Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight

Posts Tagged ‘Afghan Institute of Learning News Highlights – 11 Oct 11

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  • Afghanistan  Promoting education in Afghanistan is a struggle many Canadians see as being far removed from themselves. But thanks to the work of a Nobel-nominated Afghan woman and her friends in Saskatchewan, that struggle has hit home soil. A group of four Afghan teacher trainers is touring the province for the next few weeks learning about Saskatchewan’s health and education systems. They’re on a mission to learn everything they can and bring it back to train teachers at the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), a non-profit group founded by renowned Afghan educator Sakena Yacoobi to train teachers in Afghanistan. Yacoobi has taught more than 19,000 educators in Afghanistan through AIL. Efforts to bring Afghan teacher trainers in to be mentored by Saskatchewan educators and health-care providers started two years ago when Betty-Ann Heggie, former senior vice-president of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., met Yacoobi at a women’s equity conference in Italy. After facing many obstacles, Heggie got the project off the ground and the four Afghan women landed in Canada last week ….”
  • Speculation about where info on Challenger flights may be coming from.  “Theories abound as to why personal flights on Canadian Forces aircrafts by Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Chief of Defence Staff Walter Natynczyk were the subject of a series of leaks last month. While there are competing theories circulating as to the motivation for the leaks, military experts say it goes back to Andrew Leslie’s transformation report, which was the subject of leaks over the summer ….”
  • Speaking of cuts and reorganization, a new carrot for senior officials making the cuts. “Axe-wielding executives in the public service stand to earn big bonuses based on how much they cut in the run-up to the 2012 federal budget. Treasury Board President Tony Clement says 40 per cent of “at risk” pay for senior managers will be based on how much they contribute to the Conservatives’ target of finding at least $4-billion a year in permanent savings. This is the first year the performance-based incentive has ever been tied to government cuts, and Mr. Clement says the 2012 budget – likely to be tabled in February or March – will be the ultimate yardstick for doling out the rewards ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying?  Body armour plate carriers and duffels for delivery to Ottawa – a bit more from an excerpt from the bid document here (1 page PDF).
  • On shipbuilding, history and politics“Twenty-five years ago this month, the federal government brokered one of the ugliest procurement deals in Canadian history. In October 1986, Brian Mulroney’s Progressive Conservative administration awarded a maintenance contract for CF-18 fighter jets. The $100-million project went to a firm in Quebec. However, internal documents showed a Winnipegbased company should have won the competition. Bristol Aerospace submitted a cheaper, better-supported bid. But Quebec had some thing to offer that Manitoba did not. The province boasted 60 Tory MPs – almost a third of Mulroney’s caucus. Although Ottawa promised to keep politics out of the decision, the fix was in from the start. A quarter of a century later, B.C. shipbuilders must be wondering if history is about to repeat itself. The Department of Public Works and Government Services is preparing to award several packages of contracts for naval and non-combat vessels. And once again, Quebec is flexing its political muscles ….”
  • Ensuring vets get a meal at the Canadian War Museum“Paul Kavanagh had an epiphany in the cafeteria lineup. It was Remembrance Day, 2008, and Kavanagh and his wife had taken their four sons to Ottawa to attend ceremonies before heading over to the new Canadian War Museum. Standing in line for lunch, Kavanagh noticed a Second World War veteran just ahead. Medals gleamed on the older man’s navy blue blazer and his grey flannel pants were neatly pressed. On his tray was a cup of coffee and a bowl of soup. “His bill was $7.15. He opened his wallet and placed a $5 bill on the counter. It was all the money in his wallet. The cashier clapped his hands together and told this veteran to hurry up and pay the difference,” Kavanagh recalls. “This proud veteran went beet red and his hands began to shake.” Kavanagh, a Laval periodontist, waved at the cashier and picked up the rest of the man’s tab. “I remember thinking, ‘This is wrong. We spent tens of millions building this beautiful museum and we forgot the veterans.’ ” ….”  More here.
  • Few Canadians think of their country as forged in blood and conflict, but Ottawa is unveiling a War of 1812 commemoration plan that should correct that impression. The Harper government is casting the 200th anniversary of repelling a U.S. invasion as “the Fight for Canada” and is dedicating tens of millions of dollars to remembering battles it says determined this country’s destiny ….”  More on the coming celebrations here.