News Highlights – December 7, 2012

  • F-35 Tug o’ War (1a)  Dueling headlines:  “Ottawa kills F-35 fighter purchase”
  • F-35 Tug o’ War (1b)  This from the PM’s Comms Director’s Twitter feed:  The @mdentandt story is inaccurate on a number of fronts. The reports from 7 pt plan will be tabled before the House rises …. To elaborate on my previous tweet, Cabinet has not taken a decision on the F-35. The Government will fulfill its seven point plan.”
  • F-35 Tug o’ War (1c)  “F-35 deal not cancelled, Tories insist”
  • F-35 Tug o’ War (2)  “F-35 purchase deal appears dead”
  • F-35 Tug o’ War (3)  “Mounting costs for F-35 fighter put Conservative government’s jet purchase in limbo”
  • F-35 Tug o’ War (4a)  “The Harper government is going shopping for alternatives to the controversial F-35 Lightning fighter jet in the most significant demonstration yet that it is prepared to walk away from its first choice for a new warplaneIn an attempt to head off public skepticism that Ottawa’s “options analysis” is something less than a rigorous rethink of which jet is best, the government is enlisting four independent monitors to vet the process.  They will include retired Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, who led the NATO mission in Libya, and University of Ottawa professor Philippe Lagassé, an outspoken critic of the jet procurement ….”
  • F-35 Tug o’ War (4b)  Speaking of Philippe Lagassé, here’s his most recent take …. “…. Certain sole-sourced procurements have created a good deal of controversy as well. Declaring that the F-35 was the only aircraft that can replace the CF-18s has produced the exact opposite of the effect sought by the Joint Strike Fighter’s advocates; it led to a wave criticism which led the government to re-examine Canada’s fighter aircraft options. If the F-35 was clearly the best aircraft, it would have prevailed in a rigorous cost-benefit analysis of various alternatives. Despite Thursday’s confusing news about the F-35, the government’s insistence that all options are being examined suggests that such a comparative assessment may eventually take place ….”
  • F-35 Tug o’ War (5)  A reminder of ALL the steps that still have to be gone through, from the PWGSC Info-machine here – let’s just wait and see, shall we?
  • In other news….Part-time soldiers who lose limbs in the line of duty will now be treated the same as regular members of the Canadian military following insurance improvements passed Thursday by the federal Treasury BoardGovernment sources tell The Canadian Press that the changes will increase coverage for reservists, as initially recommended by the military ombudsman almost four years ago.  The improvements take effect almost immediately and a formal announcement is expected later.  Sources say there are only a handful of cases — possibly less than 10 — every year and the cost to taxpayers is measured in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The insurance coverage under review applies to soldiers serving in Canada, and not to reservists who take up duty overseas in places like Afghanistan. They are covered under a separate, more comprehensive system ….”
  • Two different reports are urging the Harper government not to forget the hard-earned lessons and experience of the last decade in Afghanistan when it comes to shaping the future Canadian military.  The Commons defence committee has issued a long-awaited study on the readiness of the Forces and among the recommendations is a call for more large-scale training and exercises and investment in reserve forces.  The report, 14 months in the making, comes just days after the commander of the army told a Senate committee that budget restraints are forcing him to limit training to a lower standard than during the Afghan war.  And it also comes as National Defence cuts the number of full-time reservists, converting them back to part-time status.  A separate report from the Conference of Defence Associations (PDF) urges the government to preserve the interdepartmental co-operation and structure that was forged during the Kandahar mission.  The think-tank argues that 21st century conflicts will necessitate co-operation among the military, diplomats and development workers.  The association argues that the most effective organizations on today’s battlefields are those with integrated capabilities ….” – more from the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence report in this news release here.
  • Syria  No word on CF going in at this point  “Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is leaving open the question of whether Canada’s military could get involved in the volatile situation in Syria.  With reports emerging that France could intervene in Syria over fears the Bashar al-Assad regime is loading missiles with chemical warheads, interim Liberal leader Bob Rae asked Baird whether Canada might be part of any international response.  The minister was non-committal.  “We’re obviously deeply concerned,” Baird said. “I think President Obama spoke loudly and clearly for the civilized world when he said these actions, if they did follow through on them, would be absolutely unacceptable and there would be serious consequences to be paid.”  Paris-based media have reported that France may lead air strikes against Syrian chemical weapons and air defence installations.  Defence Minister Peter MacKay says the situation in Syria is “top of mind” for him.  “There’s a full spectrum of response that NATO has been examining as to how we prevent further loss off civilian life,” he said Thursday. “Canada has to continue to prepare for those inevitabilities that could bring us into a higher tempo of operation.”  HMCS Regina is already nearby in the Arabian Sea for counter-terrorism operations.  It’s not clear whether the federal government would allow the frigate to take part in any international operation off Syria’s coast ….” – more here.
  • Niiiiiiice…. Graffiti vandals have defaced two Second World War memorials at Dieppe Gardens in what Canada’s Ministry of Veterans Affairs called “cowardly acts of vandalism” that should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  And a local veteran who takes care of the downtown cenotaph near city hall expressed disgust at the damage.  “You’re hurting the people who risked their lives,” said Larry Costello, a Second World War veteran.  “That’s the reason why we’re free today. We put our lives on the line to fight for the freedom of our country.”  Costello has looked after the downtown cenotaph since 1978, raising the flags and making sure it stays in good condition. He said crimes like this are deeply offensive to him and other veterans.  “Oh my God. I don’t know what we’re going to do with those people,” he said. “I can’t find out what joy they would get from disgracing a monument. A monument to our country.”  One graffiti tag — using the initials “R.C.P.” — was sprayed on a retaining wall next to a riverfront plaque donated by the Royal Canadian Electrical Mechanical Engineers, commemorating the end of the war. The initials were also sprayed on each of three markers of a monument memorializing Windsor members of the Royal Canadian Air Force killed in the war.  This is the second time Windsor war memorials have been defaced since September, when someone wrote a homophobic slur in permanent marker on a memorial to First World War dead in Memorial Park ….”
  • The town of Gander is looking for an explanation from Canada’s defence minister Peter MacKay as to why there is still no new military headquarters being built.  In 2009, MacKay was in the town to announce $42-million worth of construction to 9 Wing Gander.  The headquarters building has since been torn down, but construction has yet to begin on the new building.  Gander Mayor Claude Elliott says there is growing concern about the status of the project.  “It’s getting very annoying that the minister would come here and make that announcement and see nothing happen,” Elliott said. “Usually all we get from year to year is it’s starting next year,” He said.  Construction of the new headquarters was originally slated for 2010.  When the start date approached, delays were announced and the project was pushed back.  This pattern has continued and it is now pushed through until 2013. “I’m not optimistic it’s going to start at all,” said Elliot ….”
  • No sign of sharing the docs, so no word on what else is there Canadian companies may be skimping on IT security, leaving themselves and Canadians vulnerable to attacks from hackers, newly released records suggest.  The documents from Public Safety Canada show that the scale of cyber-security threats “is significant” and many companies don’t invest the required money or time in good IT security.  How to solve this problem is something the Harper government has been investigating, according to records released to Postmedia News under access to information laws. They included a meeting with a cyber-security expert at an American conservative think-tank who has argued against any form of government intervention in IT security ….”

One thought on “ News Highlights – December 7, 2012

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s