MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 6 Nov 11

  • Libya Mission (1)  They’re home!  More here.
  • Libya Mission (2)  Some hairy times.  “It was early in the Libya mission when Italian authorities picked up the distress call. By the next morning, HMCS Charlottetown had gone from enforcing an arms embargo to providing humanitarian assistance. It was March and at the time the Canadian frigate was operating off the coast of Tripoli, part of a ring of NATO warships tasked with making sure weapons and ammunition didn’t get into the country and the hands of Moammar Gadhafi’s forces. But when the Italians relayed the distress call to NATO commanders, who in turn ordered the Canadian frigate to investigate, the Charlottetown’s crew leaped into action ….”
  • Afghanistan (1)  Byron Greff, R.I.P.  A town in central Alberta is paying tribute to a fallen soldier who died in a suicide attack in Afghanistan last week. Master Cpl. Byron Greff was among 17 people killed in Kabul last Saturday when a suicide bomber slammed a vehicle fill with explosives into a NATO bus. Friends and family in Greff’s hometown of Lacombe, Alta. plan to honour his life during a public memorial service on Saturday. The service will be held at 1 p.m. local time at Canadian University College and will occur shortly after Greff is laid to rest at a private family ceremony ….”
  • Afghanistan (2)  Debut of new film – “The Vandoos in Afghanistan” on the National Film Board’s web page this week (watch it for free this week).
  • Afghanistan (3)  What Remembrance Day means to one Canadian officer downrange (via Army News & Facebook)
  • Afghanistan (4)  Canadians among troops winning German shooting medals in northern Afghanistan base competition (via NATO Info-Machine)
  • Afghanistan (5)  Canadian ambassador with Eid al-Adha greetings.
  • F-35 Tug o’ War  He says, they say“The F-35 program is progressing well and on track,” associate minister of defence Julian Fantino told the House Thursday, while answering a question from the Opposition on the fighter jet program. However, other countries continue to make moves that suggest the program is not doing as well as he claims ….”
  • In spite of Don MacLean suggesting he take the honourary degree from RMC, Grapes continues to decline with thanks.  Further proof here that he’s damned if he does, and damned if he doesn’t.
  • Remembrance Day (1)  All I can say is:  scumbags!  “City and military officials are shocked after learning one of Calgary’s newest war memorials was vandalized only days before Remembrance Day. Bill Bruce, the city’s chief bylaw officer, said graffiti was sprayed across the riverside wall of Poppy Plaza on Thursday night. Phil MacAulay, president of the No. 1 Royal Canadian Legion, said he was disappointed to learn of the damage. “It’s bad,” MacAulay said. “It’s disrespectful. “You just don’t think something like that would happen any time of year, but especially now. “It’s so close to Remembrance Day, you’d think they’d know,” added MacAulay, who spent five years in the Canadian Navy. “Unfortunately, some lamebrains don’t think of the consequences or anything like that ….”  More here.
  • Remembrance Day (2)  For the last 19 years, students at Ottawa’s Catholic Notre Dame High School have benefitted from a remarkable community program. Every Remembrance Day, local military veterans would come to the school and set up exhibits that the school’s students would visit throughout the day. The students could interact with Canadian military veterans, and examine military antiques, including uniforms, items of personal gear and some disabled military weapons loaned from museums …. what would have been the 20th Remembrance Day Symposium (and was set to include veterans from our war in Afghanistan) has been cancelled. The reason given: The school doesn’t want “guns or tanks” on its property.  Ridiculous. Displaying harmless military memorabilia, in the respectful hands of the men and women who carried it in our country’s wars, is a wonderful way to make Canada’s proud military history come alive to a generation that will, we hope, never come closer than a deactivated rifle to the horrors of total war …. “
  • Veterans’ advocates said Saturday they achieved their goal despite modest turnouts at some demonstrations to protest proposed cuts to the budget of Veterans Affairs Canada. Dozens of protesters, most of them veterans, gathered on Parliament Hill on Saturday afternoon to call attention to what they call the government’s lack of compassion for those who have fought for their country. A rally in Halifax drew some 30 protesters and onlookers to city hall despite the frigid fall weather. A similar demonstration was held outside the department’s headquarters in Charlottetown on Friday. “People on the Hill have come up and said, ‘I never knew,’ and that’s the object,” organizer Mike Blais of the group Canadian Veterans Advocacy said from Ottawa. “The object is to draw attention to the situation and I think … we’ve certainly accomplished our goal today,” he said Saturday afternoon …. ”  More here and here.
  • The Royal Canadian Legion appears to be taking a stronger stance on veterans’ issues.  “The Royal Canadian Legion fired a shot across the federal government’s bow last month. Canada’s veterans, it said sternly, should be exempt from cuts under the government’s program review. “Getting our financial house in order should not be done on the backs of our wounded warriors and their families,” declared Pat Varga, the Legion’s dominion president. It was an unusually blunt public stance for an organization that has traditionally preferred to do its advocacy in private. But it also reflected a new determination by the Legion to speak up in the political arena in order to sharpen its image and help arrest decades of membership decline. “We do want to be able to inject into that debate. That should be our role,” says Brad White, the organization’s dominion secretary …. “
  • A former soldier who is staging a hunger strike to protest the way the federal government has handled his case is expected to meet today with Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney. Pascal Lacoste says he was poisoned while serving overseas and launched his hunger strike on Saturday outside Blaney’s riding office in this community near Quebec City. Lacoste blames his declining health, including chronic pain and a degenerative neurological disorder, on depleted-uranium poisoning he believes he contracted in Bosnia in the 1990s. The 38-year-old Quebec City resident vowed not to eat again until Blaney recognizes that he and other soldiers were contaminated with depleted uranium ….”
  • What’s anti-military, pro-disarmament group ceasefire.ca up to in the coming year?  “…. This year we will be concentrating our efforts on opposing the growing National Security Establishment: that web of politicians, lobby groups, old generals and corporations that are robbing the treasury of public dollars for themselves and their own special interests. In the coming days I’ll be letting you know how the pro-war lobby is funded by the military, and how their influence reaches deep into the best-known news organizations in Canada ….”  We wait with interest.

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 5 Nov 11

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 5 Sept 11

  • What’s Canada Buying?  A Globe & Mail columnist on Canada’s sub fleet, as Canada considers buying new ships.  “…. none of the four subs is operational. Only one is in water, HMCS Victoria, which is slated to make its first dive later this fall after a major overhaul. Not one of the subs is weapons-ready. It will be at least another two years before the subs are equipped to fire torpedoes. And it will cost Ottawa an estimated $125-million to retrofit the ships to fire the same Mk 48 torpedoes used on its now-retired Oberon-class submarines. The plan is to have two subs fully operational next year and all four in 2013, according to navy spokeswoman Lieutenant Heather McDonald. “We’re near the end of a long beginning,” Lt. McDonald said ….”
  • 9/11 Plus Ten (1)  More reminiscences of the unscheduled stop in Newfoundland.  “To hear something nice about 9/11, talk to “the plane people,” the passengers who wound up on the island of Newfoundland that day because U.S. airspace was shut. Talk to Laura Louie about the overwhelming kindness she and her two small daughters experienced in this distant corner of Canada, briefly transformed by a twist of history into an international aviation hub. “We were completely taken care of,” she remembers. “For everyone else, 9/11 has a heavy connotation. But for me it was when I was reminded what humanity is.” Or listen to Monica Burke, a 44-year-old emergency dispatcher from Seattle: “Our whole world was in chaos. We didn’t even know where we were except that we were in some weird time zone in Canada. I didn’t know when I was getting home, but these people basically put their lives on hold. I mean, their kids couldn’t go to school because we were using the schools as shelters ….”
  • 9/11 Plus Ten (2)  “…. The terrorist attacks were an American tragedy, but they affected Canada, too. The attacks shook Americans from their post-Cold War holiday from history, but they also disturbed the naive and sentimental slumbers of Canadians. In responding to 9/11, Canada suddenly awakened to one undeniable reality: geography. Canadians share a border with Americans. To say this is, of course, to state the obvious. Unfortunately, too many Canadians ground their national identity not in geo-political realities but in self-righteous anti-Americanism and, thus, delude themselves about the obvious ….”
  • A group calling itself “Canadian Veterans Advocacy” appears to be setting up November 5 protests across Canada to highlight the need treat wounded warriors better.  The problem:  the VeteransVoice.info link doesn’t seem to work for me.  ?????  “Canadian Veterans National Day of Protest 2011. I am pleased to note the organizational infrastructure for this year’s national protest has expanded to include Winnipeg and Parry Sound, locales we did not have representation last year. Protests/rallies/vigils will be occurring from St John’s to Victoria at the eleventh morning hour. Updated information is posted at VeteransVoice.info and the CVA Message board, where organizational aides, information sharing, a news archive/ data base and local Team Leader HQ/Communication s sites have been established in an interactive forum. Please feel free to comment or participate! Team leaders are always seeking assistance, as are we at the national level. In fact, due to the non-profit, voluntary nature of the Canadian Veterans Advocacy, volunteers are essential to our success. At the moment, events are being scheduled for St John’s, Halifax, Fredericton, Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston, Trenton, Brampton, Sudbury, London, Winnipeg, Selkirk, Victoria and Chilliwack, where we had one of our strongest showings of support last year with over five hundred present. Another seven are potential and will be announced once confirmed.”
  • Every Labour Day weekend for the past 12 year, the sound of musket fire, cannons and screams associated with historic military battles have rang out across the grounds of Fairfield Museum. Fairfield Comes Alive, featuring a pioneer camp and a re-enactment of the Battle of the Thames, where famed Indian chief Tecumseh was killed on Oct. 5, 1813, attracts a good crowd each year. However, this popular event has been a dress rehearsal for what is shaping up to be a major historical celebration and re-enactor’s dream — the bicentennial of the War of 1812 ….”