Royal Military College Academic: Iran strikes might be the CF’s next shooting stint? “Canada may get pulled into military strikes against Iran if it comes to a showdown between western powers and the rogue state. And things could get messy considering a new report from the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog that’s expected to indicate Tehran is on the brink of being able to develop a nuclear warheads, said Houchang Hassan-Yari, an expert in military and strategic issues at the Royal Military College of Canada. “If it gets to a military campaign, I think Canada will participate with the Americans and their allies,” the international relations professor said. “If sanctions are the next avenue, Canada will participate in that.” ….”
What a surprise: the military appears to be planning and weighing how to deal with evacuating Canadians in trouble overseas. “Plucking Canadians out of the world’s hot spots is a growing area of concern and study for military planners, who until a few years ago didn’t have their own tools or the resources to carry out such missions. Internal Defence Department documents obtained by The Canadian Press show that in the aftermath of the Libyan crisis, the Canadian military is examining not only its war-fighting skills, but its newly enhanced ability to quickly organize evacuation and rescue missions. Planners have been quietly taking stock of the world’s flash points and considering how to get military forces into those troubled regions, while at the same time smoothly getting civilians out of harm’s way …. internally at the Defence Department there has been angst about future evacuations, especially in light of expected budget cuts, suggest the documents obtained under Access to Information. Among the most worrisome trouble spots is South Korea, where frequent and increasingly violent outbursts from the hermit kingdom in the North have military planners concerned and looking for guidance. “With over 20,000 Canadian citizens resident in the (Republic of South Korea), in the event of a full-scale crisis (censored) the evacuation efforts required could significantly exceed those of the Lebanon evacuation,” said a Nov. 30, 2010 briefing note prepared for Defence Minister Peter MacKay ….” I’ve asked if CP plans to share the obtained documents online for anyone interested to read – no word back yet.
Canada is taking part in U.S. Northern Command Exercise Operation Vigilant Shield ’12.“The U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, as well as the Canadian military, have begun an extensive annual field training exercise for the U.S. Northern Command. “Operation Vigilant Shield 12” is the biggest multi-spectrum, high-level exercise for the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command. Northern Command is a Unified Combatant Command of the United States military, formed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 to protect the United States homeland and support local, state, and federal authorities. Operation Vigilant Shield 12, or VS 12, is a joint exercise supported by the Joint Coalition Warfare Center and conducted as a command post exercise with a supporting field training exercise in Key West, FL. The exercise is also linked to a Canada Command exercise called “Determined Dragon,” and runs concurrently with the Arizona’s “Vigilant Guard” exercise. It runs Nov. 1-10 ….” More from the Pentagon Info-Machine here.
Remembrance Day (2) Unambiguously Ambidextrous on Remembrance Day and Canada’s newest vets. “…. There is a new generation of soldiers returning from war, something that has not been seen in Canada in about 50 years, or two generations. That’s not to trivialize Rwanda or Bosnia, but our country hasn’t had to deal with the reality of war dead in a half century and we have not handled their sacrifices very well. In fact, it would be fair to say we have broken faith with the dead, choosing not to carry on their torch and honour their sacrifices by seeing through the mission to success. It was a political decision made to pacify the pacifists created by two generations of peace. Today’s young people know nothing of war, and so their only reaction to it is revulsion ….”
“An audit into Veterans Affairs Canada and how it handles privacy issues will be released in early 2012, Canada’s privacy commissioner said Monday. The news came as a third veteran went public with complaints into the number of times civil servants accessed his file, and how his file was handled at the agency. Sylvain Chartrand, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Bosnia, says his file was accessed more than 4,000 times between 2003 and 2010. HIs complaint is similar to one by Sean Bruyea, another veteran who advocates for veterans’ rights, and whose private medical information was shared with both Liberal and Conservative ministers of veterans affairs. A statement by a spokeswoman for Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart says an audit into how Veterans Affairs handles private information is coming soon ….”
“A military veteran on a hunger strike collapsed momentarily during the third day of his protest against the federal government Monday. (Pascal) Lacoste is trying to convince the government to recognize that he and other soldiers were poisoned while serving overseas. The 38-year-old former soldier was leaving a camper lent to him by a friend and heading back to his SUV when he fell to the ground. An ambulance was called as his mother rushed to hold him, clutching him to her chest. Lacoste eventually recovered after taking gasps of air from an oxygen mask. But the exhausted-looking man refused to go to hospital. He decided to continue his hunger strike instead ….”
All of a sudden, Canada’s Liberal Party is keen on helping veterans – more in an online petition here and an e-mail soliciting signatures to said petition here (PDF).
CF looking for more military artists.“The Canadian Forces Artists Program allows Canadian artists the opportunity to record Canada’s soldiers in Canada and around the world. It follows the long-standing tradition of Canadian war artists and is designed to portray today’s Canadian military experience through art while providing artists with a taste of military life. These artists, all volunteers, are helping usher in a new era of Canadian military art …. A new competition is currently being held for the selection of a new group of Canadian artists who wish to participate in the program. Selected artists will be able to participate in a military-related exercise for a period of approximately seven to ten days. This opportunity is designed to springboard their creativity, create works of art depicting military life and to provide memorable military experiences. There is no payment for artists, who in turn are not required to provide works to the program. However, artists may be asked to lend some works for promotional art tours or other uses. Deadline for applications is November 30, 2011 ….”
Canada and Foreign Intelligence (1) “As the Harper government prepares to re-introduce the anti-terrorism measures that were allowed to lapse because of opposition concerns about privacy and Charter rights, there are whispers Conservative plans to expand the role of Canada’s spy service to operate overseas are being dusted off. Currently, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service is largely concerned with domestic intelligence and is able to conduct covert operations overseas only if there is a direct threat to Canada. In their 2006 election platform, the Tories promised to overturn this arrangement and set up a separate foreign intelligence service. Once elected, they were persuaded by the bureaucracy that it would be quicker and cheaper to allow CSIS to take on the role ….”
“A Canadian man has been indicted in Seattle for allegedly conspiring to support the Sri Lankan terrorist group the Tamil Tigers nearly six years ago. The single-count indictment against Ramanan Mylvaganam, 34, is the result of a jurisdictional dispute between federal prosecutors in New York City’s Brooklyn borough and Mylvaganam’s attorneys. Mylvaganam is a former Bellevue resident. Brooklyn prosecutors in 2006 had indicted Mylvaganam along with nine others in connection with an alleged plot to pay to import surface-to-air missiles and other military equipment to the Tamil Tigers. The charges also alleged the group was attempting to bribe U.S. officials to have the Tamil Tigers removed from the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations. Mylvaganam’s attorneys had argued that federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York had no jurisdiction over Mylvaganam’s alleged crimes because he was living at the time in Bellevue, according to court papers ….”
It appears the NDP are also worried about the Candaa-U.K. ship talks. “Mr. Speaker, shipbuilders on the west coast are nervous about talks with Britain to jointly discuss the building of Canadian naval ships. The government promised that these new vessels would be made in Canada, yet workers are worried that they may be sold out in these closed door negotiations. Workers at the shipyards of Victoria, Esquimalt and Nanaimo are looking for answers. Will the Minister of Public Works come clean and recommit to an inclusive, fair and made-in-Canada shipbuilding strategy?” The government’s response? “…. I can tell her that our government is fully committed to the national shipbuilding strategy. It is a historic commitment. Our strategy will create more than 75 million person hours of work for the Canadian shipbuilding industry. At the end of the day, this is great news for shipbuilders across the country. Our ships for our navy and our coast guard will be built by Canadians.”
One of the wanna-be vendors unveils a prototype for the proposed Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle. “Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, today unveiled its prototype for Canada’s Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle (TAPV) program, as well as the company’s plans to work with its subsidiary, London Machinery, Inc. (LMI), to leverage that company’s new facility in London, Ontario, in pursuit of Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) vehicle programs. LMI, the leading manufacturer of concrete mixer trucks in London, Ontario, provides local advanced manufacturing capabilities and a highly skilled workforce to the Oshkosh Defense and General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada team’s bids for the TAPV and Medium Support Vehicle System (MSVS) programs ….” More on this one here, here and here. More from the CF on the TAPV project here.
Exercises Coming Up (2)“On Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, February 22-25, 2011, numerous officials and staffs of The County of Essex, City of Windsor, City of Detroit Homeland Security, Municipalities of LaSalle, Essex, Lakeshore, and Tecumseh, as well as a large number of local community partners such as the Canadian Red Cross, 211 Call Centre, Social Services and Hotel Dieu-Grace Hospital, provincial and federal ministries (CRDC, CBSA, Environment Canada, Transport Canada, RCMP, MTO, OPP), the University of Windsor, St. Clair College and private industry will participate in a major emergency response and management exercise entitled Exercise CENTRAL GATEWAY I ….” More on link, a more detailed news release here, and Windsor Star coverage here and here.
So, how’s Haiti doing a year after the big earthquake, and a rash of cholera?“…. These days, most people in Port-au-Prince live in donated tents and dread the havoc wrought by the frequent strong winds of the storm season. The tents form in IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps ranging in size from 50 families to 50,000 and occupying what used to be the city’s open spaces: golf courses, soccer fields, mountainsides. Although a full year has passed since the earthquake, every street still has collapsed buildings and victims are still being found — on 11 January 2011, a Brazilian patrol dug yet another out of the rubble. And then, on 16 January, former dictator Jean-Paul “Baby Doc” Duvalier returned to Haiti after 25 years of exile, adding fuel to the smoldering election crisis. All in all, not much surprises your average Haitian any more. Canada has 10 staff officers deployed in Haiti under Operation HAMLET to work at the military headquarters of the Mission des Nations unies pour la stabilisation en Haïti (MINUSTAH), under the command of Major-General Luiz Guilherme Paul Cruz of Brazil ….”
Canada helps train Filipino first responders in how to deal with explosives, chemicals. “The Embassy of Canada is holding a training course for Mindanao’s first responders against explosives and other chemical attacks from February 22-25 in Davao City. The Chemical Explosive System Exploitation First Responders Training Program (CESE) aims to improve skills of first responders that include representatives from the various units in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, the Bureau of Fire Protection, the National Bureau of Investigation, and the Philippine Coast Guard. The training program addresses the need to manage improvised explosive (IED) or chemical devices and how to mitigate their possible effects since the lack of skills in appropriately responding to such attacks will pose serious threats to public security and infrastructure safety …. The CESE training course is part of the Government of Canada’s Counter-Terrorism Capacity-Building Program. It is an extension of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) First Responder Training that Canada started in 2005 ….”