Afghanistan (1)“Upon arriving in Mazar-e-Sharif, we met the U.S. Army team that we would be replacing. It didn’t take much time for a U.S. Army sergeant to tell me, “I hope you have thick skin because we haven’t had a female adviser down at Camp Shaheen, so I don’t know how they will act toward you.” My first reaction was to shake my head, throw my hands up and say, “Really? Aren’t we past this – females in the military — by now!” In Canada perhaps we are, but welcome to Afghanistan ….”
DND allowed to keep some money it didn’t spend (but don’t get used to it). “…. up to $11 billion in approved funding remained in public coffers. In 2009, the government approved $6.3 billion, $9.4 billion in 2010 and $11.2 billion in 2011. When pressed on why the funding was never spent, Flaherty said rebuilding the Canadian Forces was a factor. “We have a very large program to rebuild the Canadian Armed Forces and found repeatedly that they cannot get as much done in a given year as they perhaps thought they were going to,” said Flaherty, who was in Honolulu, Hawaii for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit. “At the end of the year, we look at what is happening within the departments. We let them carry over some cash from year to year, but it’s limited because we don’t want to create that kind of expectation that if you don’t use the money that is allocated to it, you get to use it the next year,” he added ….”
Federal politicians join the CFL in honouring vets – an MP in Edmonton and a Senator in Montreal.
Again with the “end of the beginning” messaging on the Victoria-class subs (previous occurances here and here)!“Canada’s navy is promising its Victoria-class submarines will by fully operational by 2013 — nearly 15 years after the boats were purchased from the United Kingdom. Speaking with W5’s Lloyd Robertson on Oct. 28, navy commander Vice Admiral Paul Maddison said he understands Canadians’ frustration with the submarine program. “I understand why they would feel impatient. I ask all Canadians for patience. We are at the end of a long beginning,” Maddison said ….”
Looking for a hand from Canada in Darfur.“Canada’s help could be critical in assisting the development of a “new roadmap” for the Darfur peace process, the head of the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur, Joint Special Representative Ibrahim Gambari, said in talks with senior Canadian Government officials during a three-day visit to Ottawa. Canada has been a major backer of peacekeeping efforts in Darfur and in particular of the two-year peace process among the parties to the Darfur conflict in Doha, Qatar. In addition to leading UNAMID, the AU-UN peacekeeping mission, JSR Gambari is also the interim Chief Joint Mediator in the Darfur peace talks. “Canada has played an important and substantial role in the development of a comprehensive peace in Darfur,” JSR Gambari told Margaret Biggs, president of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in a meeting Wednesday. “We now have a unique opportunity for a new beginning, an enduring peace and a way forward towards a better future for all Darfuris.” ….” More here.
Afghanistan (2) More on starting the process to bring Khadr Boy back to Canada.“The bureaucratic process has begun to bring Omar Khadr back to Canada. Brydie Bethell, one of Khadr’s Canadian lawyers, confirmed Friday the application had been made to repatriate the 25-year-old. The process is reportedly now in the hands of the Correctional Service of Canada ….”
Afghanistan (1) Canadian General drops by northern training base in Afghanistan (courtesy of the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan/Combined Transition Command – Afghanistan Info-Machine)“Regional Support Command – North recently hosted a visit by Canadian Army Maj. Gen. Michael Day, the deputy commander for army operations under NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan/Combined Transition Command – Afghanistan. NTM-A/CSTC-A, in coordination with key stakeholders, generates and sustains the Afghan National Security Forces, develops leaders, and establishes enduring institutional capacity in order to enable accountable Afghan-led security. This is Day’s second visit to RSC-N, and during his stop he viewed newly delivered D-30 artillery cannons and the Regional Basic Warrior Training center at Camp Shaheen, near Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. He also received updates on proposed expansions to the Afghan National Army training facilities ….”
Afghanistan (3) Congrats to all.“Michael Hornburg watched television coverage of the Sept. 11 attacks in his Calgary home with his son Nathan, who had become a reservist only weeks before. The 18-year-old had joined the King’s Own Calgary Regiment while still in high school. That day, Hornburg felt a personal, horrible feeling as his son sat next to him. “I somehow had a premonition that day that 9/11 would touch our family on a personal level, that it might directly affect us,” he said on the 10th anniversary of the attacks. Cpl. Nathan Hornburg was killed in Afghanistan six years and two weeks after 9/11. Nathan had volunteered to go to war. He drove a tank equipped to rescue other vehicles, which he was doing when killed in a mortar attack. “My son’s vehicle had a crane on it, not a cannon,” Michael Hornburg said. “He was typical of a lot of the courage you see in all these military members.” On behalf of his son, Michael Hornburg received the Birchall Leadership Award on Sunday to recognize integrity and responsibility in the Canadian Forces. Usually given to one annual recipient, this year’s award was presented to seven individuals to represent Task Force Afghanistan. “This award is on behalf of all of those wounded or killed,” Hornburg said. “We take our losses as sources of pride. We use them to become better people, not bitter.” Other local recipients included Col. Omer Lavoie, commander of 1 Mechanized Brigade Group, and Warrant Officer David Schultz, a previous recipient of the Star of Military Valour for personal bravery ….” More on the award here (from the Land ForcesWestern Area Info-Machine)
Afghanistan (3) A new Canadian film, Afghan Luke, by the guy who brought you Trailer Park Boys.” “Trailer Park Boys” co-creator and director Mike Clattenburg isn’t offended by the suggestion that a nuanced satirical film on Canada’s role in the Afghan war is a bit of a surprise coming from him. “I guess people would expect me to do crazy, screwball stuff, but we did that for 10 years,” the Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia native tells me in a hotel room in downtown Toronto. “Guys in their underwear and housecoats, drunk trailer park supervisors . . . I’ve been doing that stuff for a while, that stoner comedy. “I was excited to do something I hadn’t done before.” Clattenburg was in Toronto Sunday for the premiere of his new movie “Afghan Luke” at the Toronto International Film Festival. “Afghan Luke” tells the story of ambitious journalist Luke Benning (Nick Stahl) who goes rogue in Afghanistan after his editor spikes a story on Canadian snipers who may be cutting off the fingers of their kills in the country. While that’s the synopsis, what follows is much more of satirical tale of loosely collected stories of a strange and distant land that cannot be understood, let alone tamed by Western military powers. As Clattenburg puts it, it’s “80 per cent drama, 20 per cent comedy.” ….” Already some discussion of the film (mostly based on the trailer and advance media) at Army.ca here.
F-35 Tug o’ War (1)More of what’s coming came out of Canada’s Defence Minister meeting with Australia’s. “Australia and Canada share a common concern that the new Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) will be delayed, possibly requiring acquisition of an expensive interim air combat capability. To present a united front, Australia and Canada will now conduct top level talks on procurement and capability issues of mutual concern. As well as JSF, that will also touch on submarines, with both Australia and Canada experiencing big problems on maintaining submarine capability. Visiting Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Canada wasn’t backing away from plans to acquire 65 JSF aircraft but shared all of the same concerns as Australia. He said the good news was that the conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) variant of JSF, to be acquired by both Canada and Australia, was progressing well, unlike the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) and carrier variants. “We are purchasing them at a time when they will be in peak production around 2014-15. Our fleet of F-18 Hornets will have to be taken out of use in 2017,” he told reporters. “So there is a degree of urgency for us when it comes to this procurement being on time and being on cost.” …. Defence Minister Stephen Smith said he and Mr MacKay had agreed to conduct a regular strategic dialogue on shared procurement, acquisition, capability issues. He said he was very concerned that delay in JSF meant it was rubbing up against the Australian schedule for retiring older F/A-18 Hornets around the end of the decade. “I have always been of the view that this project will get up because the US is absolutely committed to the capability,” he said. “But the risk for Australia and other partners like Canada is on the delivery side, on the schedule side and also on the cost side.” ….” Nothing on the visit on Minister MacKay’s site yet – a nice picture, though.
Border Security (1) “It may seem heartless to put a price tag on the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 that took the lives of nearly 3,000 people and affected the lives of so many more. But economic implications of that event and of the ongoing battle against terrorism cannot be ignored. While the United States incurred the lion’s share of costs related to 9/11 and the security measures – including military interventions – that came after, Canada has also coped with economic consequences. For the most part, the harm to Canada is manifest in impediments to trade ….”
Border Security (2) “Glass is half full” view of border security talks between Canada, U.S.: “…. The goals of the initiative are pragmatic, not theoretical and the results need to be tangible and mutually beneficial. Success is not preordained but Canada should never refrain from bilateral agreements carrying the greatest potential for reward. With clear and consistent political will from the top and healthy doses of imagination and determination from officials, innovative solutions can be agreed that will serve the interests of both parties.”
Border Security (3) “Glass is half emtpy” view of border security talks between Canada, U.S.: “…. The protection of privacy is the subtly acknowledged elephant in the room in these discussions. In the past few years there have been two commissions of inquiry on cases in which the privacy rights of Canadians were violated by the sharing of information with the United States. The men affected became guests of nasty regimes with life-changing consequences for them. Both the Auditor General and the Privacy Commissioner have added their voices on the need for greater privacy protections. This government and previous ones have ignored recommendations for changes and have been reluctant to improve existing protections by updating the out-of-date Privacy Act of 1983. If Canadians are not vigilant they may soon discover that the Americans have more control over their privacy rights than we do at home.”
Royal Canadian Artillery: Helping prevent avalanches for 50 years. (via Army.ca) “Canada Command honoured the centennial of Parks Canada and the 125th anniversary of Glacier and Yoho National Parks with the presentation of three retired 105 mm Artillery Howitizers at the Rogers Pass Discovery centre at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10 in Revelstoke, B.C. The guns are on display at the Rogers Pass as monuments and memorials in recognition of a half-century of avalanche control operations to protect the Trans-Canada Highway and the railway through Glacier National Park ….” More from The Canadian Press here (YouTube video).
“While 9-11 highlighted the bonds between Canada and the United States, another major anniversary will mark just how the two countries decided to become friendly in the first place. The Conservative government is gearing up to announce its bicentennial plans for the War of 1812, a major undertaking that will have Canadians reaching into their high-school memory vaults and municipalities vying for cash to spruce up their historical landmarks. “It has led to 200 years of peace between Canada and the United States,” Heritage Minister James Moore said in an interview. “We’re two countries with two very different identities and we obviously disagree from time to time, but we have the longest border and the most successful neighbouring relationship of probably any two countries in the world … and all of that started with the end of the War of 1812 and it’s something to be recognized.” The conflict, which lasted until 1815, pitted the growing United States against British forces mostly in Upper and Lower Canada. The U.S. had grown weary of British naval blockades hampering their trade abroad, and of First Nations armed by the British Empire stunting their expansion into the northwest of the continent ….”