News Highlights – 7 Aug 11

  • Afghanistan  Condolences from Canada’s PM on the disastrous helicopter crash in Afghanistan killing more than 30 Americans and 7 Afghans“…. On behalf of all Canadians, I offer my deepest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of the brave U.S. service members and Afghan soldiers who lost their lives today in this terrible incident. This tragedy is a stark reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices that men and women in uniform continue to make in Afghanistan. Canada will not waiver in its efforts to see Afghanistan emerge as a peaceful, secure and stable country that will never again be a safe haven for terrorists ….”
  • The boss of Canada’s Army has good things to say (via Twitter) about the new military boss in Quebec Brigadier General Richard Giguère “I’m confidant in BGen Giguère as the new commander of Land Force Quebec Area. His troops are doing well.”  Aussi en français.
  • Some photos at of a recent Pathfinder Course run by the CF.
  • “Ottawa needs to give homeless veterans a place to live while they get their lives back together, New Democrat MP Peter Stoffer demanded Friday. Stoffer said the federal government should set up transition centres in Halifax and across the country to help what he said is a growing number of veterans living on the streets, or at risk of being there soon. The official Opposition’s Veterans Affairs critic said it is Ottawa’s responsibility to help the troubled veterans, many of whom have post-traumatic stress disorder. “These individuals served their country and their country must serve them,” Stoffer told a news conference across the street from the Salvation Army’s Centre of Hope in Halifax ….”
  • A defence of fraternization in a theatre of war.  “…. If there restrictions are imposed on relationships while on active duty because of potential problems, I would make the case that there are as many if not more potential problems from denying the Canadian Force’s personnel the right to have these relationships. Secret trysts, deceptions, and the potential to destroy someone’s career and giving them a criminal record for falling in love must make a near impossible job that much harder ….”  Really? Wonder how the boss having sex with the blog post author’s boss would go over? Not great for newsroom morale, I’d guess.
  • A bit of a fracas over the proposed sinking of the HMCS Annapolis to become a divers’ attraction“…. The Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia plans to sink the warship in an idyllic bay close to Vancouver, creating an easily accessible opportunity for recreational scuba divers and a new home for possibly more than 100 marine species. Residents of the area near the bay and environmentalists are up in arms. They are troubled by the possible release of toxins and increase in boat traffic that could turn the secluded waters into a busy, commercial dive site. They are upset with both the federal and provincial governments, which raised concerns about the project and then, without explanation, encouraged the reef society to move ahead with it ….”
  • Remember Adil Charkaoui (who took his security certificate restrictions to court) and Abousfian Abdelrazik (who spent years in Sudan because he couldn’t fly back to Canada due to being on a U.N. terrorist watch list)?  A Montreal newspaper (articles in French here, here and here) says it’s received documents explaining why authorities were suspicious about these guys.  “…. a CSIS document leaked to Montreal’s French-language newspaper La Presse now suggests why Abousfian Abdelrazik and Adil Charkaoui have been terrorism suspects for so long in the eyes of the federal government. The La Presse report says CSIS intercepted a phone conversation between the two men in the summer of 2000. In the CSIS document the newspaper describes, the two men reportedly discuss a plot to blow up an airplane travelling between Montreal and France using explosives hidden in a keychain. Lawyers representing the two men categorically deny their clients are involved in any terrorist plot, and said the information on which the report is based may not be reliable evidence. “There’s never been any criminal charges against Mr. Abdelrazik. Presumably this type of a conversation would attract at least some kind of criminal investigation or a criminal charge,” said Khalid Elgazzar, one of Abdelrazik’s lawyers ….”  More from English-language media here and here.
  • Still with the back and forth over the Winnipeg Jets’ new logo (via the Winnipeg Free Press).

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