MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – January 29, 2013
- Mali (1) “Canadian special forces are on the ground inside the troubled West African country of Mali to protect Canadian assets there, CBC News has learned. The special forces are not there to train Malian troops — and they are not involved in any combat role, as the government has repeatedly stressed and Prime Minister Stephen Harper repeated again Monday in the House of Commons. The Department of National Defence would not confirm or deny the special forces are in Mali due to issues of security of personnel ….” An interesting tidbit from this piece: “…. Opposition NDP Leader Tom Mulcair (said) if the special forces are protecting Canadians, the embassy and embassy staff, that is “simply normal protection” and not military involvement ….” Really? I wonder if the rabble.ca crowd’ll agree with that. More on media “learning” CF special forces are in Mali here.
- Mali (2a) “The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, will attend a high-level international meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on January 29, 2013, to discuss the conflict in Mali and the financial, logistical and capacity building needs of both the Malian forces and the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA). “Canada remains deeply concerned about the situation in Mali,” said Minister Fantino. “We will continue to provide life-saving assistance to those most in need, particularly vulnerable women and children.” ….”
- Mali (2b) Canada’s reportedly going to more than one meeting today “An official says representatives of EU countries are meeting in Brussels to pledge personnel and other support for a military training mission to Mali. EU officials envision a mission of 500 people, half of them military trainers, the official said Tuesday. The purpose is to turn the Malian army into a force that can control the vast African country once international soldiers wrest the north from Islamist rebels. The trainers will work near Bamako, the capital, and won’t see combat. The training is projected to begin April 1, the EU official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the ongoing meeting. Tuesday’s session groups representatives of the 27 EU countries plus Norway and Canada. One or two more such meetings are expected.”
- Mali (3) More on whazzup in Mali here (Google News), here (EMM Explorer) and here (France’s defence ministry’s daily update in French)
- Joshua Caleb Baker, 1985-2010, R.I.P. “Paul Ravensdale, a retired warrant officer, pleaded not guilty to multiple charges Monday at a court martial in Shilo. The charges are for a training accident in February 2010 that killed Cpl. Joshua Baker and injured four other soldiers in Afghanistan. Ravensdale is accused of manslaughter, unlawfully causing bodily harm, two counts of breach of duty and two counts of negligence. He pleaded not guilty to all charges. Cpl. Baker was hit in the chest with a C-19 Claymore explosive….” – more here.
- Ooopsie…. “Government officials didn’t want to hold the Ontario media event that prompted Defence Minister Peter MacKay to catch a private ride on a search-and-rescue helicopter from a fishing trip in Newfoundland two years ago. Internal emails obtained by Postmedia News also raise questions over government assertions that MacKay’s attendance at the news conference in London, Ont., was confirmed only a few days before the event took place ….” – all kinds of backstory at Milnet.ca here.
- From the Halifax Shipping News blog: “More Post FELEX HMCS Halifax Photos” – more on the FELEX program here.
- A reminder to Canadian business to support the troops by giving them meaningful work after they’re done their service “…. Service in Afghanistan and other operational deployments has produced Canadian veterans who can think on their feet, make critical decisions; and who possess a strong work ethic, loyalty and commitment to teamwork. Corporate Canada needs to step up and help employ these men and women when they leave the service. We need to reassure them that they’ll be embraced by the businesses they’ve protected once they inevitably cycle out of the battlefield ….”
- Columnist on Foreign Minister John Baird’s assessment of what threatens Canada “…. Baird now insists that the major threat to the Canadian way of life is international terrorism. This claim does not withstand the fact terrorism is simply a tactic used by those factions who believe they are oppressed and who lack sufficient conventional military means to achieve their objectives. Baird singularly dismisses any rationale or motive on the part of the terrorists by saying: “I’m not one to say that the people that inspired the 9-11 bombings were somehow misunderstood or somehow lashing out against their place in the world. We take a stand against international terrorism and we’re quite tough about it.” While Baird might like to present himself as a tough guy, the fact is that his claim about combating international terrorism is without merit ….”
- An NDP MP on why Canada should put money into fixing up Legion halls “…. branches must obtain most of their funding through catering services, fundraising efforts made by the Ladies and Youth Auxiliaries, their bar sales, and by renting out their halls for special occasions. While this allows citizens to become increasingly involved with their Legion and builds a sense of community, individual branches are now forced to compete with restaurants, bars and banquet halls for money. For those struggling with finances much of the money they are able to raise simply keeps them afloat and leaves little room to invest in infrastructure upgrades or renewal. As these facilities age and structures start to deteriorate fewer people will be inclined to rent these spaces for special occasions which can amplify the financial difficulties at many branches. Many Legions across Canada have fallen victim to these circumstances over the years ….”