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MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 24 Feb 11

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  • Canadians are starting to GTFO Libya. “The first group of Canadian evacuees left Libya Wednesday by boat and more are expected to fly out Thursday, the federal government says. Foreign Affairs confirmed at least 26 Canadians, along with several American and British citizens, left the Libyan capital of Tripoli on a U.S. charter ferry heading to Malta. The Canadian charter flight is scheduled to leave Thursday afternoon from Tripoli to Rome, Italy. Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon is expected to greet the flight, as well as meet with his Italian counterpart to discuss the situation in Libya. Evacuees are asked to bring food and water and will have to reimburse the federal government $500 for the cost of the flight. So far, 178 Canadians currently trapped in the North African nation have said they want to leave the country. Some 350 Canadians are registered with the embassy in Libya ….” More on the exodus from CTV.ca and Postmedia News.
  • More news on the latest in Libya here (Google News), here (EMM News Brief:  Libya),  here (NewsNow), here (BBC) and here (Al Jazeera English).
  • I would f**king well HOPE so! “Troops who will be sent to Afghanistan for training missions later this year will include corporals, not just senior officers, Canada’s chief of land staff for the Canadian Forces has revealed. Canadian corporals have a “level of maturity and capability and pride that we think is important to share with the Afghans,” Lieutenant General Peter Devlin told QMI Agency in an exclusive interview. Devlin said the corporals will join officers and senior NCOs (non-commissioned officers such as sergeants and warrant officers), which will help spread out the work for Canadian troops. Corporals are ““gifted instructors, I would put them up against senior NCOs from other nations, and that is our approach,” he said. While corporals are among the more junior ranks of Canada’s Army, they posses valuable combat experience in Afghanistan, Devlin added ….”
  • What Canadian trainer/mentors are up to in Afghanistan.
  • More on Canadian troops serving in Sudan, especially following the referendum creating the world’s newest country. “The Canadian Forces members of Task Force Sudan took part in efforts by United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) to support the recent referendum in South Sudan: maintaining a constant patrol presence in all sectors of the country, both north and south, and facilitating the delivery of ballots to polling stations. UNMIS kept a low profile, focussing on security and support for the U.N. agencies that monitored and assisted the voting process directly.  The vote was largely free of violence or fraud, and the participation rate was much higher than we ever see in Canada. The international community has praised the people of South Sudan for their patient participation in a watershed decision.  Task Force Sudan is deployed under Operation SAFARI to provide UNMIS with staff officers and United Nations Military Observers (UNMOs). At any given time, Task Force Sudan comprises about 26 military personnel, including a small but mighty national support element in Khartoum supporting both the CF members of the task force and the Canadian police officers serving in Sudan with the U.N. Police (UNPOL) ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying? (1)  Who’s interested, qualified to refit HMCS PROTECTEUR? “The Department of National Defence has a requirement for a refit of HMCS PROTECTEUR; a West Coast Canadian based PROTECTEUR Class Auxiliary Oil Replenishment (AOR) ship based in Victoria, British Columbia. It is anticipated that the refit work will commence February 2012 with a completion date of December 2012 ….” (via Milnet.ca)
  • What’s Canada Buying? (2) Someone to set up a “temporary” camp at Resolute Bay for $6.5 million, and three organizations get contract to conduct Taser research. (via Milnet.ca)
  • F-35 Tug o’ War (1a) From the Toronto Star:  “Federal Liberals plan to open a second front in their document war with the Harper government. The party’s defence critic, Dominic Leblanc, is demanding the release of a key air force report that lays out the justification for the purchase of F-35 stealth fighter jets. The statement of operational requirements was stamped classified by National Defence last year and the Conservative government has resisted calls by the opposition parties to make the document public. LeBlanc served notice to the House of Commons defence committee that he’ll table a motion demanding the release of the statement — a measure he hopes the NDP and Bloc Québécois will support. That sets the stage for another tug-of-war over document secrecy ….”
  • F-35 Tug o’ War (1b) From the Toronto Sun:  “Another day, another Liberal MP attacking the Conservatives for allegedly being too secretive and wasteful with public money. Liberal defence critic Dominic LeBlanc lashed out at the government Wednesday for hiding the true costs of their tough-on-crime agenda, and for going ahead with the F35 stealth fighter jet purchase amid fears the $16 billion figure for the 65 aircraft (including maintenance) is going to grow. “Despite repeated reasonable requests by Liberal MPs for precise cost estimates on the Conservative stealth fighter purchase and the prison expansion plans, the Harper government continues to hide these numbers,” LeBlanc said at a press conference Wednesday. “The bottom line for us is Canadians have a right to know before Parliament is asked to vote on important pieces of legislation or approve massive expenditures like those involved in the stealth fighter purchase.” ….”
  • Canada’s Air Force is pumping a bit of $ into the Kansas economy. “The sky of Salina may be a little louder than usual as our neighbors to the north with six CF-18 Hornets and two CH-146 Griffon helicopters from Canadian Air CF-18s on the flightline in Salina. Canada’s Tactical Fighter Squadrons have an economic impact of close to $2 million each deployment. Force 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron take advantage of the training and basing opportunities at the Salina Airport Authority and the Smoky Hill Weapons Range, through March 23 ….”
  • Loooongish service from an aviation workhorse. “Nine CC-138 Twin Otters have served with the Canadian Forces (CF) since 1971. In 1994, 440 Transport and Rescue Squadron was renamed 440 Transport Squadron (440 (T) Sqn), its fleet was reduced to four aircraft and the squadron relocated to Yellowknife, where it remains today. “[The Twin Otter] has supported a wide number of roles while supporting Canada, the Canadian Forces and Canadians,” explains Lieutenant-Colonel Dwayne Lovegrove, Commanding Officer, 440 (T) Sqn, “so it’s worthy of a little bit of celebration.” ….”
  • Uh, no they DON’T (corrections in terminology mine).  War resisters Deserters in Canada need our support …. Thank you for the eloquent article on Rodney Watson, the U.S. Army resister alleged deserter who is living in Vancouver under constant threat of deportation. Watson’s Canadian wife and their young son also suffer from this unconscionable situation. All of us who care about justice for military resister alleged deserters should besiege Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney’s office with requests for a humane resolution.” Anyone who volunteers for the military and runs away because they don’t like the mission is like a cop who won’t police in a certain area of town because s/he disagrees with protecting people living in that area.  Want to make a solid political statement that’ll impress people?  Don’t go, and face the music.