Kirby Tott, Rocky Mountain Rangers, R.I.P.

This from The Canadian Press:

A Canadian soldier in the reserves has died while training at a military base in Manitoba.

The military issued a news release saying that Pte. Kirby Tott died suddenly Saturday afternoon at Canadian Forces Base Shilo.

The release provides no details on the circumstances, but notes Tott was taking his basic reserve infantry training at Shilo with the 3rd Canadian Division Training Centre.

It says the death is under investigation and that an autopsy will be conducted.

The release says Tott joined the Canadian Armed Forces as a reservist with the Rocky Mountain Rangers in Prince George, B.C., in 2012.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement offering his condolences to Tott’s family.

Condolences to family, colleagues and friends.

Photo source

More, as it unfolds …. News Highlights – 20 Oct 11

  • Honkin’ Big Ship (HBS) contracts awarded:  “…. The combat package includes the Royal Canadian Navy’s Arctic Offshore Patrol ships and the Canadian Surface Combatants ships. The non-combat package includes the Navy’s joint support ships, the Canadian Coast Guard’s off-shore science vessels and the new polar icebreaker. Small ship construction (116 vessels), an estimated value of $2 billion, will be set aside for competitive procurement amongst Canadian shipyards other than the yards selected to build large vessels. Regular maintenance and repair, valued at $500 million annually, will be open to all shipyards through normal procurement processes. Irving Shipbuilding Inc. has been selected to build the combat vessel work package (21 vessels), and Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd. has been selected to build the non-combat vessel work package (7 vessels). The total value of both packages is $33 billion and will span 20 to 30 years ….”  More in the government backgrounder here.
  • Media coverage of HBS contracts:  QMI/Sun Media, Victoria Times-Colonist, Vancouver Sun,, Globe & Mail,, Charlottetown Guardian, Toronto Star, Reuters and
  • HBS editorial from the National Post:  “…. The Tories are to be congratulated for devising a tamper-proof, corruption-free, unbiased system for awarding such large contracts. We realize that they originally built this process in large part as a means to cover themselves from the political fallout of hard, unpopular contracting decisions. Nevertheless, they are to be congratulated for sticking with it to the end, despite the potentially controversial result in this case ….”
  • A more “glass is half empty” HBS opinion“The denouement of the great multi-billion-dollar shipbuilding bonanza has left almost everyone popping Champagne corks —except perhaps Quebec, and the poor, bloody taxpayer who will end up footing the bill for the inevitable cost overruns and delays that will result from the government’s made-in-Canada national strategy ….”
  • More HBS commentary“…. It’s almost a no-win situation for the government. Still, the only way to prevent this from becoming the Harper government’s CF-18 moment is for them to hew scrupulously to their technocratic bid process.”
  • More HBS analysis“…. Despite efforts taken to eliminate appearances of partisan interference, it continues to swirl around the billions of dollars in contracts. “Whatever the outcome, the decision is likely to unleash a firestorm,” said Christian Leuprecht from the Queen’s University Centre for International and Defence Policy. “There are no obvious pork-barrel political choices here,” he said, noting the ridings around the Halifax shipyard are all NDP, as are those around the Vancouver shipyard — although some of the neighbouring ridings went Conservative — and around the Davie Shipyard in Quebec City. “If you’re trying to prop up Canada’s industrial heartland, Ontario and Quebec, which has been hurting pretty bad economically and where the Conservatives would be likely to get the most political bang for their buck in terms of votes, the core bid would go to the Davie shipyard.” ….”
  • What (else is) Canada Buying?  “Sleds, self-propelled” for Shilo, Petawawa – more technical details in excerpt from bid document (11 page PDF) here.
  • Libya Mission  Canada’s Sea Kings busy over the Med (via CEFCOM Info-Machine)
  • Afghanistan  Canadians take part in German Unity Day parade in northern Afghanistan (via Regional Support Command-North/NTM-A Info-Machine)
  • Canadian federal officials will participate in an annual crisis management exercise organized by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) from October 19 to 26, 2011. Canada’s part in the international exercise will be played from government offices in Ottawa and linked to Canada’s NATO delegation. Crisis Management Exercise 2011 (CMX 11) provides an international forum to test, evaluate and improve coordination, intelligence and information sharing amongst federal departments and agencies with NATO Allies. It will ensure that we work effectively with our international partners to respond to emergencies in Canada or abroad. …. This exercise will involve civilian and military officials from all 28 NATO member nations, NATO Headquarters and NATO Strategic Commands, as well as participants from Sweden and Finland. Lessons learned from the exercise will enhance Canada’s ability to work together with Allies to confront threats of all kinds ….”
  • Stuart Landridge, R.I.P. (1)  A public hearing into the suicide of Edmonton-based soldier Cpl. Stuart Langridge will start in Ottawa on Feb. 27. Langridge hanged himself in March 2008 following several earlier suicide attempts. The young soldier suffered from severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder and struggled with substance abuse after he returned from a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2005. The Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC) announced last month that a hearing would be held. The date was set on Wednesday. The hearing comes after Langridge’s parents filed a formal complaint with the commission. Sheila and Shaun Fynes allege the probe conducted by the Canadian Forces National Investigations Service was not impartial or independent, and aimed to absolve the military of any responsibility for their son’s death ….”
  • Stuart Landridge, R.I.P. (2)  Family seeking help from CF for lawyers to represent them – more here.
  • Ooopsie….  “Some Canadian soldiers are feeling a little unappreciated after home improvement retail giant Lowe’s announced it would pull its discount program it said was offered by mistake – the discount program was only intended for U.S. military members. The U.S.-based company had offered the 10% discount since 2008 to members of the Canadian Armed Forces at four stores – two in Ottawa, one in Kingston, Ont., and one in Belleville, near CFB Trenton. The company said the program was never intended for Canada and just recently realized its error. “I’m not able to get into the specifics of our (Lowe’s) systems and processes, but it (the discount) was a combination of misunderstanding and miscommunication that unfortunately went undetected until now,” Joanne Elson, corporate communications manager with Lowe’s Canada, said Wednesday ….”
  • Mark Collins’ impressions of testimony on organization of the CF at a recent Senate Standing Committee hearing.
  • More back and forth in the House of Commons on east coast search and rescue.  Mr. Ryan Cleary (St. John’s South—Mount Pearl, NDP):  Mr. Speaker, Canada has one of the worst search and rescue response times in the world. A recent incident off Bell Island, Newfoundland showed just how bad it was.  After emergency flares were fired in the area, the Coast Guard called in a provincial ferry, full of passengers, to help the search and rescue effort. It then took the Canadian Coast Guard vessel over three hours to arrive on the scene.  This is not about a limo service from a fishing lodge; this is about human lives. How long would the minister be prepared to wait in icy water before being rescued?  Hon. Keith Ashfield (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, CPC):  Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows full well that the search and rescue system is made up of a network of potential responders that includes the Coast Guard, the Coast Guard auxiliary, the Canadian Forces and any vessel of opportunity. Any vessel within the vicinity of a search and rescue call can be asked to assist.  When the flares are discharged, the CCG will treat it as a matter of distress. If the member would like to be constructive, he would help us to take this message back to the public so that lives are not put at unnecessary risk.”
  • Tory MP Tilly O’Neill Gordon (Miramichi) salutes women in the CF in the House of Commons“October is Women’s History Month in Canada. This year’s theme, Women in Canadian Military Forces: A Proud Legacy, highlights the important contributions of women to the Canadian military forces throughout Canada’s history. It is an ideal time to learn about the work of outstanding women who serve and protect Canada and Canadians through key roles in the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force. Women such as Elizabeth Gregory MacGill, the first woman aircraft designer in the world, Josée Kurtz, the first woman to command a warship, and Marie Louise Fish, the first woman to serve as a naval officer at sea, are inspiring leaders. Their milestone achievements helped pave the way for women in the Canadian military. On behalf of all Canadians, we thank them for being an important part of our national military history.”
  • A Conservative MP presents a nuclear disarmament petition in the House.  “Canadians are well aware of the destructive power of nuclear weapons, a power that the world’s worst dictators and terrorists are trying to acquire. I would like to present to the House a petition from the Oakville chapter of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. The petition is signed by 330 residents of Oakville. The petitioners ask the government to commit to the motion passed by the House on December 7, 2010, regarding the global disarmament of nuclear weapons. I am happy to present this petition for a response from our government.”  The text of the December 2010 motion:  “By unanimous consent, it was resolved, — That the House of Commons: (a) recognize the danger posed by the proliferation of nuclear materials and technology to peace and security; (b) endorse the statement, signed by 500 members, officers and companions of the Order of Canada, underlining the importance of addressing the challenge of more intense nuclear proliferation and the progress of and opportunity for nuclear disarmament; (c) endorse the 2008 five-point plan for nuclear disarmament of Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and encourage the Government of Canada to engage in negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention as proposed by the United Nations Secretary-General; (d) support the initiatives for nuclear disarmament of President Obama of the United States of America; and (e) commend the decision of the Government of Canada to participate in the landmark Nuclear Security Summit and encourage the Government of Canada to deploy a major world-wide Canadian diplomatic initiative in support of preventing nuclear proliferation and increasing the rate of nuclear disarmament.”
  • Letter to the editor:  let’s not forget the Aboriginal contribution to the War of 1812.  “Canadians are unaware of the full import of the role of First Nations and the pivotal role the War of 1812 played in the history of Canada’s treatment of aboriginal peoples. Many historians believe that Britain would have lost the war without the aboriginal military strength. Canada’s very existence depended on First Nations co-operation …. Native leaders like Tecumseh hoped for an alliance with Britain to help prevent the elimination of First Nations at the hands of the U.S. The British proclamation of 1763 had meant recognition and accommodation of aboriginal peoples by Britain. First Nations were military allies against the Americans ….”

WHAT’S CANADA BUYING? Stem cell research, accessible housing and living/working in tight spots

  • Stem cell wound research:  MERX version (excerpt from Statement of Work here):  “…. Histological Evaluation of a Murine Wound Model for Mesenchymal Stem Cell Tissue Regeneration Studies …. The study purpose is to develop a model to follow the healing process after the application of stem cells which should accelerate the regeneration of tissue repair. The model will provide a visual window with which to observe and measure various tissue regeneration features ….” My plain English version: “How do wounds, specifically rodent wounds, heal using stem cells to rebuild tissue?  We need someone to take and watch tissue samples for the experiment.”
  • What do you do after a military jet crashes at a civilian airportYou have to clean up, of course: ”DEFENCE CONSTRUCTION CANADA (DCC) – #AC119506 – Soils Remediation of a CF18 Crash Site, Lethbridge County Airport — The work includes, but is not necessarily limited to, the supply of labour, material, supervision and equipment necessary to remove, transport and dispose of approximately 900 tonnes of impacted surface soils (<1.0m) at a licensed/permitted facility and the restoration of the site to pre-crash conditions …. The estimated cost for this opportunity is in the order of $69,000.00 …. The tender closing date is: December 14, 2010 ….”
  • What does the research say about how people do in tight or isolated places? “…. Defence Research & Development Canada (DRDC) has a requirement for a Contractor to provide DRDC with a thorough overview of scientific research literature that examines psychological adaptation in people working in isolated, confined or extreme (ICE) environments ….”
  • New accessible housing in Shilo: “DEFENCE CONSTRUCTION CANADA (DCC) – #SL11702– Barrier Free Access Residential Housing Unit, Shilo, Manitoba.  The work includes, but is not necessarily limited to, the supply of labour, material, supervision and equipment necessary to construct a new single family Barrier Free Access (BFA) Residential Housing Unit (RHU) …”
  • Making houses accessible in Petawawa: “DEFENCE CONSTRUCTION CANADA (DCC) – HAKPA67 – Barrier Free Renovation, 3 Houses – Petawawa, Ontario     The work includes, but is not necessarily limited to, the supply of labour, material, supervision and equipment necessary to renovate three (3) existing residential units to become fully handicap accessible in Petawawa, Ontario ….”
  • A one-year contract extension for a “staging base” for Brit adventure training near Suffield while the UK’s Ministry of Defence reviews its priorities: “…. Canada intends to award a contract to the present supplier of the Adventurous Training Military Staging Area. The Lazy H Trail Company Ltd has been providing the military staging area and related services under contract with Department of National DEFENCE on behalf of British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) prior to 2001.  The staging support infrastructure consists of exclusive accommodation for 160 people/3000 per year, telecommunications, fully equipped kitchen, manned warehouse, workshop, equipment storage, 10 offices, lecture room, conference room, recreation areas, gymnasium, parking for 28 vehicles, 12 trailers, 3 commercial buses, year round vehicle wash bay; and services consisting of laundry, catering, janitorial, and horse back packing for 620 people. The current contract will expire on March 31, 2011.  The near and long term future of an Adventurous Training Military Staging Area is uncertain due to recent developments by the United Kingdom’s Strategic Defence and Security Review, Ministry of DEFENCE (MOD). Alternatives are being considered as part of an investment appraisal and the future need for a staging area will be considered in 2011 but is unknown at this time.  MOD has committed to the ongoing delivery of Adventurous Training and Challenge Pursuit Activities for an additional year until March 31, 2012; the staging area and related services must be available for April 1, 2011 for the 2011/2012 training period ….”