- Afghanistan (1) Government of Canada Info-Machine shares latest newsletter about what’s up in Afghanistan, with a mix of “packing up in Kandahar,” “training up the Afghans” and “it’s not JUST military help” stories.
- Afghanistan (2) NATO Info-Machine tells us about poppies on Canadians for Remembrance Day in Afghanistan.
- Kevin Megeney, 1982-2007, R.I.P. Court martial of soldier charged in Megeney’s death continues.
- Veterans’ Week kicks off in the House of Commons (and the Bloc Quebecois isn’t allowed to speak?) Discussion also available (7 page PDF) here.
- David Braun, 1979-2006, R.I.P. This year’s National Silver Cross Mother named: “The mother of a Saskatchewan infantryman killed in Afghanistan in 2006 will be the National Silver (Memorial) Cross Mother, the Royal Canadian Legion has announced. Patty Braun is the mother of Cpl. David Braun, a member of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. While on patrol in Kandahar on Aug. 22, 2006, he was killed in an explosion triggered by a suicide bomber. She lives in Raymore, north of Regina. In her new role, she will lay a wreath at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Remembrance Day on behalf of all mothers who have lost sons or daughters in the military, para-military or RCMP in the service of Canada. Originally from Semans, Mrs. Braun works for the Horizon School Division in the Raymore School ….” More here.
- “The widow of a Second World War veteran wants to honour her late husband’s memory by wearing his military medals on Remembrance Day, but in doing so she risks being arrested. Madrien Ferris of Charlottetown has kept the 10 medals her late husband Albert earned during his 30 years of service with the Canadian Armed Forces carefully stored in her home —and now she wants to wear them. “He earned them. He deserved them,” said the 79-year-old. “I want them to be out there for him because he’s no longer around to wear them.” ….”
- Justin Stark, R.I.P. Remember the death of a soldier at a Hamilton armoury? The family has issued an obit.
- Government of Canada Info-Machine Timelines (1) CF-18 pilot crosses 50 mission line in Libya, shared a month later (OK, I’ll cut some slack for protecting the identity of a pilot in combat).
- Government of Canada Info-Machine Timelines (2) CF helicopters in Jamaica pass 200 mission mark, shared two weeks later.
- Government of Canada Info-Machine Timelines (3) Minister to greet returning Libya mission folks, shared the day before it happens.
- Government of Canada Info-Machine Timelines (4) Associate Minister announces a purchase, shared the same day. “The Honourable Julian Fantino, Associate Minister of National Defence, and Chris Alexander, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, today announced the award of a $31.1-million contract to MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) for the building of two Unclassified Remote-sensing Situational Awareness (URSA) systems ….” (more on the deal here)
- Government of Canada Info-Machine Timelines (5) Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs heads Canadian team at South Asian talks, photo shared same day.
- Globe & Mail columnist keeps an eye out for the budget cutting axe at Defence. “This week, for the first time since Stephen Harper took office, there are no Canadian Forces on combat operations overseas. Now, the military is being thrust into the peacetime battle over budgets. But the map of the battlefield is out of date. The government’s 2008 long-term defence strategy still rests on spending budgets which are currently being cut. The strategy needs an update …. soon, before the choices shrink, the government’s going to have to say how it’s going to fit the military it planned for in 2008 into the realities of 2011.”
- F-35 Tug o’ War (1a) “The Conservative government’s approval of the multi-billion dollar F-35 plan was held up for over a year by reluctant Industry Canada officials who were angry with the U.S. manufacturer of the stealth fighter, say internal Defence Department documents. Frustrated air force planners said the delay damaged the program and the country’s aerospace industry, which was left hanging while the dispute over a previous purchase played out behind closed doors. Industry Canada blocked the federal cabinet’s “consideration/decision” of a replacement for the country’s aging CF-18s because of “concerns over a C130-J In-Service Support contract issue with Lockheed Martin,” said a May 17, 2010 briefing note prepared for the chief of air staff. The document, obtained under access to information laws by The Canadian Press, was written just weeks before cabinet finally agreed to purchase the F-35. The decision was announced publicly in July 2010 and set off firestorm of criticism that continues to this day ….” Guess what? No indication The Canadian Press is going to share the “obtained” documents.
- F-35 Tug o’ War (1b) “Military planners are concerned the Conservative government is buying too few F-35 fighters with almost no room for any loss of the stealth jets throughout their projected lifetimes, according to internal Defence Department briefings. “Canada is the only country that did not account [for] attrition aircraft” in its proposal, said an undated capability-and-sustainment briefing given to senior officers late last year. The eye-popping pricetag for individual joint strike fighters — ranging from $75 million to $150 million, depending upon the estimate — has limited the purchase to 65 aircraft. ….” Guess what? No indication The Canadian Press is going to share the “obtained” documents.
- F-35 Tug o’ War (2) Mark Collins compares and contrasts a former Navy officer’s assessment of the F-35 buy with that of a former Air Force pilot and aircraft fleet manager.
- F-35 Tug o’ War (3) “Staff from the federal auditor general’s office travelled to Texas in September to review progress on the F-35 stealth fighter program for a report that will be released next spring, Postmedia News has learned. The news comes as Australia prepares to ask Canada and other allies to perform a joint study of the program’s delays, and amid concerns from the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester over the speed with which the project is being pushed through safety checks. Officials within the auditor general’s office and Lockheed Martin, the company leading the multi-billion-dollar F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, confirmed the Canadian visit to Fort Worth, but would not say much else. “We do site visits during the normal course of our audits,” said Celine Bissonnette, a spokeswoman at the Office of the Auditor General. “We are planning a report in the spring of 2012, tentatively titled, ‘Replacing Canada’s Fighter Jets.’ However, we regret that we are not able to comment any further on audits in progress until our report has been tabled in the House of Commons.” Bissonnette said the audit’s terms of reference, which outline exactly what is being investigated, will be revealed about a month before the final report is made public. Lockheed Martin spokesperson Kim Testa said the Canadian officials were conducting an “assessment of program progress.” ….”
- F-35 Tug o’ War (4) MORE questions in the House of Commons.
- Editorial on subs for Canada: “…. Eventually Canada will have to decide whether it wants to purchase nuclear subs at $3 billion a copy, or stay with the diesel-electric variety, which have limited capability in the Arctic because of their need to surface to recharge batteries, although new technology has extended their ability to remain submerged for longer periods of time …. Canada should, however, remain committed to the platform, since submarines provide a variety of valuable services, including patrolling the coasts, intercepting smugglers, guarding our economic rights, contributing to scientific research and assisting our allies. With three coasts to defend and worldwide interests to monitor, the submarine is still relevant to Canada’s overall defence requirements.”
- What’s Canada Buying? Software to help develop better armour (or armour-piercing munitions) – more in bid document extract (4 page PDF) here and someone to teach security and survival to Kingston CF members to work outside the wire (try here – PDF – if link doesn’t work).
- “A former soldier battling a series of health problems says the Canadian Forces failed to inform him that medical tests showed he was carrying an unusually high level of uranium. Pascal Lacoste eventually filed a request under the Access to Information Act to see his own medical files, which revealed his hair samples contained “abnormally elevated” amounts of the metal. The federal government has expressed doubt about cases like Lacoste’s and, in an interview, one independent medical expert questioned the reliability of using hair samples to test for uranium levels ….” Meanwhile, an editorial calls for having all vets tested for depleted uranium.
- “Master Corporal Paul Franklin has become well known across Canada for conquering many challenges, but none as difficult as his passion and purpose in life after losing both legs. Paul was nearing the end of a second tour of duty in Afghanistan when a suicide bomber attacked his convoy. His left leg was gone; the second had to be amputated. That was in January 2006 and three months later, Master Corporal Franklin walked with artificial legs for the first time. On Thursday, Nov. 3rd you can meet Paul Franklin, a Canadian hero, then ask why he supports the Canada-wide Heroes Hockey Challenge series …. Heroes Hockey Challenge™ is a series of national hockey charitable fundraising events to take place in six cities across Canada. The funds raised by Heroes Hockey Challenge will benefit all wounded Canadian soldiers and their families with particular emphasis on amputees. The six Heroes Hockey Challenge events during the winter of 2012 are designed to motivate Canadians to support our heroes ….”
- “Canada’s financial intelligence agency pinpointed more than 100 transactions that may have involved terrorism-tainted cash last year — part of a record number of disclosures to police and spy services. In its annual report released Wednesday, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre says it passed along information about 777 dubious dealings in 2010-11, the most in its history. Of these, 626 were related to suspected money laundering, while 103 concerned possible terrorist activity or other threats to Canadian security. Finally, 48 may have involved both financial support of terrorists and the laundering of illicit cash — a process that involves converting the proceeds of crime into another form, such as stocks or property, to disguise the money trail ….” More from the money trackers here (FINTRAC news release) and here (FINTRAC report link).
- Afghanistan “The women of the Canadian Forces played a much bigger combat role in Afghanistan than they did in earlier overseas missions, according to a research paper to be presented this week. The study found 310 Canadian women were deployed to Afghanistan in combat positions such as infantry in 2001-11, more than triple the number that had frontline fighting roles in the 1990s. “So they are making a significant contribution, for example, to the Afghan mission, more so I think than the public is aware,” said Krystel Carrier-Sabourin, a doctoral student at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont ….”
- Cuts at Veterans Affairs Canada (1) “An opposition manoeuvre that prompted a public exploration of the effects of cuts at the Veterans Affairs department could come to a quick end. The Commons committee investigating the issue went behind closed doors Tuesday after hearing from just one set of witnesses in its study of the reduction of $226-million over two years to the department’s $3.5-billion budget ….”
- Cuts at Veterans Affairs Canada (2) Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, Eve Adams: no benefit cuts are in the works. “The minister could not have been clearer in answering the question about whether or not veterans’ benefits would be cut. The expert witnesses we heard today at committee could not have been clearer on whether or not veterans’ benefits would be cut. So I will add my voice to answer the question for the member for Charlottetown and let me say it very simply and very clearly. There will be no cuts to veterans’ benefits.”
- Highway of Heroes coin to be unveiled soon by the Royal Canadian Mint. “Since the start of the Afghanistan war, thousands of Canadians have stood on bridges and lined streets to watch motorcades head west on the Highway of Heroes. The motorcades include hearses carrying the remains of Canada’s war dead. Family members ride in other vehicles. To commemorate those ultimate sacrifices and the groundswell of public tribute, the Royal Canadian Mint has struck a commemorative coin. The mint will unveil the Highways of Heroes silver commemorative coin at a ceremony Monday at Quinte West City Hall in Trenton. The coin was the brainchild of QMI Agency visual journalist Pete Fisher. He’s also the author of the recently released book Highway of Heroes, True Patriot Love ….”
- “A Canadian war amputee and Canucks legend Richard Brodeur will come together …. to announce the Heroes Hockey Challenge, a national charity benefiting wounded soldiers and their families. “Remember that these families weren’t drafted into this. These individuals chose to go into it, but it’s much more difficult for their families,” said Master Cpl. Paul Franklin, a double amputee. In January 2006, a convoy Franklin was riding in was hit by a suicide bomber in Kandahar, Afghanistan, severing his left leg. He later underwent 26 surgeries before his right leg was also amputated …. The charity will see galas and charity hockey games in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto and Halifax in the early new year. The events will feature auctions, celebrity guests, NHL stars and live entertainment. The games, taking place in each city’s official NHL arena, will pit former NHL greats against Canadian soldiers ….” More on the Heroes Hockey Challenge here (Facebook) and here.
- F-35 Tug o’ War (1) Associate Minister of National Defence drops by Winnipeg to tell everyone the benefits of the F-35 deal – more here.
- F-35 Tug o’ War (2) Defence Minister takes softball question in the House of Commons on the Joint Strike Fighter. “Ms. Joyce Bateman (Winnipeg South Centre, CPC): Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government has made unprecedented investments in Canada’s armed forces. Our commitment to rebuilding their capacity, after a decade or darkness, is ensuring that our brave men and women have the tools they need. The work to supply this equipment is also providing an incredible boost to the Canadian economy. Could the Minister of National Defence please inform the House of recent developments on the economic benefits of the F-35 program? Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of National Defence, CPC): Mr. Speaker, my friend from Winnipeg is right. Our government has committed to provide the air force with the F-35 and has enabled Canadian companies to compete for large-scale contracts to help build the aircraft for the global supply chain. Today, Bristol Aerospace in Winnipeg celebrated the opening of its new advanced composites manufacturing centre, which will house the production lines for parts as well as the assembly of the horizontal tail structure for the F-35. This work at Bristol, we are told, will create 100 new jobs. Our government is proud to stand with Canadians and for the Canadian economy and the Canadian Forces. We wish the opposition would stop fearmongering and support— “
- Big Honkin’ Ships Globe & Mail column: “…. the shipbuilding contract broke with a long Canadian tradition, produced a rational, fact-based decision, bullet-proofed the government from any charge of political interference, and gives Canada a chance to build a more streamlined and efficient industry. Hats off to the Harper government.”
- If the socialists aren’t happy with the big honkin’ ships and the F-35’s, they MUST be good! “…. The expenditures fit with Canada’s increasingly aggressive military posture in the world. From its combat roles in Afghanistan and Libya to its police/military occupation role in Haiti, Canada is joining the front ranks of imperialist countries that are increasingly turning to military force to advance their economic interests and maintain the unequal and unfair international status quo ….”
- Mark Collins on “The CF and Canadian Western Hemisphere Neo-Imperialism”
- “…. Numbers still matter, of course, but the static budgetary and counting exercises of the Cold War count for much less when what matters most is whether you are prepared to fight for something other than your own immediate defence. In retrospect, it seems clear that many Europeans’ commitment to collective defence during the standoff with the Soviets wasn’t much more than a commitment to their own defence. In a post-Cold War era, when the burdens of NATO membership entail sending one’s troops to actually fight in faraway places, most European governments are decidedly less interested. So who’s a “free rider” now? And how long, in an era of prolonged economic austerity, will Canada and the few other allies who actually contribute to the fighting be prepared to accept these costs when so many others are not?“
- What’s Canada Buying? Wanted: someone to “supply …. labour, material, supervision and equipment necessary to construct a new urban assault course including concrete, carpentry, roofing and foundations in Petawawa, Ontario …. The estimated cost for this opportunity is in the order of $401,600.00 ….”
- “It will take up to 150 days to answer an access-to-information request for the costs of adding the word “royal” to the air and maritime divisions of the Canadian Forces, says the Defence Department. In a request dated Sept. 27, The Canadian Press asked for documentation of the costs to restore the words “Royal Canadian” to the air force and navy. However, the Canadian Forces says it needs more time because it has to consult with the Privy Council Office about possible cabinet confidentiality issues. The department has extended the 30-day deadline for a response to March 26. Defence Minister Peter MacKay repeatedly declined to give a cost estimate during the Aug. 16 news conference announcing the change, saying the value of restoring the traditional names was “priceless.” ….” We’ll see how long we’ll have to wait for the media outlet to release the material to the public once it reaches the media’s hands….
- “Lieutenant General Walter Semianiw, the Commander of Canada Command, will visit Finland from 25-26 October 2011. Canada Command is the organisation responsible for the national defence of Canada. General Semianiw’s host in Finland will be Rear Admiral Juha Rannikko, Chief of Defence Command Finland ….”
- The Canadian Forces apparently beat out CBC in Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa. “The Conservative government’s overhaul of the 2011 Canada Day celebrations, which included scrapping plans to honour the CBC’s 75th anniversary, drew ire from the opposition Tuesday. As reported by iPolitics Tuesday morning, Conservative officials drastically changed what the Canadian Heritage department had in mind for the Canada Day show on Parliament Hill. A suggestion to celebrate the CBC was rebuffed, and a renewed emphasis was placed on the Canadian Armed Forces ….” This, from Heritage Minister James Moore during Question Period yesterday: “I think my colleague is talking about my speech on Canada Day last year, which I wrote myself. Instead of celebrating the CBC, which the member is free to do as he wants, what I chose to say instead in my speech was, “On this Canada Day…to those men and women of the Canadian Forces serving in Afghanistan, in Libya, and other difficult places in the world: to put it simply, you are the bravest and the best, we are proud of your service, and we are honoured by the work that you do for Canada”. That is what I said instead of praising the CBC. I had two minutes, and I stand by my decision.”
- “The iconic poem In Flanders Fields immortalized the poppy as a symbol of remembrance for Canadian soldiers since the First World War. But it’s also a registered trademark, owned and so closely guarded by the Royal Canadian Legion that a motorcycle club of veterans isn’t allowed to include a small one in its own logo without lawyers threatening legal action. Capt. Michael Blow, president of the Canadian Veteran Freedom Riders (CVFR), who devoted 35 years of his life to the military, has one in his club’s crest. It’s a little difficult to see, but it’s there. And the Legion doesn’t like that one bit ….” Discussion on this at Army.ca here.
- “George W. Bush’s visit to Surrey, B.C., on Thursday was met with a protest and an unsuccessful courtroom bid to have him detained for torture during his presidency. Roughly 200 demonstrators chanted for his detainment, many waving their shoes in the air, in reference to a 2008 incident at Baghdad press conference, when Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi hurled a sneaker at the former president …. As Bush arrived …. the Canadian Centre for International Justice filed a private prosecution in a Surrey provincial court to have him arrested. Made on behalf of four plaintiffs the unsuccessful attempt joined calls by Amnesty International, as well as a 4,000-page legal submission to Canada’s Attorney General …. He and other members of his administration insist their measures were both legal under international law, and necessary to prevent terrorism after September 11, 2001. In one exchange with demonstrators yesterday, one RCMP officer guarding the Surrey Regional Economic Forum — where Bush was to speak alongside another former U.S. president, Bill Clinton — said the former president could not be arrested because he is an “internationally protected person.” ….”
- Alexander Johnston, 1885-1918, R.I.P “Private Alexander Johnston, a Canadian casualty of the First World War whose remains were identified last spring, was buried today with full military honours at Cantimpré Canadian Cemetery, in Sailly-lez-Cambrai, France. In attendance were members of Private Johnston’s family, a Canadian Forces contingent, Mr. Marc Lortie, Canadian Ambassador to France as well as other French dignitaries ….” More here, here and here.
- Canada’s newest upgraded tanks arrive in Afghanistan to help in (what’s left of) the fight (via Army.ca).
- Another way Canada’s helping in Afghanistan: building secure quarters to protect Afghan public servants. “Two weeks ago, Kandahar deputy governor Abdul Latif Ashna inspected a Canadian project to provide secure homes for 15 Afghan government officials and their families. Exactly one week later the Afghan lead on the Committee to Secure Civil Servants was dead when the car he was riding in was blown up by a suspected suicide bomber on a motorcycle. “Ashna’s death was very poignant,” said Philip Lupul, a Canadian diplomat who worked closely with Mr. Ashna on the housing project, which is to be completed by the end of next month. “He had pointed out some changes that he thought should be made to the houses and we had accepted them. “One of the tragedies of this is that he would certainly have been a candidate for one of these homes. We lost a good friend who was part of this project.” …. “
- “Canada spent more than $41 million on hired guns in Afghanistan over four years, much of it going to security companies slammed by the U.S. Senate for having warlords on the payroll. Both the Defence and Foreign Affairs departments have employed 11 security contractors in Kabul and Kandahar since 2006, but have kept quiet about the details. Now documents tabled in Parliament at the request of the New Democrats provide the first comprehensive picture of the use of private contractors, which have been accused of adding to the chaos in Afghanistan. The records show Foreign Affairs paid nearly $8 million to ArmorGroup Securities Ltd., recently cited in a U.S. Senate investigation (link to news release – 105 page, 23 MB PDF report downloadable here) as relying on Afghan warlords who in 2007 were engaged in “murder, kidnapping, bribery and anti-Coalition activities.” The company, which has since been taken over by G4S Risk Management, provided security around the Canadian embassy in Kabul and guarded diplomats. Tundra SCA stands on guard for the Defence Department outside Canadian military forward operating bases and has collected more than $5.3 million ….” A bit more on one of the bad boys turned good boys here.
- “A school that’s a hallmark of Canada’s struggle against Afghan insurgents is on the brink of getting rid of some teachers and classes as Ottawa ponders whether to toss a lifeline. The Afghan-Canadian Community Centre, where thousands of girls and women have braved Taliban threats to get an education, needs more than $500,000 by month’s end to avoid severe cutbacks, said Ryan Aldred, who heads a charity that supports the school. Thousands of women, girls and men have learned skills such as how to use computers, start a business or speak English at the centre …. The Canadian International Development Agency has contributed $313,773 to keep the school open, but when Aldred applied for more money in late 2009, CIDA eventually turned him down. “Although approved in principle, the grant was declined in May 2010 due to a ‘lack of resources to support new initiatives’ and ‘the priority currently placed on initiatives that directly support the attainment of (CIDA’s) benchmarks,’ ” Aldred said ….”
- Meanwhile, a wounded warrior says in the reality that is Afghanistan, sometimes a good warlord can help keep a grip on things. “The Canadian Forces have always been pragmatic in who it uses to help the CF in places like Kandahar. White western forces are at a disadvantage in a place where it is incredibly difficult to know who is on first. That’s why warlords and those on the ground are the way to ensure peace. Their troubled past will not make these people go away and in fact Col Toorjan is well known as the protector of the Provincial Reconstruction Team ….”
- Taliban Propaganda Watch: Claims of civilian casualties in Kandahar.
- F-35 Watch “With all the buzz around Ottawa about a potential spring election, there remains a drought of hot-button political issues over which the coming campaign will be contested. One exception to this, of course, is the Conservative government’s controversial commitment to purchase the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Although no contract has been signed, the Harper Tories remain adamant that they will proceed with the purchase of 65 of the sophisticated aircraft, which, at an initial procurement cost of $9 billion and an estimated $7 billion in future maintenance expenses, makes this the largest military project expenditure in Canada’s history ….”
- What’s Canada Buying? Translation cards (~$47,000 worth) that soldiers can point at when they don’t know the language of the locals (via Army.ca).
- “Canada’s lead weapons treaty negotiator has been removed from his post after American negotiators complained he was “too tough and aggressive” on behalf of Canada in disarmament talks. The Ottawa Citizen has learned that veteran Foreign Affairs arms treaty expert Earl Turcotte has also run afoul of his bosses after apparently objecting to key elements in long-awaited legislation that will see Canada ratify the international Convention on Cluster Munitions. Turcotte, widely respected and often publicly praised at international negotiations for his negotiating skills, has emailed colleagues across the world telling them he will soon resign from Foreign Affairs to independently advocate for the cluster treaty he helped to craft in Dublin in May 2008 ….”
- Members of Canada’s civilian intelligence service are apparently being asked to be more discrete with the swag they can buy in their kit shop. “Canadian spies are being warned not to wear their loyalty on their sleeve — or their wrist or lapel. The hush-hush reminder to employees of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service advises keeping polo shirts, watches and pins emblazoned with the distinctive CSIS crest away from curious eyes. The items are sold in a secret shop tucked away on the lower level of CSIS headquarters in Ottawa, and made available to employees posted elsewhere through the agency’s online memorabilia catalogue. The souvenirs — which also include hoodies, key chains, mugs, pens and plaques — offer members of the intelligence service “a tangible sense of belonging to the organization,” says an internal CSIS article obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act. But in keeping with CSIS policy, it seems the stylish spy must be careful to keep the merchandise undercover. “Although the clothing does not display the Service’s acronym, it does feature the emblem,” says the October 2010 publication, parts of which remain classified …. “The policy essentially states that employees should exercise discretion in disclosing employment outside the work environment. Furthermore, employees working in (deleted from document) must be particularly vigilant in concealing their employer or any association with CSIS.” ….”
- Egypt Watch: My guess is that someone with a rank in his title will be boss in Egypt before end of week. “…. Since it would be the army that finally tells Mubarak to leave, the military would dominate the interim regime. They would not want to put yet another general out front, so they might decide that ElBaradei is the right candidate for interim leader, precisely because he has no independent power base ….”
- A little more information on the claims that Canadians are in Waziristan training for attacks back here in Canada. Even more here.
- Another Layton message on Afghanistan: it should be an election issue whenever the next election is.
- “Canada’s controversial national security-certificate system faces a new constitutional challenge from Mohamed Harkat — one month after a court declared the Ottawa man a danger to the country. Lawyers for Harkat, who is accused of links to terrorists, want the Federal Court of Appeal to determine whether the security certificate being used to deport him is consistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is one of several questions they’re asking Judge Simon Noel, who heard the original case, to approve for examination. Harkat, a former gas attendant and pizza delivery man, was arrested more than eight years ago under a security certificate on suspicion of being an al-Qaida sleeper agent. He denies any involvement in terrorism. Harkat, 42, says he’s merely a refugee who fled strife-torn Algeria and worked with an aid agency in Pakistan before coming to Canada. He argues he will be tortured if returned to his homeland. In his December ruling, Noel called Harkat a security threat who maintained ties to Osama bin Laden’s terror network, including Ahmed Said Khadr — the late father of Toronto’s Omar Khadr, who has spent years in a U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba ….”
- “The Canadian Navy is proud to welcome Commodore David Craig as the new Commander Naval Reserve. The change of command ceremony took place on Saturday, January 15, 2011, at the Pointe-à-Carcy naval complex in Québec City with outgoing commander, Commodore Jennifer Bennett, the first female to command a Navy Formation. “It was an exciting and interesting time to have been Commander Naval Reserve,” said Commodore Bennett. “I have felt tremendously privileged and honoured to have been the formation commander and am extremely proud of all of our accomplishments, including support to the Vancouver Olympics and the tremendous number of events to commemorate the Naval Centennial.” ….”
- It’s one thing when alternative news/information sites call people who run away from the American military to Canada to avoid serving “resisters”. Why do mainstream media outlets (like here and here) I find it interesting that many mainstream media outlets call them “resisters” as well, instead of “deserters” (or, if they haven’t been found guilty yet, “alleged deserters)? Any insights via comments below greatly appreciated.
- Another question to mainstream media: why is the accused in this story is identified as a retired member of the military? I note the occupations of the complainants haven’t been included – what’s good for the goose should be good for the gander if journalistic balance is to be achieved, right? Or am I being too sensitive and “reading” some sort of “hint” about the accused being a former serviceman? Any insights via comments below greatly appreciated.
- A wounded warrior shares his thoughts on the 5th anniversary of the IED blast that changed his life forever.
- Well put: “The real test of the proposed changes (at Veterans Affairs Canada) will be whether veterans themselves will feel they are finally getting fair treatment and adequate support for their service and sacrifice. Until that becomes clear, the storm will be far from over.”
- Taliban Propaganda Watch: NDS agent allegedly assassinated in killings claimed in Kandahar, Uruzgan.
- I’LL Say! “…. The West has poured blood and treasure into Afghanistan, and will be looking for signs of progress. Don’t expect to see much in the way of major improvements in 2011. The next 12 months will afford incremental progress as the West and some of Afghanistan’s neighbours attempt to work together to confront the country’s massive challenges. There is no quick fix. It will take until 2012 for the fruits of the surge and shift in strategy to manifest as significant, sustained change …. “
- Wounded warrior Paul Franklin suggests it may be time for Canada to consider doing something in Sudan.
- Photographer Louie Palu shares some of the job being done by medevac helicopter teams.
- It wouldn’t be New Year’s without media stories about levées – in Thunder Bay, and elsewhere.
…about his departure from the Canadian Forces at Army.ca – some highlights:
There are gaps in the care and charitable needs of amputees. These gaps fall into three main areas.
- Peer support (The FF works with the Amputee Coaliton of Canada and the Amputee Coaliton of America to make this happen)
That is the goal of the Franklin Foundation (www.franklinfoundation.ca) It was originally conceived in 2006 as the Northern Alberta Amputee Program and started from my experience while being a patient at the University of Alberta hospital and the Glenrose Rehab Hospital. While there I noticed that the care I was receiving was for a longer time line than the civilian patients around me. This and then the advanced prosthetic devices that I was allowed to own showed that there was a gap in what we got and in what civilians got. There should be pairity for all amputees across Canada, be they military, police firefighters, EMT, doctors, car accident victims, diabetics, or someone who suffers an amputation from an illness.
We need to change policy in one way or another. State that a 100% disabled per is not wanted by the CF…..plain and simple. If we don’t say that then we need to find ways to use the experiences that our wounded and injured can provide to the CF. Schools, training areas, advocates for the wounded, JPSU, Soldier On are all places that these types of mbrs can not only work but excel. This means we also need to promote and allow these people to go on courses and postings. (sorry standing on my soap box now) There are too many desk jobs and places that our 600 wounded and NBI can fit. I believe its our duty to give them these positions and allow them to prosper.
Remember that the media sometimes gets it wrong. The Sun article was three paragraphs long and they managed to squeeze in 3 mistakes. The CBC article and radio piece were good and helped explain my upcoming retirement and my future goals.
Again, thanks for all you’ve done, and what’s coming next.
Master Corporal Paul Franklin is reportedly leaving the Canadian Forces to work on helping other Canadian war wounded.
Best of luck on the next phase of your life – you’ve sacrificed a lot, you’ve done a lot, and will do even more moving forward.