Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight News Highlights – February 7, 2013

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  • Mali (1a)  Historian’s take  “…. The political response to the Canadian effort in Mali surprisingly was generally positive, with both Thomas Mulcair of the New Democratic Party and Bob Rae of the Liberals supporting the government’s actions. However, the response of the pacifist left, usually one that slavishly follows the NDP line, this time spun off on its own …. Islamist terrorism is a threat to democracies everywhere, but those who oppose any military intervention anywhere — unless it is United Nations blue helmet peacekeeping which is, by definition, always good — seem blind to the realities of 2013. Stephen Harper bad, military intervention of any kind bad, mission creep inevitable and bad — it’s a tiresome refrain. How fortunate that the Opposition parties had better sense in this instance than the Rideau Institute and”
  • Mali (1b) underwhelmed at the historian’s mention  “Today one of the doyens of the pro-war lobby slammed, once again, in the national media.  This proves that supporters are having an impact, shaking up the pro-war lobby! ….”  Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight ….
  • Congrats to the Air Force rescue team receiving the Star of Courage!  “On November 9, 2009, search and rescue technicians Sergeant Randal McOrmond, Master Corporal Robin Richardson and Corporal Éric Beaudoin rescued a teenager who had been separated from his companion during a hunting trip, near Coral Harbour, Nunavut. An air search discovered the youth on a large pan of unstable ice that was drifting into Hudson’s Bay. Messrs. McOrmond, Beaudoin and Richardson parachuted down to a nearby ice floe, and jumped between pieces of moving ice and gaps of open water to reach the victim, who was suffering from severe hypothermia. They provided medical attention and kept watch on two polar bear cubs standing nearby. Thanks to the courageous efforts of these three rescuers, the victim survived.”
  • Boss of the RCAF:  honest, those C-130J Hercs, the ones with the Chinese fake bits in them?  They really are safe to fly.
  • A major shakeup is in the offing amid the senior ranks of the Canadian military.  The country’s deputy top commander, Vice-Admiral Bruce Donaldson, along with the heads of the army and navy will retire in the coming months.  An internal notice, posted at National Defence headquarters last night, announced the changes, and they come as the military struggles to deal with pending budget cuts and a massive internal reorganization.  Donaldson will be replaced as vice chief of defence staff by Lt.-Gen. Guy Thibault, a career army officer who recently served in Washington.  The commander of the Canadian Army, Lt.-Gen. Peter Devlin, a veteran of Afghanistan, is also leaving, to be replaced by Lt.-Gen. J.M.M. Haines, who currently serves as deputy commander of NATO’s joint force command in Naples.  Haines will be replaced overseas by Maj.-Gen. Jon Vance, the country’s most experienced battlefield commander in Kandahar.  Vice-Admiral Paul Maddison also announced his retirement and will be replaced Rear-Admiral Mark Norman ….” – the latest detailed list of who’s up and who’s out here, and more media here
  • Way Up North (1)  “What follows is the third of five excerpts from a newly released e-book, The Canadian Forces in 2025: Problems and Prospects. The publication was commissioned by the Strategic Studies Working Group — a partnership between the Canadian International Council and the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute. In today’s installment, James Fergusson looks at our Air-Force presence in the Arctic ….”
  • Way Up North (2)  The renewed Canadian military presence in the High Arctic has led the Royal Canadian Air Force to relearn old lessons about survival in the world’s most inhospitable climate, one wet sock at a time.  In January, 44 air force personnel from bases across Canada underwent Arctic survival training at Resolute Bay, Nunavut, the second-most northerly permanent settlement in North America. The 10-day course constituted the first High Arctic survival training for regular aircrew in 18 years ….”
  • HMCS Preserver back in Halifax
  • Remember the hunger-striking vet, and the committee formed to look into his concerns?  The committee’s report is out (also available here if previous link doesn’t work) – this, from the news release (highlights mine):  “The Scientific Advisory Committee on Veterans’ Health is an independent committee that comprises five experts with collective expertise in scientific, medical and military matters. Two of the members are Veterans, including the Committee Chairman, Major-General (ret’d) Pierre Morisset, MD.  “We are not suggesting that these concerned Veterans do not have health problems,” said Dr. Morisset. “However, we firmly believe that whatever health problems they do have are unlikely related to depleted uranium.” ….” – mention in the House of Commons here.
  • The Minister of Veterans Affairs in Question Period on the denial of benefits to vets  “I have been very clear on this subject in the House. Not only are 70% of the applications that are submitted to the Department of Veterans Affairs approved, but veterans receive a positive response 85% of the time across government. That is why we welcome the ombudsman’s report. What is more, we have adopted measures to continue to keep veterans better informed of the information being used to process their claims.  The real question is why, every time we introduce measures to improve veterans’ living conditions, the NDP fails to support them or, even worse, votes against them.”
  • Meanwhile, “Senator Yonah Martin, on behalf of the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, Russell Mills, Chair of the National Capital Commission, and Jean-François Trépanier, Chief Executive Officer of the National Capital Commission, will honour the service of Canadian Korean War Veterans by illuminating an ice sculpture in their honour as part of Winterlude 2013 ….”
  • Remember the Private Members Bill aiming at taking away Canadian citizenship from anyone committing an act of war against CanadaImmigration Minister Jason Kenney has even bigger ideas“Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Wednesday the government should “consider” expanding a Tory MP’s bill to strip Canadian citizenship from those who commit acts of terrorism.  He was speaking after confirmation Tuesday that a Lebanese-Canadian dual national was involved in the 2012 bombing of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria …. “I think that perhaps we should consider working with Shory to broaden the scope of his bill to include not just acts of war against Canada by Canadian citizens, but perhaps we should also consider acts of terrorism,” Kenney said.  “Canadian citizenship is predicated on loyalty to this country and I cannot think of a more obvious act of renouncing one’s sense of loyalty than going and committing acts of terror,” he said ….” – more here.
  • Globe & Mail, on the other hand, doesn’t like the idea  “…. The government needs to do everything it can to identify Canadians involved in fighting against Canada and its allies abroad, and those involved in terrorism. It needs to find ways to thwart them, possibly including refusal to issue passports. If such crimes are committed, those responsible should be apprehended and vigorously prosecuted. The government already has the tools. Use them.”
  • The Canadian man who’s the first cabinet minister in a G8 country to go public with their belief in extraterrestrials will be giving a speech in Toronto this Thursday.  Paul Hellyer, minister of national defence under Lester B. Pearson and deputy prime minister under Pierre Trudeau, will be speaking at the Conspiracy Culture Bookstore on Queen Street West. The event is a Canadian preview of the Citizens’ Hearing on Disclosure, a mock senate hearing on extraterrestrials that will be held in Washington, D.C. in April. Hellyer is scheduled to testify and will talk about how he came to believe in aliens.  As minister of defence, he received “sightings reports” of unidentified flying objects, the vast majority of which were ultimately identified as natural phenomenon, he said.  For years a friend sent him information about UFOs, but paid no attention to it until he read The Day After Roswell and watched a program by Peter Jennings who interviewed people who had seen UFOs ….”

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