MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – November 9, 2012
- Afghanistan Welcome home! “The arrival home of (Petawawa) soldiers deployed for nine long months to assist the rebuilding of Afghanistan’s military marks the end of Petawawa’s engagement in that war-torn nation. Anxious family and friends expressed joy as 17 personnel, still wearing their desert camouflage combats, stepped off the bus in front of Korea Hall late Tuesday night. Since February, 95 local soldiers have been in southwest Asia as part of Operation Attention, the Canadian participation in the complex NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan (NTM-A). Their assignment was to deliver training and professional development to Afghanistan’s fledgling security forces including the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the Afghan National Police ….”
- Speaking of Afghanistan, quick – how many references to Afghanistan, where +900 Canadian troops are right now, are there in Veterans Week statements from the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Veterans Affairs this week? (You can also check here if those links don’t work.) Say, compared to last year’s Remembrance Day messages (where “Afghanistan” is mentioned in one, and the name of a man wounded in Afghanistan is mentioned in the other)? Let’s see what’ll come out of the Info-machines this Sunday….
- Remembering (1) Remembering where Canadian troops have served and died over history
- Remembering (2) “More than 70 years ago, during the height of the Second World War, Canadian military photographers were silent witnesses to a nation at war: landing on D-Day, flying with air crews and sailing on battle ships. All with the aim of capturing the moment on film, however grim ….”
- Remembering (3) “As part of Veterans’ Week 2012, the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, wishes to mark the 70th anniversary of the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service, better known as the “Wrens”. Established as a division of the Royal Canadian Navy, the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service was created on July 31, 1942. This group of Canadian women volunteered to serve Canada during the Second World War at a time when women had not previously played an active role in the Canadian military ….”
- Remembering (4) Remembering via new Canadian coins “…. The 2011 Highway of Heroes $10 Silver Commemorative Coin, features a scene of people on a bridge, many carrying Canadian flags in silence as a convoy passes them. The official designation of Highway of Heroes was borne in 2002 and refers to the passageway between Trenton and Toronto, known for the solemn journey of fallen soldiers and their families. The Royal Canadian Mint is donating 20 dollars from the sale of each Highway of Heroes commemorative coin to the Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial and the Military Families Fund …. The 2012 Georgina Pope $5 Silver Coin features portraits of military women from the last century whose careers Pope helped to pioneer appear in three-quarter profile. The coin honours women’s contribution to the Canadian military while also celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Georgina Pope – one of the pioneers not only of women in the military but also of the profession of nursing in Canada ….”
- Remembering (5) Talking up vets in the House of Commons this week
- Meanwhile, “Tom Hoppe earned the Medal of Bravery and the affectionate nickname “Dances With Bullets” for his heroic August 1994 sprint into sniper fire to rescue three children pinned down in the civil war fury of Visoko, Bosnia. That medal — along with others the former army sergeant earned, including the Meritorious Service Cross — will sit on a shelf this Remembrance Day in a quiet but symbolic protest against the Harper government. The fact one of Canada’s most decorated soldiers, and a respected voice in the peacekeeping community, chose to remove his medals –a decision some troops consider sacrilege — speaks volumes about the level of frustration and disillusionment among ex-soldiers and their families. “It’s very, very hard choice for me to do this … but I don’t know what else to do,” Hoppe said Thursday in an interview with The Canadian Press. “As long as people understand there’s no disrespect to veterans whatsoever. It’s just a choice I’ve made because I can’t sit on the sidelines and do nothing anymore. And I’ve tried everything I can. I’ve tried to work with Veterans Affairs and the government, but every time we go to Veterans Affairs with ideas and stuff it’s a confrontational approach.” The protest is also a way to show supports for ex-soldiers who have launched court challenge against the government’s marquee legislation, the New Veterans Charter — approved by all parties, enacted by the Conservatives in 2006 and defended by the government ever since ….”
- What the families go through “…. military life, the reality for more than 45,000 Canadian families, is a different kind of everyday – one defined by random postings, long deployments and awkward reunions. Remembrance Day tends to focus on the sacrifices soldiers make, but there’s always a family keeping watch at home. As Mills observes, year-long separations add an extra layer to the who-takes-out-the-garbage debate, when husbands and wives return to new household practices – and even, in some cases, an entirely new house, if the family was posted during deployment. Those stresses are multiplied for many families, due to mental-health issues such as post-traumatic stress syndrome, anxiety and depression ….”
- More on the RCAF faux Osama relative video being looked into as well as a reminder that one person with less-than-stellar judgement in a group doesn’t mean everyone in the group is the same – more here.
- “…. the Honourable Vic Toews, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety, addressed participants at the Kanishka Project’s Opening Conference, a forum to connect researchers and officials working in the field of counter-terrorism. “Our collective understanding of terrorist threats and of how violent extremism can take root will be strengthened through the research coming out of the Kanishka Project. This opening conference is an important venue where we can exchange ideas, and build communities of research to help inform and shape how we combat terrorism in the future,” said Minister Toews. “Working to prevent future acts of terrorism is the greatest tribute we can offer to the victims of the bombing of Air India Flight 182 and to all victims of terrorism.” On June 23, 2011, the Government of Canada announced the Kanishka Project – a five year $10M initiative which is investing in research on pressing questions for Canada in the field of terrorism and counter-terrorism. The Kanishka Project is named after the Air India Flight 182 plane that was bombed on June 23, 1985, killing 329 people, most of them Canadians. Through this initiative, the Government is funding policy-relevant projects that shed light on terrorism and how best to address it in Canada. The initiative is investing in research through mechanisms like the Kanishka Project Contribution Program, which supports targeted projects funded directly by Public Safety Canada. Research themes are posted on the Public Safety Canada website ….”
- War of 1812 “An obscure military stalemate between the British and Americans has been used by the federal government to overshadow achievements of much greater importance to Canadians, writes Jeffrey Simpson ….” – more here.