Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight News Highlights – July 24, 2013

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  • In celebration of the arrival of an Heir to the Throne born yesterday to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the 30th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery from the Canadian Armed Forces fired a 21-Gun Royal Salute on Parliament Hill at noon (yesterday).  Royal or State Salutes, consisting of 21 rounds, honour the reigning sovereign, members of the Royal family, foreign sovereigns and members of their families, heads of state, and the Governor General of Canada ….”
  • Everything Old is New Again (Pips & Crowns)  Want to know a few more details?  Check out this message sent out by Army Central via (DISCLOSURE:  I’m a moderator for  My fave talking point:  “‘Stars and Crowns’ is not British.  The officers of almost 100% of the armies on every continent of the world including China, Russia, Finland, Colombia, and including the Salvation Army and RCMP wear a system of two identifiers: (i) a star, and (ii) a national symbol…it is an international convention and customary practice so an officer from any country can negotiate on the battlefield or work in coalitions like the UN or NATO and with civilian agencies.  Canada’s Army used this international customary practice from 1885, officially recognized it in 1903, but lost it in 1968.”
  • What’s the Vets’ Ombudsman up to with a new Minister?  “…. I have already engaged with the new ministerial staff, and have had a fulsome discussion with Minister Fantino’s new Chief of Staff, Jacques Fauteux – a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces, who I had the pleasure of working with when I served as Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer. I have been informed that the Minister is eager to meet with me at the earliest opportunity and I look forward to briefing him on the key elements of my Office’s operational work, plans for the future and ongoing concerns.  I intend to maintain the collaborative approach of the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman. I am determined to continue to provide the Minister and Veterans with evidenced-based advice in consultation with the Veterans Community. The reports that my Office publishes will continue also to offer timely, factual and relevant information on both existing and emerging issues of concern.  My primary focus now is the New Veterans Charter and the upcoming review of the Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act. I am concentrating my efforts on the financial, vocational assistance and family support aspects of the Charter and I will continue to call for a broadened Charter review to address shortcomings in these areas ….”
  • Then-defence minister Peter MacKay was told in a secret briefing last year the Canadian military had no choice but to continue using thousands of live animals for testing chemical-weapon antidotes and medical training.  The briefing came after a study in the journal Military Medicine revealed Canada was one of only six NATO countries still using live mice, ferrets and pigs for military purposes. Defence officials said at that time that they were “actively” looking to end the practice.  But in a briefing note obtained by Postmedia News, officials cited Canadian laws forbidding the application of new drugs or medical techniques on humans without pre-clinical trials on “animal models” as among the reasons for the continued need for live animals.  It also said “limiting or abolishing the use of animals” at National Defence “would significantly impair training delivery, impact (the military’s) readiness and could threaten the health of its deployed members.”  National Defence uses an average of 2,900 live animals each year for research, the note adds.  It uses an undisclosed number of additional animals for training battlefield doctors on how to treat gunshot wounds, blast injuries and other trauma ….” – you can find the original journal article here (bullet #6)
  • Way Up North  Left-wing worries about militarization of the Arctic  “Canada recently took over the leadership of the Arctic Council and will be succeeded by the U.S. in 2015. With back-to-back chairmanships, it gives both countries an opportunity to increase cooperation on initiatives that could enhance the development of a shared North American vision for the Arctic. The U.S. has significant geopolitical and economic interests in the high north and have released a new national strategy which seeks to advance their Arctic ambitions. While the region has thus far been peaceful, stable and free of conflict, there is a danger of the militarization of the Arctic ….”
  • Members of Canada’s military have always recognized that there were some inequities between the members of the military community and the rest of the Canadian population. These were frequently met with the quip, “We are here to defend democracy, not practise it.”  While the right to vote is the most fundamental right under Canadian law, members of the Canadian Armed Forces were not always able to cast their ballots.  Voting in federal elections and byelections is an entrenched right and is accomplished using an absentee ballot. Military members assigned to a ship or deployed to a mission such as Afghanistan or humanitarian assistance or disaster relief in Haiti, retain their Nova Scotia addresses, so were qualified to vote in provincial and municipal elections.  But these families faced an entirely different set of circumstances if the posting was outside Canada for an extended period. When assigned to a Canadian embassy, NATO, or at one of the alliance’s facilities for three to four years, military members and their family members move from their Nova Scotia residences and store their furniture and effects until they return to Canada.  Without a Nova Scotia address, they were not eligible to vote in provincial and municipal elections even though they paid taxes to both the federal and provincial governments. This “taxation without representation” was what led the United States’ founding fathers to ultimately declare independence from Britain.  Last year, the Nova Scotia government changed the rules. In the next election, Canadian Armed Forces members and DND civilian employees serving outside Canada who meet the new residency requirements will be able vote ….”
  • Aaron Yoon, the 24-year-old Canadian who has been held in a Mauritanian prison since December 2011 on terror-related charges, has been released.  Yoon was sentenced to two years in prison last July after being convicted of having ties to an al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group that operates in the North African region and of posing a danger to Mauritanian national security.  A Mauritanian court decided earlier this month to release Yoon for time served, roughly 18 months, and rejected prosecutors’ requests to have his sentence extended to 10 years.  The Korean-Canadian was released at dawn Tuesday and turned over to Mauritanian intelligence officials for questioning, CBC’s Adrienne Arsenault reported. He is expected to be deported to Canada soon, travelling on a temporary passport he was given by authorities ….”
  • A Mississauga grandmother visiting family in India has been arrested and charged with arms smuggling after authorities in Mumbai say they found live ammunition in her luggageIrene Mathias, 59, would seem to be an unlikely arms smuggler. She works with the Canada Revenue Agency in an administrative position, volunteers with the Canadian Cancer Society and is a regular churchgoer, her son Trayson Mathias said.  “She’s a woman who loves her church, volunteering in her community and cooking for her family,” he told the Star in a phone interview from North Carolina. “She’s been in hell, sitting in a jail there.”  Mathias was preparing to return to Canada after a two-week visit when she was arrested July 16 at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. She was jailed for three days and had her passport seized.  Out on bail, she is now staying with family in the Mumbai area …. Police later told Irene Mathias’s husband that the ammunition found in his wife’s luggage was .22 long-range Dynamit Nobel, rounds that were made in Germany for a rifle ….”
  • A car bomb exploded in the Libyan capital of Tripoli near a building that houses the Canadian Embassy, but an official says the office was closed at the time and all staff are safe“We take the safety and security of our staff abroad very seriously,” Rick Roth, press secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, said on Twitter. “We are monitoring events closely and taking [appropriate] security measures.”  The explosion occurred in the car park of a residential compound next to Tripoli Towers, where both the British and Canadian embassies are located, according to a Reuters report citing an unnamed witness ….”
  • An iconic photo of a little boy dashing out toward his father as he marches off to war is going to be immortalized on the B.C. street corner where it was taken more than 70 years ago.  The image dubbed Wait For Me, Daddy became one of the most famous photographs in Canadian history.  The boy in the photograph was five-year-old Warren ‘Whitey’ Bernard, who still remembers the day in the fall of 1940 when the B.C. Regiment marched down 8th Street in New Westminster, B.C., as they headed off to war.  “I wanted to go with Dad. I wanted to be with Dad. I guess I had it in my mind that this was it,” Bernard told CBC News from his home in Tofino, B.C. ….”

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  1. […] here’s an interesting post at about the recently announced changes that appears based on an official Army document; do read the following discussion. puts things thus: […]

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