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.”
“Unfinished plates of lamb and rice are still being cleared away as the governor of Panjwaii, Haji Fazluddin Agha, receives a post-lunch briefing on security threats in his district. An official with Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security stands on the shura room’s ornate red carpet to deliver his report, telling Agha his agency has identified a pair of insurgents who have been appointed to the new Taliban shadow government in Panjwaii. The official says evidence was recently discovered proving both men are responsible for killing Canadian troops and laying “thousands” of roadside bombs. It also seems both men had been previously captured by coalition forces and then released, though the reasons for this are unclear. Agha takes in the information and a discussion ensues among the dozen or so Canadian and Afghan military commanders in the room. The idea is raised of re-arresting the men or killing them. But a consensus ultimately forms around another course of action, which is verbalized by Lt.-Col. Michel-Henri St-Louis, the commander of the Canadian battle group. Instead of taking punitive measures, give the insurgents a chance to change their ways, St-Louis says. “I think the district governor has a great opportunity to convince some of the fighters to live in peace, and maybe these two can be the start,” he tells Agha. “If these two individuals came here with their village elders, admitted to some of the choices they’ve made and vowed a future of peace, I think you could have the start of something very positive.” ….”
“The Conservative government quietly went to Federal Court last week hoping to impose limits on what a military watchdog can say in its final report into torture allegations involving Afghan prisoners. The Military Police Complaints Commission is currently reviewing evidence and writing its report after hearings into allegations that army cops turned a blind eye to suspected abuse in Afghan jails …. The Harper government …. (has) challenged the definition of what military cops could have known. Justice Department lawyers also accused the commission of stepping “out of its narrow jurisdiction” and investigating Ottawa’s policy of handing over prisoners to Afghan authorities — something it was strictly forbidden from doing. The government wants to exclude the testimony of diplomats and civilians who did not work for the Defence Department. Its lawyers also want any documents belonging to those officials, including reports that warned of torture or documented the abuse, excluded from the commissions findings ….”
Oopsie….“A military base commander who served with the UN has lost a bid to return to head CFB Borden after being stripped of his power for inappropriate behaviour. Capt. John Frederick Schmidt was removed from the top position in July 2008 following an incident in which he was drinking alcohol and inappropriately touched two junior female officers, according to court documents. Schmidt, a 30-year veteran, went to a federal court, seeking a review of his removal due to “procedural unfairness.” He wanted the decision set aside and for a new probe to be launched. Judge Robert Barnes recently tossed out the request, ruling that Schmidt admitted the incident to his commanding officer and did not answer questions about it when interviewed at another time ….” Full text of Federal Court of Canada decision here.