News Highlights – 4 Nov 10

  • More from Postmedia News on Canada’s next ROTO of troops headed to Afghanistan from Valcartier, Quebec:  “At first they were smiling, holding hands or hugging each other. But as the roll call neared, tears started to flow, turning into uncontrollable sobbing. Families and friends bade farewell at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier Wednesday to 145 Quebec-based soldiers deployed to Afghanistan as part of the last combat rotation before the Canadian mission ends next summer ….” (More from the R22eR web page – en français – here.)
  • Building on the “Do We Arm the Tribes/Militias?” debate, this, via the Canadian PressThe Canadian military says it would rather boost the number of police officers in Kandahar than use militias to protect locals. Brig.-Gen. Dean Milner says that while the Afghan Local Police initiative is still a possibility, recruiting more police officers is a better option.  The ALP is a controversial program launched this summer to provide weapons and training to villagers in the hopes they will defend themselves against insurgents. Milner, who heads the Canadian mission in Kandahar, says he will be deploying fresh resources to help increase the numbers and broaden the training of Afghan National Police officers …”
  • CBC columnist/commentator Brian Stewart alleges Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s arm could be getting twisted soon (at an upcoming NATO meeting in Lisbon) in the hope that Canada will keep at least some troops in Afghanistan to train Afghan security forces: “…. the rumour is that NATO will badger Harper for as many as 400 trainers, to be based in Kabul and other areas away from direct combat. That number would still leave Canada with a significant role in the nearly decade-long conflict. But, politically, that kind of request would seem a safe political sell for the PM, as many Liberals, as well as many in Harper’s own caucus, are open to the idea of maintaining non-combat trainers after next summer. Harper, however, has not indicated in any way that he’ll consider changing his mind ….” My guess:  PM’ll still say “no”, with unnamed sources telling media, “where was NATO when Canada was fighting it out in Kandahar four years ago, asking for other NATO countries to help in the fight?”  More of my venting on this here, here and here.
  • Blog Watch: Lookit what Mark Collins over at Unambiguously Ambidextrous has managed to dig upI’ll bet you didn’t know about this American military contract for helicopter services to a Canadian company (will our major media notice?) ….” Good question.  Even more at here and the U.S. Federal Business Opportunities page announcing the award here.
  • According to QMI Media, “Canada’s outgoing veterans ombudsman says he has “no confidence” that the $2 billion dollars the Conservatives recently announced in new benefits will find its way into the pockets of injured vets. Pat Stogran told senators Wednesday that too many conditions are tied to the Tories’ proposals and numerous policies are not retro-active, so injured soldiers returning from Afghanistan won’t benefit.  “I’m concerned it is too piecemeal,” he said of the policy changes. Stogran pleaded with senators to massively reform the way the federal government treats former soldiers.  He said he has “no confidence” staff are briefing the minister in an (unbiased) way.  He told the Veterans Affairs subcommittee he is recommending 11 ways the government can “break the culture of denial and often poor treatment of our veterans and their families that is firmly entrenched in Veterans Affairs Canada and the Veterans Review and Appeals Board.” ….”
  • Guess who Canadians surveyed by Abacus Data found scarier:  Child soldier-terrorist Omar Khadr or disgraced former military multi-killer-rapist Russell Williams? QMI Media tells you here.
  • Remember Beverly Giesbrecht, a.k.a.Khadija Abdul Qahaar, the B.C. woman who was kidnapped in November 2008 while visiting Pakistan to share the Taliban’s story with the world via her web page (which no longer seems to be working – here’s a taste of the site via, and the domain name should be coming up for sale early next year as it expires then)?  This, from the Indian ExpressA woman journalist from Canada, who was abducted by militants in November 2008, has died following prolonged illness in the custody of the Taliban somewhere in northwest Pakistan or Afghanistan, sources said on Tuesday …. Khadija Abdul Qahar, 55, who was known as Beverly Giesbrecht before she converted to Islam, was abducted along with her translator Salman Khan and cook-cum-driver Zar Muhammad while travelling to Miranshah in the restive North Waziristan tribal region …. Salman Khan and Zar Muhammad were released after eight months of captivity due to efforts made by the head of a religious party.  Khan disclosed after his release that Qahar was suffering from hepatitis and was mentally prepared for death.  She was not very optimistic about her release, he had then said.”  (More from Postmedia News here, QMI/Sun Media here, the Georgia Straight here, with a bit of a timeline/commentary on the story at here).
  • Taliban Propaganda Watch: Taliban Claim Responsiblity for Allegedly Killing 5 “Intelligence Officer” in KandaharMeme o’ the moment – “minion”
  • In Ontario, Conservative Member of the Legislature for Nepean-Carleton, Lisa MacLeod, is introducing a Private Member’s Bill today making Remembrance Day a statutory holiday across Ontario. According to QMI, Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec are the only provinces where it isn’t recognized as such.  Private Member’s Bills have a very, very small “pass through to Royal Assent” rate (more on this here – PDF from the Legislative Library of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario), but it might just get public debate going.

Have a great day!

Advertisement Highlights – 1 Oct 10

Main website’s on the fritz, so I’m sharing some Canadian military news tidbits that catch my eye here – enjoy!