Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight News Highlights – December 22, 2012

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  • Barring any major developments, is taking a break until the new year.  In the meantime, check out the blogs in the Blog Roll.
  • Federal government auditors have completed an on-site inspection of Canada’s largest veterans facility prompted by complaints about substandard treatment and neglect of its most frail residentsThe three-person audit team, which included two nursing professionals, is now analyzing resident charts and other data provided by the Sunnybrook Veterans Centre, home to about 500 Second World War and Korean War vets.  According to multiple sources, the auditors from Veterans Affairs Canada spent much of last week at the centre — its first inspection by any level of government in more than seven years.  Auditors interviewed or heard from more than 100 relatives or residents either privately or in groups.  “A significant part of this comprehensive audit is the specialized auditors’ meeting with the families of veterans and veterans themselves,” said Niklaus Schwenker, a spokesman for Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney …. The team is now poring over 100 patient files — with the permission of the residents or their legal representatives — as well as other documentation from the hospital.  Once the data analysis is over — likely by the end of next month — the auditors will generate a report that will initially be circulated internally before being posted publicly …..”   
  • Afghanistan  In a study released …. by the CDA Institute, co-authors Meghan Spilka O’Keefe and George Petrolekas explain and assess our ongoing involvement with the NATO training mission in Afghanistan in the context of Canadian national interests.  The study (28 page PDF) concludes that over the next 18 months two successes must be achieved in order to optimize Canadian national interests: (i) a quantifiable improvement in Afghan security must be demonstrated through the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan (NTM-A); and, (ii) that a sustainable post-2014 structure be put in place. However, to obtain Canadian support for any post-2014 initiatives or involvement, the government will need to better communicate those interests to Canadians ….” 
  • From the Minister’s & Associate Minister’s holiday message to the troops  “…. We wish to extend our gratitude to everyone in the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Canadian Navy and the Department of National Defence. Each and every member of the Defence family embraced this challenging year with the continued strength and passion that Canadians have come to expect from this outstanding team ….”
  • In the coming days, more than 1600 Canadian Forces (CF) men and women serving around the world over this holiday season will receive an Operation Santa Claus package filled with goodies donated by caring Canadians and businesses.  These holiday packages are intended to provide some of the traditional comforts of home for those serving away from their families and loved ones in 18 distinct missions around the world, including Afghanistan, Canadian Forces Station Alert, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Haiti, Israel, Sudan, and Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Regina, currently serving in the waters off the Middle East …. In continuing with the holiday spirit, 14 Afghan interpreters and their families who assisted the Canadian military during the Afghanistan conflict and currently live in the Ottawa region, recently received a holiday package from caring CF members as an act of thanks for their service to our country. The packages’ contents varied depending on the need of each family or individual and included a variety of high quality goods and gift cards. Major contributors included Sobey’s, Mid East Food Centre, Giant Tiger, Metro, Energizer, Girl Guides of Canada, the City of Ottawa and the Royal Canadian Legion ….”  
  • With Christmas around the corner, the Canadian NORAD Region is set to track and escort Santa Claus during his annual visit to Canada.  Four CF-18 Hornet fighter pilots will act as Santa’s official escorts: Lieutenant-Colonel Daniel McLeod, Captain Shamus Allen, Major Benoît Bouchard and Captain Vincent Landry.  Maj Bouchard and Capt Landry of 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron, 3 Wing Bagotville, Que., will conduct the first escort duties to welcome Santa into Canada. At the east-west centre point of Canada, near the Ontario-Manitoba border, they will switch escort duties with LCol McLeod and Capt Allen of 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron, 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alta., as Santa makes his way into Western Canada …. Special NORAD SantaCams, positioned around the world, will take photos and video of Santa and his sleigh as he journeys around the world. The SantaCams instantly download the photo and video imagery so that it may be viewed by children worldwide on the NORAD Tracks Santa website,, on December 24. All related information will be available in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Chinese.  On December 24, children can also receive updates on Santa’s Christmas Eve journey by calling the traditional “NORAD Tracks Santa” telephone hotline at 1-877-HI NORAD (1-877-446-6723), or by emailing NORAD at ….”   
  • Congrats to CF docs recognized by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada  “…. Captain Scott MacLean, 1 Field Ambulance, Edmonton, is the recipient of the 2012 Murray Stalker award.  This award, named in honour of the late Dr. Murray Stalker, first College of Family Physicians of Canada President (1954-1955), recognizes and promotes scholarly activities of family medicine residents.  It is awarded to an outstanding family medicine resident who is recognized as a potential future leader in the discipline.  Captain MacLean and Captain Jason Lorette, 26 Canadian Forces Health Services Centre, Greenwood, are both the recipients of the Family Medicine Resident Leadership Awards.  These awards recognize the leadership abilities of outstanding senior family medicine residents from each of the 17 Canadian family medicine residency programs.  Captain Melissa Welsh, 24 Canadian Forces Health Services Centre, Trenton, is the 2012 recipient of the Bob Robertson Award.  This award, dedicated to the memory of the late Dr. Bob Robertson, former College of Family Physicians of Canada President (1980-1981), recognizes the individual who achieved the highest standing among family medicine residents in the organization’s certification examination in family medicine.  Captain Shawn Benninger is the 2012 recipient of the Award of Excellence.  The Award of Excellence recognizes the College of Family Physicians of Canada member who, in the past 12-24 months, has made an outstanding contribution in a specific area pertaining to one or more of the following areas:  patient care; community service; hospital or health care institutions; college activities (national or chapter); or teaching, research or other elements of the academic discipline of family medicine.  Capt. Benninger is currently serving on board Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Protecteur ….”

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22 December 12 at 9:00

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