Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight

Posts Tagged ‘Dean Milner News Highlights – 19 Aug 11

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  • Report leaked to QMI:  CF way too top heavy.  The Department of Defence and the Canadian Forces are top heavy with too many civilian bosses in Ottawa and need to shift resources to the front lines, according to a secret defence report. Between 2004 and 2010, civilian hires at DND and the CF outpaced hires in the regular forces three to one, and while the number of sailors fell, staff at DND/CF headquarters in Ottawa ballooned by 38%. But the government says those hires were necessary to backfill positions left vacant by Canada’s heavy involvement in Afghanistan, “so that military members could focus their efforts on operational matters,” wrote Jay Paxton, a spokesman for Defence Minister Peter MacKay, in an e-mail Thursday. The transformation report, authored by Gen. Andrew Leslie, was submitted in early July but has yet to be released publicly. QMI Agency obtained a copy from a military source ….”  No word on sharing the report with anyone who wants to read it themselves.
  • Report leaked to Globe & Mail:  CF way too top heavy.  National Defence must take an axe to its bloated headquarters by dismissing or reassigning thousands of workers if the military is to meet its future obligations, concludes a landmark report charged with transforming the Canadian Forces. This scathing assessment by Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie, who commanded the Canadian army during the Afghanistan war, arrives at a pivotal moment for the military, as the army returns from its troubled mission in Kandahar, the navy and air force seek new ships and aircraft, and the Conservative government vows to eliminate the federal deficit in a gloomy economy. “If we are serious about the future – and we must be – the impact of reallocating thousands of people and billions of dollars from what they are doing now to what we want them to do …will require some dramatic changes,” Gen. Leslie writes in Report on Transformation 2011. A copy of the report has been obtained by The Globe and Mail ….”  No word on sharing the report with anyone who wants to read it themselves.
  • Libya Mission (1)  More on HMCS Vancouver replacing HMCS Charlottetown from the CF Info-Machine.
  • Libya Mission (2)  More on Canadian boss reorg in Italy (via CF Info-Machine)
  • Way Up North (1)  “Peter Mackay, Canada’s defence minister, who arrived in Resolute Bay in the early hours of Aug. 18, made the most of his day-long visit to observe Operation Nanook, the Canadian Forces’ military exercise, shoring up support from every direction for his department’s increased visibility in Nunavut and the North. Mackay even managed to cram in a dive from an iceberg lodged in the bay outside Resolute with divers who have been learning how to work around icebergs. That, said Mackay, who donned a dry suit and full divers gear, was “disorienting,” but “incredible” as light shone through the iceberg into the water ….”
  • Way Up North (2)  CF Info-Machine coverage of Operation Nanook“Operation Nanook is well underway with Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircraft and personnel providing valuable airlift during this major national and international operation. A combined Naval Task Group set sail from St. John’s, N.L. on Aug. 5, towards Canada’s Eastern and High Arctic, where other personnel and equipment from the Canadian Army, RCAF, and Canadian Rangers converged for the month-long, annual Arctic sovereignty exercise. In addition to the Canadian Forces, simulated major air disaster and maritime emergency scenarios involve the Canadian Coast Guard, Transportation Safety Board, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Public Safety Canada as well as the Government of Nunavut, the community of Resolute Bay and our private sector partners. Op Nanook, named for the Inuit word for polar bear, is the centerpiece of three annual northern sovereignty operations conducted by the Canadian Forces and its partners who share interest in Canada’s North ….”  More on Op NANOOK at the Canada Command page here.
  • Way Up North (3)  “A senior Canadian Army officer – Lt.-Gen. Walter Semianiw – is to travel to Moscow and other northern European capitals this fall for discussions about the Arctic. This development mocks the ludicrous media hype suggesting that there is a bitter rivalry involving Canada, Russia, the United States and Denmark (Greenland) over their sometimes competing claims and interests in the Arctic. To be sure, there are differences of opinion about the top of the world. But the reality is there is actually far more co-operation than there is friction. “This is beyond search and rescue,” the chief of Canada Command told me in a recent interview upon his European travel plans. “We are going to be talking about military co-operation in the North.” Officials from Russia and other Arctic Council countries will “table top” an international search-andrescue exercise in the Yukon in October. At this moment, Canadian and Danish warships and U.S. Coast Guard and Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers are working together in Arctic waters after some of the vessels paid a courtesy call on a Greenlandic port. U.S. Coast Guard divers are on an exercise with Canadians on Cornwallis Island ….”
  • Afghanistan (1)  Canada’s air contingent in Afghanistan basically shuts down, after a very busy few years – these stats from the CF on how busy the planes and crews were since December 2008:   More from QMI’s David Akin here, and here.
  • Afghanistan (2)  How Canadian air force folks are helping create an Afghan air force (via CF Info-Machine).  “Kabul International Airport covers a vast area on the north side of the city. The sprawling complex includes civilian and military air terminals, air cargo centres, and International Security Assistance Force facilities. One military unit located on the airport grounds represents the future of the Afghan Air Force. The Afghan Air Training School (or Pohantoon e Hawayee, which means Big Air School) is where new members of the Afghan Air Force learn the basics of flying and maintaining aircraft and running an air unit. They also participate in literacy training, which is incorporated into nearly every course conducted by the Afghan national security forces. Ten advisors from Canada’s Air Force serve at the training school as part of the Canadian Forces contribution to the NATO training mission in Afghanistan. The Canadian staff are part of 738 Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron (738 AEAS), a NATO unit assigned to advise the the (school’s) Afghan commander and his senior staff ….”
  • The sacrifices made by members of the Canadian military and their families are being honoured with 26 bronze commemorative plaques that will be placed at intervals along the Highway of Heroes, which runs from Trenton, Ont., to Toronto. Announcement of the plaques took place Thursday in Toronto and was observed by at least 100 people, including Canadian soldiers, their families, parliamentarians and corporate sponsors. Each plaque is sponsored by a company, whose logo is visible below the image depicted on the plaque. Money raised through the sponsorship goes toward helping military families send children to summer camps, provide psychological counseling, retrofit homes and vehicles for soldiers returning with injuries or amputations and rehabilitate soldiers through athletics. Creation of the plaque program is a joint effort between the provincial Ministry of Transportation and True Patriot Love, a national foundation created by civilians with the aim of fostering better understanding between Canadians, the military and its endeavours ….”
  • F-35 Tug o’ War  Well, at least SOME of the U.S. Joint Strike Fighters are able to fly again.  “The F-35 Lightning II test fleet has been cleared for flight, the Pentagon announced Thursday. An Air Force safety investigation board is continuing its investigation of the failure of the AF-4’s Integrated Power Package on Aug. 2, which led to the grounding of the entire fleet of 20 aircraft. The AF-4 is the fourth conventional takeoff and landing variant produced by Lockheed Martin. A government and contractor engineering team determined that flight operations of the test aircraft could continue after reviewing data from ground and flight tests, and revised the test monitoring procedures that govern the IPP. Ground operations of the test fleet resumed Aug. 10 ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying?  Here’s a taste of what happened at the Fixed Wing Search and Rescue industry day“…. A full complement of the right ADM’s and DG’s from Industry, Public Works and DND turned out, and it was noteworthy that they stayed until the end of the day.  In a procurement with this kind of history, little things can mean a lot, so government representatives handed out all their slide decks and notes in advance …. industry has until September 16 to get back to the government with its feedback, with a major focus on where the fixed-wing purchase can and should sit on a spectrum from full government ownership and ISS all the way through to full ASD, provided it still delivers the same ‘world-class’ capability as today.  This does not appear to be the only interaction the Crown intends, as this briefing is being followed by individual one on one corporate briefings, with the promise of follow-up sessions once inputs have been received and digested ….”
  • What’s Canada (Not) Buying?  Canada reportedly pulling out of Global Hawk UAV project“…. Canada has become the second country to withdraw from the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 alliance ground surveillance (AGS) program, but the remaining NATO partners are “very close” to signing a contract, according to sources familiar with the negotiations. The decision means AGS will lose another source of funding that must be compensated for by the 13 NATO members still committed …. Denmark also decided to withdraw from the partnership acquiring a six-aircraft RQ-4 fleet in June 2010. Meanwhile, Northrop and NATO officials are likely to sign a contract to launch the development phase of the AGS programme within several days. The contract award may still have to be approved by each of the national partners before it becomes official ….”
  • Two Canadian Forces members were listed on the National Sex Offender Registry, as of this spring, the Chief of the Defence Staff, has confirmed. “As of 11 May 2011, two Canadian Forces members were known to be subject to a SOIRA (Sex Offender Information Registration Act) order,” Gen. Walter Natynczyk said in a letter to Defence Minister Peter MacKay that was tabled in Parliament this week. Gen. Natynczyk said he has the power to temporarily exempt CF members from certain sex offender registry obligations, but noted he has never done so. Although a top government official told Huffington Post Canada the two members are still serving, Capt. Scott Costen, a Department of National Defence spokesman cautioned that administrative reviews, which are are launched after court martials or civilian criminal proceedings call into question the suitability of a member’s continued service, may be underway to release individuals from their military positions ….”
  • Some Twitter updates from the boss of Canada’s Army.  1) Senior Canadian medic recognized by U.S.  “BGen Hilary Jaeger was awarded the US Meritorious Service Medal for her outstanding leadership and great contribution to ISAF mission.”  2)  Change of assignment for senior Canadian officer working with U.S. forces.  “Great visit III Corps and Fort Hood. Atkinson‘s were awesome ambassadors for Canada. Welcome Milner‘s” (more on the senior Canadian appointment switch-around from the Fort Hood base newspaper here)
  • PM on Syria  Time for the boss to go.  “…. The Assad regime has lost all legitimacy by killing its own people to stay in power. I join with President Obama and other members of the international community in calling on President Assad to vacate his position, relinquish power and step down immediately. The Syrian people have a right to decide for themselves the next steps for Syria’s future ….”  More from Postmedia News here and Agence France-Presse here.
  • Lew-Mac on NATO“…. (Historian Jack) Granatstein rightly points out that, “In diplomacy as in baseball, it’s three strikes and you’re out. Afghanistan was strike one; Libya was strike two. And strike three?” he asks. I suggest strike three already happened in 1999 during NATO’s 50th birthday celebrations when it was frantically searching for a role and an enemy now that the Cold War was over. It found an out of area mission bombing Serbia and Kosovo in support of the Kosovo Liberation Army, at the time a terrorist movement according to the CIA. Seventy-nine days of bombing later, Serbian infrastructure was devastated but her security forces were still defiant and little damaged. Diplomacy took over and NATO capitulated on the two poison pills in the Rambouillet Agreement that “justified” the bombing campaign in the first place, that is to say, NATO freedom of movement throughout Serbia and a referendum on Kosovo independence within three years. As a result of this Russian-led diplomacy Serbian forces pulled out of Kosovo. NATO’s military mission had failed which in my book makes it three strikes in 12 years ….”
  • MORE criminals (not just war criminals) on the CBSA “help us find these folks” web site – more from
  • Meanwhile,Anyone defending foreign criminals remaining here are naively ignoring their potential threat or are driven by unknown motives, Canada’s public safety minister warned Thursday. Vic Toews said some Canadians “condemn our soldiers as war criminals,” but not foreigners evading deportation to face charges of crimes against humanity. On Sun News, he said such stances — including Amnesty International objecting to the government seeking public help to catch 30 suspected war criminals, plus the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) seeking killer Omar Khadr’s return — exhibit a “culture gap. “Don’t you people understand what is going on in the world … there are some bad people out there,” Toews told Ezra Levant, host of The Source ….”
  • Several Canadian cities will be receiving artifacts from Hangar 17 — a makeshift museum inside New York’s John F. Kennedy International airport that houses pieces from the 9/11 wreckage. Thousands of meticulously catalogued steel beams, crushed cars and fire trucks can be found inside the 80,000-square-foot hangar that’s rarely open to the public. Tom Doucette, executive director of The Military Museums in Calgary, said they will be receiving a 15-foot long piece of steel from one of the fallen World Trade Center towers that weighs just under 3,000 pounds ….”
  • Just as they did during active duty, the Olympus and Okanagan continue to slip silently along Canada’s waterways. These days, however, they’re not doing so unnoticed. After all, it’s difficult to miss the 1,250-tonne submarines that are taking a voyage from Halifax to Port Maitland – especially when they’re travelling above the water. Decommissioned by the Canadian Department of National Defense, the former submarines are being transported on floating drydocks towed by barges. At the end of the journey, they’ll meet their fate. The Oberon class submarines are scheduled to be scrapped by Port Colborne-based Marine Recycling Corp. at the company’s Port Maitland shipyard. Now it’s just a matter of getting them there ….” News Highlights – 8 Aug 11

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  • Libya Mission  New boss, new reorganization for Canada’s effort in Libya. “Brigadier-General Derek Joyce assumed command of Task Force Libeccio today during a ceremony held at Allied Joint Force Command, Naples, Italy. The task force, which assumes a new, more streamlined structure, will continue Canadian Forces’ activities in support of Operation MOBILE. Concurrent with the assumption of command Task Force Naples personnel and functions were incorporated into the new structure of Task Force Libeccio. Task Force Naples was responsible for coordinating the participation of all Canadian Task Forces within Operation MOBILE. “The task I was given was extremely rewarding in that Task Force Naples worked very hard at providing support and sustainment to the air component of Operation MOBILE, and to Task Force CHARLOTTETOWN, patrolling the waters off the coast of Libya,” said Colonel Paul Ormsby, Commander of Task Force Naples ….”
  • Afghanistan (1)  The last of the last “heading into the fight” ROTOs is back (article in French).
  • Afghanistan (2)  Some of the bosses talk about the mission (via CF Info-Machine) – video and transcript.
  • Afghanistan (3)  August 7th is not an official statutory holiday but a day for commemoration and for the families who lost their loved ones in peacekeeping missions for Canada, it’s a day to heal. 25-year-old Steven Stock was a Combat Engineer with the Canadian Forces and was killed in Afghanistan in 2008. His father, David, said this day is important because it means his son will never be forgotten and it helps their family grieve. “It’s an emotional release for us all as well and it just heals,” he said. “The more we do these things, the more it heals.” ….”  More from the Veterans Affairs Canada Info-Machine here.
  • Cpl. Andrew Knisley has known his share of frustration with the artificial leg he’s worn for the past two years. The prosthetic limb, which straps to his pelvis, does not allow him to easily navigate stairs or uneven terrain. Last week, for instance, his knee unexpectedly gave out as he walked across a beach on the Ottawa River. “I went down like a sack of potatoes,” says Knisley, 27, whose right leg was destroyed by a bomb in Afghanistan. But recently at the Ottawa Hospital Rehabilitation Centre, Knisley received a new prosthetic limb, the X2, that he hopes will significantly improve his mobility. Knisley is the third Canadian soldier to be fitted with the device, which represents the latest in artificial knee technology ….”
  • Wounded warriors take on Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa (video via
  • University of Regina researcher Mathew Fetzner has seen the mental toll that war can have. The 27-year-old is now a doctoral student in the university’s psychology department, but was once a military man himself. His first degree was a bachelor of arts in psychology from Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont. He reached the rank of corporal and spent six years in reserve units. Fetzner’s grandfather served in Korea and his brother is a captain based at CFB Gagetown. Fetzner was never deployed himself, but watched his buddies go overseas …. That experience is prompting Fetzner’s research on the effects of aerobic exercise on reducing post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. This week, he was awarded a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Fetzner will get $50,000 per year for three years through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. “My ultimate goal for this is to find ways to better treat individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder,” Fetzner says ….”
  • F-35 Tug o’ War  One blogger’s view“…. I can see how the F-35’s stealth capability and relatively short range (it won’t make it from one end of the Arctic to the other without expensive in-air refuelling) might be the perfect jet fighter for say, Israel or American adventures in the Middle East. But for Canada? We don’t know for sure, because the statement of requirements is not public. And that breeds the suspicion that they were written with what the Americans had in mind, not with what Canada needed ….”
  • And we should be surprised the U.S. has intellegence and other government agencies keeping an eye on the economies of its major trading partners?  The CIA secretly painted Pierre Trudeau as a politician torn between being a leader of the Third World and a genuine player with global industrialized nations, declassified records show. The January 1982 assessment of the Liberal prime minister’s ambitions is among several detailed — and until now virtually unknown — analyses of the Canadian economy by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Through the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, The Canadian Press obtained more than a dozen CIA reports that explore various aspects of Canadian commerce, industry and technology during the Cold War era. The assessments reveal a keen interest in Canadian affairs on the part of an agency better known for waging a covert war against East Bloc spies in the decades leading up to the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall ….” Sure would be interesting to see the reports now that they’re public….
  • German prisoners of war who spent much of the Second World War in a Manitoba logging camp purchased mail-order items from the Eaton’s catalogue, kept themselves impeccably groomed and even staged “temporary” escapes into the nearby countryside. Those are just some of the findings of a three-year archeological dig in Riding Mountain National Park, located about 300 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg, where the Whitewater PoW camp was located. Adrian Myers, a PhD student from Stanford University, has been leading the project since 2009, when he first arranged an agreement with Parks Canada to access the site which had sat neglected and abandoned for decades, little more than a few overgrown foundations still visible. The site was once a bustling wilderness work camp housing about 500 people. About 450 German Afrika Korps soldiers were sent to the camp after their capture in October 1943 during the Second Battle of El-Alamein in Egypt. They were kept at the camp until October 1945 ….” News Highlights – 22 Jul 11

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  • What’s Canada Buying – Honkin’ Big Ship Building (1)  A Quebec Superior Court judge approved Thursday morning the sale of Davie Shipyard to Upper Lakes Group, giving the new owner the green light to enter the race to bid on potentially lucrative federal shipbuilding contracts. The deadline for bidding on the largest chunk of the federal government work, worth $33 billion, in the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy is set at 2 p.m. ET Thursday. B.C.’s Seaspan, and Nova Scotia’s Irving shipyard are bidding as well ….”  More in a company news release here.
  • What’s Canada Buying – Honkin’ Big Ship Building (2) A blockbuster bid submitted Thursday could give St. Catharines’ shipyard a big chunk of a multi-billion-dollar federal shipbuilding contract. The bid by Upper Lakes-owned Davie shipyards would see Seaway Marine and Industrial dry docks and Davie build the federal government’s large non-combat ships. Montreal’s SNC-Lavelin is the joint venture partner with Upper Lakes in the submission. If successful, these projects — which include oceanographic and fisheries vessels — could add 1,000 new jobs to St. Catharines. The work, worth up to $5 billion for two shipyards, would be spread out over about seven years. It could mean about 1,500 jobs in Quebec, plus 500 shipyard jobs in St. Catarines and another 500 sub-contractor jobs in this area ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying – Honkin’ Big Ship Building (3)  Canadian officials are putting aside a bid by Davie Yards for a contract under a C$35 billion ($37.1 billion) shipbuilding program until its eligibility can be determined, a senior official said on Thursday. Three bids, including Davie’s, were received by the federal government Thursday morning, said a senior official from the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy secretariat. The other two bids were from Vancouver Shipyards and Irving Shipbuilding Inc. The official said they are established eligible bidders ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying – Honkin’ Big Ship Building (4)  Halifax looks like the front-runner for a $25-billion contract to build about 20 warships, an Ottawa insider says. The Irving-owned Halifax Shipyard is competing against Vancouver Shipyards, owned by Seaspan Marine Corp. of British Columbia, and a consortium that includes Davie Yards Inc. of Levis, Que. Besides the main prize, there’s also $8 billion in other work up for grabs building coast guard icebreakers and replacements for the navy’s supply ships and $2 billion to be spent on building small craft and repair work. “I would bet right now that Halifax would get the military one and probably Vancouver would get the civilian one,” said a source who spoke on condition of anonymity. The larger project would require a lot of trained workers, which Halifax has, said the source, an expert in marine procurement ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying (1)  Someone to research how groups perceive each other as part of “winning hearts and minds” research, AGAIN (4th time) with the “someone to operate, maintain facilities in, around CFS Alert” bid, and “applied mathematics, physics and chemistry” teaching at CFB Gagetown.
  • What’s Canada Buying? (2)  More, from Mark Collins, on reading between the lines on fixed-wing search and rescue planes for the CF, and some interesting discussion from people in the biz at
  • Afghanistan (1)  Former TF Afghanistan commander Daniel Menard pleads guilty to screwing around, fined, (retroactively) demotedmore from The Canadian Press,, the National Post, the Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.
  • Afghanistan (2)  Outgoing TF Afghanistan boss in Ottawa today to speak to media.
  • Afghanistan (3)  What the drones did“…. Canada deployed three reconnaissance drones – the Israeli-designed CU-170 Heron – for the first time in Afghanistan and brought in a dedicated air force unit of 39 people to operate them. Their first flight was in January 2009. Their last flight was last week. Through 30 months of operations, the Herons logged more than 15,000 hours of flight time. They were in the air almost every day for 22 out of 24 hours. There was rarely a time when they weren’t gliding over the dry landscape of Kandahar at speeds that never reached more than a mere 120 knots. Night and day their main job was to search out ambushes and insurgents planting improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the weapon of choice for the Taliban. Their data is fed directly to wing command headquarters, task force headquarters and the commander in the field in real time so he always knows what’s happening around him. One of their most recent triumphs was to save an American patrol from an ambush, Col. Al Meinzinger, commander of the air wing, said. “They were saving lives up to the last minute,” he said ….”
  • Afghanistan (4)  I’m shocked, SHOCKED!  Any chance of sharing the documents, Canadian Press?  “Canada’s diplomatic corps in Kabul did not go thirsty. Hospitality forms show embassy staff and dignitaries drank plenty of booze while posted to Afghanistan, an Islamic country where imbibing is not just taboo, it’s against the law. The embassy consumed close to 3,000 bottles of alcoholic beverages from mid-2007 to last November. The tab for the beer, wine and hard liquor was at least $20,000. The Canadian Press obtained hospitality diaries from the Canadian Embassy in Kabul under the Access to Information Act. The forms give the Foreign Affairs Department the cost of the embassy’s food and drink orders, along with guest lists and descriptions of lunches, dinners and other functions ….” 
  • CF forest fire evacuation now named OP Forge“Since Wednesday evening, the Canadian Forces have evacuated over 500 more Canadians from northern Ontario communities, which continue to be threatened by wildfires. Five Canadian Forces CC-130 Hercules transport aircraft began flying at first light this morning from Winnipeg, Manitoba, picking up people from Sandy Lake, Kingfisher Lake and Deer Lake First Nations communities and delivering them to Thunder Bay, Ontario …. Working alongside federal, municipal and provincial partners in the forest fire-ravaged communities, hundreds of Canadian Forces personnel, including aircrew, planning staff and Canadian Rangers, are involved in the ongoing disaster relief effort known as Operation FORGE …. Operation FORGE is the Canadian Forces contribution to the Whole-of-Government effort to assist the Government of Ontario in the emergency evacuation of Canadians threatened by the current wildfires. This support is currently provided mainly through airlift conducted by CC-130 Hercules aircraft from 14 Wing in Greenwood, Nova Scotia, 8 Wing in Trenton, Ontario, and 17 Wing in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Canadian Rangers from the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group are also assisting in some communities by coordinating the logistical plans, loading aircraft and communicating with the families of the community members. In addition to Canadian Rangers, the CF also deployed ground coordination teams to assist with organizing community members onto military aircraft for evacuation. Since the beginning of July, the Canadian Forces has evacuated over 3,000 residents from the communities of Deer Lake, Cat Lake, Fort Hope, Keewaywin, Kingfisher Lake, Kasabonika and Sandy Lake.”
  • Wanted:  Help from Canadians to track down illegal immigrant war criminalshere’s the list.
  • “The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, and Kellie Leitch, Member of Parliament for Simcoe–Grey and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and to the Minister of Labour, announced today $50,000 in Government of Canada support for a project in Alliston, Ontario, to honour Veterans and those who made the ultimate sacrifice …. The Royal Canadian Legion Branch #171 is receiving a maximum of $50,000 to construct a new memorial to commemorate local citizens who sacrificed their lives in the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, peacekeeping missions and in Afghanistan ….” News Highlights – 19 Jul 11

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  • CF getting busier helping fly evacuees out of remote northern Ontario communities because of forest fires.  The Canadian Forces have supported municipal and provincial authorities in Ontario in evacuating 385 residents threatened by wildfires in the communities of Fort Hope and Sandy Lake. That number continues to climb as Canadian Forces aircraft continue the airlift of threatened Canadians out of Sandy Lake …. Beginning on Sunday, members of the Eabametoong First Nation were evacuated by the Canadian Forces from Fort Hope to Greenstone (Geraldton), Ontario using a CC-130 Hercules military transport aircraft tasked from 424 Squadron at 8 Wing Trenton. In total, 265 people were transported to safety, with the operation ceasing as of Monday morning. Ten members of the 3rd Canadian Rangers Patrol Group assisted in this evacuation effort by coordinating logistics, communicating with families and in the loading of the aircraft. Beginning today, members of the Sandy Lake First Nation were evacuated from Sandy Lake to Sioux Lookout using a CC-130 Hercules aircraft tasked from 435 Squadron at 17 Wing Winnipeg. In total, 120 people were transported to safety as of late Monday afternoon. Fourteen Canadian Rangers also supported the Sandy Lake evacuation ….”
  • Wanted:  Media up for a short (or longer) trip to the Arctic to watch the next Canadian Forces sovereignty exercise, Nanook 2011.
  • Libya Mission  Scott Taylor’s take on a possible future.  “…. From the outset of the campaign against Libya, the U.S. made it clear they were not going to become fully engulfed in yet another war. Within NATO, not all members agreed to contribute to the enforcement of the United Nations-authorized no-fly zone and only a handful conceded to launching bombing attacks. Of those that did, Norway has now backed out, the Netherlands is ceasing their bombing role and the Italians are hinting they want out of the whole affair. The French and Brits have been the most belligerent players in this game but now even they are looking for a face-saving political solution that may even include Gadhafi remaining in Libya. If that does transpire, Canada is going to have not just a big seat but the only seat left at the proverbial Libyan rebel table. One has to wonder, why?”
  • An Al Jazeera journalist based in Bethlehem opines about Canada’s nature.  “…. If the missions in Afghanistan and Libya say anything, it’s that an aggressive Canada intends to be taken seriously.”
  • Afghanistan (1)  More “so long, combat mission” coverage, this time from Agence France-Presse“Canada’s top general in Afghanistan held his head high as his combat troops flew out of the country on Monday, even if the long war against the Taliban shows little sign of ending. With a spotlight shining on a red maple leaf emblazoned on the aircraft taking them home, Brigadier General Dean Milner led 120 of his troops onto the tarmac of Kandahar’s sprawling airfield built on the same desert where the Taliban was born. It was a farewell of brief, but emotional, handshakes and embraces after nine years of fighting the Taliban which has left 157 Canadian troops dead — their names etched on a marble memorial left behind. “It feels good heading back to family,” said Milner, who refused a soldier’s offer to carry his bag under sand blasts from the desert. “It has been an outstanding mission, with a lot of great accomplishments and I hope there will be good transition,” he added, before giving a thumbs up and climbing aboard the plane ….”
  • Afghanistan (2)  A bit more on fast-tracking Afghan interpreters coming into Canada.
  • Afghanistan (3)  This, from Mark Collins:  “This rather fatuous Canadian Press article in effect makes a case–with a distinct undertone of anti-Americanism–that if Canada had had its own foreign human intelligence (HUMINT) agency then we would have been much more aware of the
    likelihood of an upsurge in Taliban violence in Kandahar when the decision was made in 2005 to deploy the Canadian Forces for combat operations in that province ….”
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is expected to conduct a realignment of the bureaucracy after a winning a majority government on May 2, recently shuffled his foreign and defence policy adviser to Agriculture Canada, along with a number of other top changes. Critics say the foreign policy adviser position is an influential one, but that it’s up to the PM to determine the depth of that influence ….”  So far, the old adviser, Claude Carrier , has been moved without a new one being named yet.
  • What’s Canada Buying?  Wanted:  someone with expertise in radar systems for research, design work. News Highlights – 8 Jul 11

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