News Highlights – 5 Feb 11

  • How many Afghans did Canada nab in 2009? Here’s the stats and background information from the CF (with a PDF copy here in case that link doesn’t work).  Here’s the media coverage, from Postmedia News and the Canadian Press.
  • An exercise in the cold to get ready for a bigger exercise in the cold. “A military jet has crashed into a wooded field in Farnham in the Eastern Townships, injuring the pilots and severely wounding a passenger and two farmers on the ground. Screaming residents stumble through thigh-high snow, trying to get to their friends as smoke pours from the fuselage. One man lies face down, blood spattering the snow around his body. Then the army appears. Specifically, soldiers from the 200 members of the 5th Service Battalion of the Canadian Armed Forces who have travelled to the Eastern Townships this week from their base in Valcartier near Quebec City. They’re in the midst of a training operation called Frosty Soldier at the Farnham military base in preparation for one of the largest Arctic military exercises to be held starting this month in James Bay. More than 1,300 soldiers, along with 200 civilians, will be gathering for Exercise Guerrier Nordique (Nordic Warrior), to bolster the military’s northern mandate of search and rescue operations, reconnaissance patrols and “sovereignty patrols,” protecting that part of the Arctic that Canada considers ours ….”
  • Canada-U.S. border security:  After a meeting in Washington between PM Harper and President Obama yesterday, here’s a joint statement they issued (with more info here).  Here’s how the media are covering it so far:  “Border talks ‘not about sovereignty:’ Harper” (  “2 nations join forces to meet U.S. – Canadian border challenge” (Detroit Free Press “U.S.-Canada pact borders on great” (Toronto Sun editorial)  “PM’s border scheme mired in past” (Toronto Star column)  “US, Canada Announce New Joint Border Effort” (Voice of America) “Canada could be a very different place” (National Post column)  My guess:  we’re going to hear the version of messaging in the House of Commons this week during Question Period.
  • Canada on how quickly Mubarak should get outta Dodge: “The Harper government has endorsed the go-slow transition plan set out by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, signalling that Mideast stability and peace with Israel are its paramount concerns while other Western nations push for faster change.  Canada’s warnings that a rushed change in power could lead to instability – Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon insisted that “a vacuum does not mean transition” – came on a day of bloody confrontations in Cairo on Thursday …. In Ottawa, though, Mr. Cannon had emphasized that Canada’s chief concern is for a stable transition, one that protects Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel, and indicated support for Mr. Suleiman’s plan for months of step-by-step changes while Mr. Mubarak remains.  “I think the question is what’s next. A vacuum does not mean transition. The transition must be orderly, we have said it from the beginning. And these things must be settled by the Egyptians themselves,” Mr. Cannon told reporters outside the Commons.  “There were steps, I understand, that were undertaken this morning by the vice-president. I think these steps form part of this orderly transition effort toward reforms, and ultimately an election.”  Mr. Cannon did call for a transition to democracy, but did not emphasize speed. When asked whether he wants an “immediate transition,” he replied: “An orderly transition that should bring us to the reforms we’ve talked about.” ….”