controversial one no matter what bases and installations were selected for closure – the government should enact it, on the military’s advice. The Prime Minister should make it clear to all Canadians that this is an arm’s-length operation – no interference from the Cabinet or other members of Parliament ….”
  • Report leaked to Postmedia News  Editorial“…. past attempts to bring needed change had failed because of internal resistance. People in the forces feared the loss of status, power and resources, or increased accountability. That’s not surprising. Any large organization likely faces the same challenge in making changes to increase effectiveness. Many people have a strong vested interest in the status quo and the ability to find no end of ways to delay and impede change …. The expertise of managers in the Canadian Forces, or anywhere else, should be respected. But Leslie, who is leaving the military for a private sector job next month, comes from those ranks. What’s needed is leadership at the very top. In this case, it must come from MacKay and Harper. Our troops – and taxpayers – deserve no less.”
  • Afghanistan  What one Canadian says we could be doing.  “…. if we in Canada can find some of the enthusiasm Afghans have for the possibilities education can breathe into the country, we can push for education to be at the fore of rebuilding there. Canada has invested precious human lives and billions of dollars in Afghanistan. What greater legacy could we leave than to advocate for, and invest generously in, a robust public education system that could finally put Afghanistan on the path to peace?”
  • Ronald Kevin Megeney, 1982-2007, R.I.P.:  A Canadian soldier says he handled two weapons immediately after a fellow soldier was fatally shot at a military base in Afghanistan in 2007 and noticed that one of the pistols was loaded. Master Cpl. Andrew Noseworthy told the court martial Thursday of former reservist Matthew Wilcox that he was on the opposite side of a partition in a tent watching a movie on a laptop with another soldier when he heard a shot at the Kandahar Airfield. He said he ran around to the other side of the tent where he saw Cpl. Kevin Megeney lying next to his bed and Wilcox kneeling beside him. “I can’t recall what he (Wilcox) was doing,” Noseworthy said ….”
  • F-35 Tug o’ War  Finally, all of the U.S. Joint Strike Fighters can fly again.

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 31 May 11

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  • Karl Manning, 5 RALC, R.I.P.:  Arriving at CFB Trenton this afternoon – more here and here.
  • Meanwhile, Manning’s parents are having a hard time believing what happened French version, Google English translation.
  • Remembering the fallen through art. “For one parent it meant staring into the eyes of a son lost too soon. For another, it was a chance to honour the daughter who was taken too early. Canadians across the country will get a chance to see for themselves a hand-painted mural of the 156 members of the Canadian Forces who lost their lives as part of the mission to Afghanistan. The Portraits of Honour, created by artist Dave Sopha, is to be unveiled in Trenton, Ont., on Tuesday and will travel from coast to coast to give Canadians a chance to honour those who gave their lives to better those of others. The oil-painted mural stretches three metres by 10 metres and features the faces of every Forces member who has died as part of the Afghan mission. Sopha used photographs and advice from family members to make each face an honest depiction of the person. “Each one takes me about 80 hours and I become almost like their best friend,” Sopha said in an interview. “I sit there and talk to them and work on them all day and all night.” He has spent more than 6,500 hours on the mural but says his work won’t be complete until Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan comes to a close in July ….”
  • Kevin Megeney, 1982-2007, R.I.P.:  Latest Court Martial of man accused of shooting delayed until August. – more here.
  • Afghanistan (1):  The PM drops by as the combat mission wraps up.
  • Afghanistan (2):  The PM reminds us it’s still dangerous…. “The first significant wave of Canadian troops destined to train Afghan security forces arrived on the ground Monday, marking the beginning of a major shift in Ottawa’s contribution to the war-ravaged nation. The announcement was tucked into Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s farewell tour of Kandahar. Instability reigns in many parts of Afghanistan and it was brutally driven home over the weekend in a deadly Taliban attack in the northern part of the country. “Obviously in every part of Afghanistan, dangers exist. We’re about this,” said Harper, who emphasized Canadian advisers and trainers will work in classrooms behind the wire, not on the front lines ….”
  • Afghanistan (3):  …. while mentioning the BIG danger seems to be gone.  “…. As Canadian troops prepare to pivot, moving from a combat role to a training role in two months, the Prime Minister all but declared victory for this mission, both in front of some 500 soldiers at New Canada House, but more passionately to reporters afterward. “We have to look at this mission as a great success,’’ Harper said. Canadians took on the toughest province in Afghanistan, he said. But the success was much greater than that, he added. “The world came to Afghanistan because Afghanistan had become such a terrible and brutal place — it had become a threat to the entire world. “Whatever the challenges and troubles that remain, Afghanistan is no longer a threat to the world. “This country does not represent a geostrategic to the world. It is no longer a source of global terrorism.’’ ….”  More of that messaging here, here and here.
  • Afghanistan (4):  “After four volunteers were murdered by the Taliban for participating in a $60-million Canadian-funded project to eradicate polio in Afghanistan, Rahmattulah Bashardost continued to help distribute vaccine to more than 350,000 Kandahari children because, he said, it was the right thing to do. “The Taliban threatened to kill me if I did not quit this job, but what else can we do?” Bashardost asked. “We must support our people and our country. “Doing this in Kandahar is a hard thing because the roads are so often blocked by the Taliban, by Afghan security forces or by (NATO’s) International Security Assistance Force. To stop polio you have to pay attention, road by road, street by street even if in some villages the elders do not cooperate.” Bashardost and several dozen of the 8,000 anti-polio campaign volunteers in Kandahar were honoured Thursday with commemorative plaques by Canada and the provincial government in a ceremony at the governor’s palace ….”
  • Taliban Propaganda Watch:  Not one, but two choppers allegedly shot down in Zabul.
  • One in four Canadian soldiers returning from Afghanistan is suffering from mental problems or “high-risk drinking,” according to post-deployment screening reports obtained by The Globe and Mail under access to information. In the past decade, as Canadian Forces were called on to undertake perilous new missions, the military has struggled to understand the scope of mental-health problems among troops. The first comprehensive study of front-line soldiers based on their actual medical history is still under way, leaving questions about stress disorders to self-reporting surveys. The latest survey, completed last June, covered more than 17,000 soldiers returning from all regions of Afghanistan since 2005. It found that while most “report good mental health,” there was “an important minority” of 12 per cent who had one or more mental-health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. In addition, “harmful” or “hazardous” drinking was reported by a further 13 per cent of the troops. Canadian Forces Ombudsman Pierre Daigle has called PTSD and related stress illnesses “a real hardship for Canada’s soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen for many years to come.” The Ombudsman is set to publish a major investigation of mental health among troops in coming months ….”  Meanwhile, the Globe has chosen to NOT share the report obtained via ATIP – interesting, considering the piece is written by a journalist who’s helped campaign for more freedom of information from government.
  • Meanwhile, “…. The CF continues to over-extend its mandate in filling the many gaps in (Veterans Affairs Canada’s) patchwork of often inadequate programs. A new universal approach which has veterans, the CF, their families, medical, and business experts needs to be driving veterans’ policy. Canada does not have to reinvent the wheel. We did it right after World War II. The ingredients are the same: income bridging, comprehensive post-secondary education, business start-up assistance, housing assistance and extended medical care all working towards a program of complete and universal financial, professional and psychological transition. Either Canada relearns a universal and comprehensive approach to caring for its releasing and injured military or one day the eager recruits may dry up. Otherwise, a military collective bargaining unit may be the only way to force government to act where once Canada was only too eager to care.”
  • There will be 2,100 jobs lost over the next three years at the Department of National Defence, but it doesn’t change the department’s recruitment goals for Canada’s armed forces, says a DND official. “The recruiting goals are set out in the Canada First Defence Strategy and that doesn’t change, so what was announced earlier has no effect on recruitment,” said Andrea Cameron, a communications adviser with DND ….”
  • Congrats, and here’s hoping one day, the fact that the new person’s a woman won’t make any difference in the announcements.  Rear-Admiral Jennifer Bennett (links to bio) was appointed as the first female Chief, Reserves and Cadets today, replacing Major-General Dennis Tabbernor upon his retirement from the Canadian Forces. Vice-Admiral Bruce Donaldson, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, presided over the ceremony at National Defence Headquarters. The Chief Reserves and Cadets advises the Chief of the Defence Staff and other senior DND/CF officials about matters concerning the 35,000 member strong Reserve Force to help ensure their unique requirements are integrated with Canadian Forces policies and programs. The Reserve Force includes the Primary Reserve, the Cadet Organization Administration and Training Service, and the Supplementary Reserve ….”
  • Time for an apology to the Canadian Airborne Regiment? “…. 16 years after the Somalia inquiry which resulted in its “disbandment in disgrace,” the final commanding officer of the regiment is demanding an apology from the federal government. “When they disbanded the regiment, they tore the heart out of me, and of every other man that was serving that day and serving in that regiment before,” said retired colonel Peter G. Kenward. “It was a miscarriage of justice, it was grossly unfair and it was a politically expedient move by the Liberal government of the day.” …. “The soldiers, the people who built that regiment, 99.9% were so harshly punished for the misdeeds and the wrongs of a few,” said Kenward. “Under any justice system, that is totally unacceptable.” Groups dedicated to the “Airborne Brotherhood” are filled with calls that the regiment be reinstated and the term “disgrace” removed from the official record. Many young soldiers still wear the disbanded colours. The Conservative MP representing CFB Petawawa, the final home of the Airborne, supports the call ….”  Follow the wide-ranging discussion on this at Army.ca.
  • What’s Canada Buying? (1)  Ottawa is no longer imposing penalties on Sikorsky for delays in the production of its fleet of maritime helicopters, which have missed their latest deadline. The federal government vowed in 2004 to slap penalties of $3-million a month – up to a total of $36-million – for delays in the delivery of the aircraft that will replace the aging Sea Kings. At the time, the goal was to get the first Cyclone CH-148 in 2008. However, the contract was later amended to allow for the delivery of an interim, or incomplete, helicopter in late 2010, with fully equipped choppers arriving in 2012. Last year, the government announced more delays, saying the first interim helicopters would arrive this spring. Now the prognosis is for formal delivery later this summer. However, Sikorsky is not paying any penalties these days, as the amended contract imposed a cap on penalties for the “interim” helicopters, which will not meet all of the contractual requirements that were imposed upon Sikorsky seven years ago. “The maximum amount for liquidated damaged for the late delivery of the interim helicopters is $8-million. That maximum amount has now been attained by Sikorsky,” the Department of Public Works said on Friday in answer to a question from The Globe and Mail ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying? (2)  With 70 per cent of its defence revenues coming from within the country, Thales Canada is keeping a close eye on procurement activity in Ottawa. Rumblings of trouble are already starting as the federal government aims to shave $4 billion in annual savings by 2014 from a program spending budget that currently tops $80 billion. Further, in 2010 the Department of National Defence began a strategic review as part of an ongoing process by which the government examines how each of its departments and agencies spends their money ,and how funds can be saved. Given a contract Thales Canada recently received, the firm has an interest in the results of the DND review, said Dave Spagnalo, the company’s vice-president of defence and security. Thales has 140 employees in Ottawa. Thales was awarded a nearly $11-million contract in March to create a new command, control and communications system for defence applications …. “
  • G8/G20 Money Pits Watch:  The bill for security at last summer’s G8 and G20 summits could have been much lower if the government had used more military personnel instead of police officers, Canada’s parliamentary budget officer says. Kevin Page’s comments on Monday came in response to a CBC/Radio-Canada report that revealed the RCMP contracted hundreds of police officers from across the country to travel to Ontario for the two summits, and paid millions in premiums to them for working on days off or during vacations. Page also cited the decision to host the dual summits at separate venues in Toronto and the Muskoka region as the main reason why the final price tag is expected to exceed more than $1 billion. “Could we have saved money? Yes. If the decision was made that we could have had one venue as opposed to two, we could have reduced those costs quite significantly,” Page said Monday. “If we were comfortable having more of a military presence, as opposed to an RCMP presence, we might have been able to save costs further.” ….”
  • Coming up at next month’s Conservative Party convention“The Conservatives are to consider whether to declare that any Canadian who takes up arms against the military of this country or one of its allies should be automatically stripped of citizenship and be tried for “high treason.” The resolution is just one of dozens -on issues ranging from tax policy, to euthanasia, to prostitution to samesex marriage-that Tory delegates will discuss at a party convention in June. Currently, the Criminal Code allows for someone to be charged if they assist “an enemy at war with Canada, or any armed forces against whom Canadian Forces are engaged in hostilities, whether or not a state of war exists between Canada and the country whose forces they are.” Anyone convicted is automatically sentenced to life in prison. In recent years, as the war on terror has spread throughout the globe, some have debated whether Canada has enough legal clout to punish people who do battle not only with Canadian troops, but also with allied forces ….”  More here.
  • “…. Newlyweds William and Kate will spend Canada Day in Ottawa as part of their whirlwind, nine-day royal tour from June 30 to July 8 to seven cities – Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Summerside, Charlottetown, Yellowknife and Calgary. Heritage Minister James Moore said Monday the royal presence will make it the biggest bash ever in the nation’s capital …. The itinerary will place a special focus on, among others, Canada’s military and war veterans. Both Prince William and his brother, Prince Harry, are members of the British Forces and Harry served a tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2007-08 ….” More on the itinerary and theme details here and here.
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