MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – November 19, 2012
- Afghanistan (1) “After eight months on a tour of duty in Afghanistan, brother Neil and Dion Gibbons of St. Mary’s have arrived home for a tearful reunion with their mother. “It’s been a long time. I know she was wishing for us to get back home,” said Dion Gibbons. The Gibbons brothers were reservists with the Canadian military’s 37th Combat Engineering Regiment, and they were helping train Afghan forces to manage their own country’s security when NATO forces pull out in 2014. The two men were also the last people from Newfoundland and Labrador to serve with that regiment ….”
- Afghanistan (2) Blogger underwhelmed with rabble.ca’s coverage of a Remembrance Day protest “…. This week Rabble outdid themselves for shameless promotion of their fellow old-lefties with their story titled Afghan-Canadians tell the real story behind Remembrance Day protest. Unlike the vast majority of Canadians who were horrified to see people interrupting the soldiers as they mourned their fallen comrades- Rabble didn’t see this as much of a problem. Instead, they used their (vile) platform to help promote two of the people involved. But, the problem is, the article they posted doesn’t tell the whole story ….”
- Afghanistan (3) “The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, (Saturday) presented General Abdul Rahim Wardak, Special Advisor to the President of Afghanistan, with an honorary degree from the Royal Military College of Canada …. During Minister MacKay’s bi-lateral meeting with General Wardak they discussed the progress of the Afghan National Security Forces, as well as Canada’s commitment to providing financial support to the Afghan National Security Forces after the end of Canada’s military mission in 2014 ….”
- Israel (1) DefMin: CF’s good to go if Canadians need to go “The Canadian military will take part in an effort to evacuate Canadians in the Middle East should the conflict between Israel and Hamas escalate to a level that warrants it …. “Six years ago the Canadian Forces was involved in a whole of government evacuation. One thing I have come to know and appreciate about the Department of National Defence is there is constant planning…and preparing for whatever inevitabilities may come. We know the situation in Israel is dire,” Defence Minister Peter MacKay said during an exclusive interview with Sun News Network on Sunday morning. MacKay was attending the fourth annual Halifax International Security Forum which began on Friday and wrapped up Sunday ….”
- Israel (2) As Israeli airstrikes continued against targets in the Gaza Strip Saturday, hundreds of people gathered in downtown Edmonton to call for an end to the violence. “It kills any prospect for peace,” said Ghada Ageel, who lived in Gaza before moving to Canada. “Everyone would like peace.” ….” As do the Israelis who get rocketed by Palestinian extremists based in Gaza, right?
- Israel (3) “As Israeli air strikes bombarded the Gaza Strip, passionate advocates for peace in the war-torn region rallied in Halifax’s Cornwallis Park. “Gaza, Gaza don’t you cry, Palestine will never die,” echoed out across the park as handmade posters and Palestinian flags bobbed through the crowd. The rally, organized by the Halifax Peace Coalition and the No Harbour for War Collective, was held in the shadow of the Westin Nova Scotian hotel where hundreds of military, government and business leaders were discussing global security issues as part of the fourth annual Halifax International Security Forum ….”
- “…. at the Halifax International Security Forum, The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, signed a Canada-Colombia Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation, with his Colombian counterpart, Minister of Defense, Juan Carlos Pinzón Bueno. This Memorandum of Understanding provides a strategic framework for the growing defence relationship between our countries ….” – more on the new deal here and here.
- A bit more of what was said at the Halifax International Security Forum here and here.
- Syria “Defence Minister Peter MacKay singled out Russia Saturday, accusing it of propping up the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, and of obstructing diplomatic efforts to end a civil war that has claimed more than 36,000 lives. “Russia, I would suggest, should be called upon to step up and belly up to the United Nations Security Council and exert influence (to end the war),” said MacKay. “They, I would suggest, are the most influential at this time and have the ability to stop supporting this regime that is slaughtering its civilians, to stop its acquiescence – standing on the sidelines and letting it happen while the rest of the world wrings its hands and sucks its teeth. “They can exert influence in the capital of Syria – they’re one of the few countries that really can at this point.” ….”
- More complaints about Toronto-based long-term care for vets “Articles about complaints of substandard care at Canada’s largest facility for war veterans have prompted several more people to come forward with stories of neglect. Some involved injuries to the frail elderly, who live out their last days and months at Sunnybrook Veterans Centre. John Marriott said his family was appalled this spring when they found his ailing 96-year-old father-in-law with a bloody mouth, and discovered his front tooth had been knocked out. Sunnybrook’s explanation, he said, was that the virtually immobile man had somehow wriggled his way out of bed and fallen. “We’ve been so traumatized by all of this,” Marriott said. “It’s like ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ lite.” The new complaints, as was the case previously, come mostly from part of the 500-bed vets centre that houses the most infirm vets rather than the part which resembles a pleasant retirement lodge. Some, fearing reprisals, agreed to speak only on condition of strict anonymity, making it difficult to verify their accounts. Others were less reticent ….”
- One columnist’s opinion “Prime Minister Stephen Harper was gutsy and correct when he announced at the change-of-command ceremonies in Ottawa that the DND budget will be reduced and that the military needs “more teeth and less tail.” In other words, military administrative costs are too high compared to operational costs — especially now that Afghanistan is (or soon will be) history. To some, given that the defence budget of over $22 billion is to be cut, it’s odd that the general (Andrew Leslie) who investigated and recommended cuts in the budget and more efficiency in the military, wasn’t appointed chief of defence staff ….”
- “Police in Lethbridge continue to investigate the discovery of military ordnance that was found inside a residence located at 1000 block of 29th Street South. The explosive disposal unit and members from the Canadian Forces Base Suffield are still on site to make sure the device is removed safely. The type and quantity of the military ordnance is not fully known at this time ….” – more on this here.
- “Canada’s diplomats in Moscow will have to work another three years in an embassy compound that’s vulnerable to terrorist attack and the prying eyes of foreign spies, The Canadian Press has learned. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird was warned in an internal memo from a senior bureaucrat that Canada’s embassy in the Russian capital offers “almost no protection” against a terrorist attack. A leaked copy of the memo details the stalled embassy project, outlining why diplomats won’t be moving to a more secure facility until January 2016 instead of last July as planned. The delay has added nearly $30 million to the cost of the project, since Foreign Affairs received approval in 2008 to move the embassy to a more suitable building. A quarter of the increased cost — or $7.5 million — is for extra construction to keep unidentified “threats” from spying on Canadian diplomats in the new embassy …. Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Jessica Seguin said precautions are being taken to ensure that Canada’s personnel, interests and visitors are protected at its Russian embassy ….”