News Highlights – 25 Jul 11

  • Supporting the troops, one steak at a time“It’s been a little over a year since Harvey Dann started his Sponsor a Steak campaign. Dann owns Alert Agri Distributors, a West St. Paul, Man., company that exports fat cattle to the U.S. It’s been a good business for Dann, and he’s been thankful for it. Last year, celebrating his 25th year in business, Dann decided to give something back. He started the campaign to feed steaks to Canadian soldiers who were serving overseas. In the past year, Dann has spread the word at various beef industry meetings, and gathered support, with a goal of raising about $110,000 to purchase the steaks. A couple of weeks ago, Dann accomplished his goal. He called the News with the word that he had succeeded in raising enough money for military base parties across Canada, including Edmonton; Shilo, Man.; Gagetown, N.B.; Valcartier, Que.; and Petawawa, Ont. The base parties for Edmonton and Shilo were held in June, 2010 ….”
  • Well done Winnipeg Jets!  “The new Winnipeg Jets logo is doing more for the Canadian Forces than just paying tribute. True North Sports and Entertainment, which owns the team, will give $1 million to military charities over the next ten years. Maj.-Gen. Alain Parent, commander of 1 Canadian Air Division, said it was easy to partner with the new hockey outfit. “Winnipeg has had a long association with the air force,” he said. “Blue Bombers and Jets are both aircraft that have served or are serving the air force.” “In turn, we consider Winnipeg to be the heart of the air force,” he said. Money will be donated to the Military Families Fund, the Air Force Heritage Fund and Soldier On ….”
  • Canada’s defence minister met Sunday with Canadian Rangers ahead of a major, annual Arctic sovereignty operation. Defence Minister Peter MacKay presented members of the 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group with Canadian Forces decoration medals in honour of their 12 years of service. Starting Aug. 8, the 1st Ranger patrol group will take part in Operation Nanook, the military’s annual northern training exercise. The Rangers, a sub-component of the Canadian Forces Reserve, patrol remote parts of Canada’s North, but were also called to Ontario last week to help evacuate First Nations communities threatened by forest fires ….”  More on the awards, as well as Ranger recruiting numbers, from the CF Info-Machine here.
  • Afghanistan  The loss of a not-so secret base in Dubai last year forced the Canadian military to use its unarmed Airbus planes for flights into Kandahar Airfield during the final phase of the combat mission, ministerial briefing notes say. “Pressures imposed by the closure of Camp Mirage and the need to maximize flexibility in providing strategic airlift to support OP Athena have culminated in the (censored) using C-150 flights in KAF,” said a Nov. 1, 2010, briefing note prepared for Defence Minister Peter MacKay. The Canadian military designates its Airbus passenger jets as the CC-150 Polaris but often refers to it simply as the C-150. The air force initially certified the Airbus aircraft to fly into the war zone in 2007. But their use, according to the documents, was considered a “last resort” and a “calculated risk” by commanders on the ground ….”  Um, the Hercules planes flying into and out of Kandahar are “unarmed”, too, although the article is a bit more specific about the risk later on:  “…. The Airbus planes do not have a defensive suite to deflect incoming missiles and are generally considered a civilian aircraft not suited for a war zone ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying:  Big Honkin’ Ship Edition (1)  Vancouver should brace itself for significant change if Vancouver Shipyards Company wins a portion of the $35-billion in federal contracts for new warships and other vessels this fall, a company executive says. In an interview shortly after the company submitted its bid, John Shaw, a vice-president at the parent company Seaspan Marine Corp., said winning the contract would mean expansion of training and apprenticeship programs, and a search for more than 2,000 new employees. “We would be rebuilding an industry. … We’re at a point where we would have to train a whole new generation on shipbuilding,” Mr. Shaw said. “It would be a huge change here.” ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying:  Big Honkin’ Ship Edition (2)  “…. That isn’t to say money won’t be wasted or mistakes made. This project is too big and too spread out across the country to work perfectly. But MacKay’s well-timed slap three years ago might have set the stage for a more effective and coherent shipbuilding program this time around. And that is what’s important. Expensive as it is, this project will provide much more than cash and jobs: It will encourage technology development and trade, and stimulate business right across Canada. It had better be done right.”
  • What’s Canada Buying?  Remember research being done on mine plows from a few years back?  Looks like a bit more work’s being done.
  • Senator Yonah Martin, on behalf of the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, was joined by the Honourable Sung Choon Park, Minister of Patriots and Veterans Affairs for the Republic of Korea, to mark the 58th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice and the service and sacrifice of Veterans of the Korean War. A brief ceremony was held today at the Monument to Canadian Fallen followed by a wreath-laying ceremony at the National War Memorial …. From 1950 to 1953, more than 26,000 Canadians served in Korea, working to restore peace and stability to the area. There were 516 Canadians who made the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of peace, freedom and justice for the people of South Korea ….”
  • More on the War of 1812 commemorations coming up. “Next year, Canada will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 — a three-year war that sent the invading Americans retreating home on the losing side of history. So will Canadians, known for their quiet patriotism, celebrate that victory with respect for our now closest ally and most valuable trading partner? Or, will it turn into a scene of chauvinistic triumphalism, a trait sometimes fairly or unfairly attributed to Canada’s neighbours to the south? “You don’t want to all of a sudden say, ‘We’ve kicked your butts,’ but there’s ways of presenting it,” said Clark Bernat, manager of Niagara Falls Museums, who is among the planners for local upcoming bicentennial celebrations in the city. “This is a war that has led to 200 years of peace between our two countries. There was a reason for them to do battle 200 years ago and we have to provide the reasons why it happened and what the results were.” ….”

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