News Highlights – 14 Jan 11

  • NDP leader Jack Layton calls for people to tell the PM “Canada’s troops outta Afghanistan!” “The federal New Democratic Party is urging those angry at the government’s decision to extend the Afghan mission to send their complaints directly to the Prime Minister’s Office. In a speech to be delivered Friday, party leader Jack Layton will rail against the decision by the Conservative government — and backed by the Liberals — to launch a three-year training mission in the war-scarred country after the Kandahar combat mission ends later this year. He will spell out his own party’s view of the way forward, one that starts with military disengagement. That must be followed by diplomacy to broker peace deals and ceasefires among warring factions, and development efforts to rebuild Afghanistan, Layton will argue ….” Question to Jack: who’s going to protect Canadians who will carrying out this diplomacy?
  • A bit of a story about how a Canadian is helping a U.S. research team defeat IEDs. “It’s a question that haunts Maj. Daniel Hilliker: Why do Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan continue to be killed by cheap roadside bombs, known as improvised explosive devices? The Canadian exchange officer is working in the U.S. as part of a multibillion-dollar international project to defeat a Taliban weapon that costs just a few dollars to make. The challenge has mystified the world’s most powerful militaries — with deadly consequences. “I’m an explosives-disposal guy by background and that’s a question I ask myself every day,” Hilliker said in an interview Thursday from Washington, D.C. He is six months into a three-year spell with the Joint IED Defeat Organization, set up by the Pentagon in 2006 to help defeat the Taliban’s weapon of choice ….”
  • The Harper government has put on hold its search for bidders to operate and maintain the chain of early-warning radars that guards against foreign incursions into Canadian and U.S. airspace in the Far North, Postmedia News has learned.  The North Warning System, a chain of 47 unmanned radars that lines the Arctic coast from Alaska to Labrador, is operated and maintained by Nasittuq Corp. under a 10-year, $624-million contract that ends Sept. 30 this year …. the Canadian government, which originally hoped to award a new contract this April, has shelved the bidding process as it consults with aboriginal groups, as required under land-claim settlements. The consultation process is expected to take months or even years ….”
  • Does the PM’s “Air Force One” really need to be repainted to cover up the military colours?  Someone at the Privy Council Office seems to think so.
  • PM Stephen Harper “condemns international violence against Coptic Christians, commits to protecting religious freedom in Canada“Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Thursday) participated in a round table discussion with several Coptic Christian leaders at a church in Mississauga about the safety and security of Canadians following that faith.  He was joined by Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.  The Prime Minister condemned the heinous bombing which killed 23 Coptic Christians during a New Year’s Eve mass in Egypt and which prompted a number of churches in Canada to go on high alert during the holidays this year …. The Prime Minister also noted the Government is continuing to monitor the situation closely.  “Our Government is aware of the challenges Coptic Christians face, and we will remain vigilant to ensure that they continue to feel safe in their communities,” the Prime Minister added.”

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