Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight

Posts Tagged ‘Canada-US border News Highlights – 10 Mar 11

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  • How many Canadians have GTFO Libya so far? This from the PM’s chief spokesperson:  “More than 650 Canadians have departed from Libya since the beginning of the crisis.”
  • More news on the latest in Libya here (Google News), here (EMM News Brief:  Libya),  here (NewsNow), here (BBC) and here (Al Jazeera English).
  • A popular learning centre in Kandahar City has received new financial backing from the Canadian government, temporarily ending fears that the facility might have to close. Though less than half of what facility directors requested, the $250,000 grant from the Canadian International Development Agency will allow classes to continue at the Afghan-Canadian Community Center. An announcement of the funding was made this week at a ceremony to mark International Women’s Day. The centre, though catering to both male and female students, is an especially important educational outlet for Kandahari women and girls who often risk their lives to go to school, centre director Ehsanullah Ehsan said ….”
  • Psychological Operations:  (Sorta kinda) “the marketing arm of the military”
  • U.N. stats (PDF report here) say 3 out of 4 civilian casualties in Afghanistan in 2010 were caused by insurgents.  The Canadian Press’ take on the report: “More Afghan civilians were killed in Kandahar than any other province last year, while counterinsurgency operations within Canada’s area of command resulted in “large-scale” property destruction, the United Nations said Wednesday.  The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan called on both NATO and insurgent forces to strengthen their efforts to protect Afghans as it released a report examining the severe toll the war has exacted on civilian lives and livelihoods …. It said NATO forces were careful in avoiding civilian casualties in Kandahar, but clearance operations in districts under the command of the Canadian military were singled out for leaving behind “large-scale” property destruction.  “Elders’ fears that the Kandahar operations would involve the destruction of homes, crops, and irrigation systems were realized,” the 85-page report said ….”
  • More work from Canada’s war poet Suzanne Steele “limerick from OFMIK (our former man in KAF)”
  • Remember how keen border state Senators were last month about getting military radar to keep those little planes full of drugs out of the U.S.?  It appears they might be getting (at least some of) what they seek. “The US government will place military-grade radar along the border with Canada to thwart low-flying aircraft used to smuggle illegal drugs onto US soil, senators who sought the deployment said Wednesday …. Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer of New York said Napolitano had indicated during a Senate Judiciary Committee that she was working to deploy the radar and called it “a critical step in the right direction.” …. In the hearing, Napolitano herself stopped well short of explicitly announcing such a step, though she did agree with Schumer that such a deployment would be a good idea.  She assured Schumer that her department was “working with” the Pentagon and the US military’s Northern Command “on radar and other related issues and technologies in efforts on the northern border.”  Asked whether that meant the deployment would go forward, Napolitano replied “this is moving very rapidly.” ….” More on this from American media here and here.
  • What’s Canada Buying? (1) New (Military) Police Academy (~$29 million), and Pockets on Sleeves
  • What’s Canada Buying (2) Remember late last year, when Canada was going to explore adapting the designs of recently built naval fleet replenishment ships that are operating with other NATO Navies”?  Well, let’s try again, shall we?  This from MERX (via“…. Canada has a requirement to assess two NATO Navy ship designs to determine their viability in relation to the Canadian Navy operational requirements for naval fleet replenishment SHIPS: a. the Berlin Class; and b. the Cantabria Class Canada intends to award two separate contracts, one to ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems Canada Inc. (TKMSC) and the other to Navantia, S.A. (Navantia) to conduct Risk Reduction Design Studies (RRDS) for each design. This will enable Canada to ascertain the feasibility and affordability of adapting these designs to meet Canadian requirements. Canada is deploying a team of government representatives to shipyards in Germany and Spain to perform the RRDS and a follow-on Detailed Design Activity (DDA) ….” Link above contains some downloadable bid document details – more from MERX here, and from the Canadian Press here.
  • More on Canada’s (still being-waited-for) new helicopters for the CF (hat-tip to Mark Collins for sharing this one): Sikorsky could deliver the first of Canada’s much-delayed CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopters this month, said president Jeff Pino yesterday at the Heli-Expo show in Orlando. The initial helicopters will not be fully compliant with the Canadian requirement, but will allow training to begin ….”
  • Buzzword Watch:  What do CF wordsmiths call it when Reservists come home from Afghanistan to be greeted by the PM and Defence Minister?  “Reintegration” News Highlights – 5 Feb 11

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  • 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.” ….”