News Highlights – November 4, 2014


Attacks on CF in Canada

Internal Security




Remembering ….

World War Two

War of 1812 News Highlights – 11 Nov 11 News Highlights – 9 Nov 11 News Highlights – 6 Nov 11

  • Libya Mission (1)  They’re home!  More here.
  • Libya Mission (2)  Some hairy times.  “It was early in the Libya mission when Italian authorities picked up the distress call. By the next morning, HMCS Charlottetown had gone from enforcing an arms embargo to providing humanitarian assistance. It was March and at the time the Canadian frigate was operating off the coast of Tripoli, part of a ring of NATO warships tasked with making sure weapons and ammunition didn’t get into the country and the hands of Moammar Gadhafi’s forces. But when the Italians relayed the distress call to NATO commanders, who in turn ordered the Canadian frigate to investigate, the Charlottetown’s crew leaped into action ….”
  • Afghanistan (1)  Byron Greff, R.I.P.  A town in central Alberta is paying tribute to a fallen soldier who died in a suicide attack in Afghanistan last week. Master Cpl. Byron Greff was among 17 people killed in Kabul last Saturday when a suicide bomber slammed a vehicle fill with explosives into a NATO bus. Friends and family in Greff’s hometown of Lacombe, Alta. plan to honour his life during a public memorial service on Saturday. The service will be held at 1 p.m. local time at Canadian University College and will occur shortly after Greff is laid to rest at a private family ceremony ….”
  • Afghanistan (2)  Debut of new film – “The Vandoos in Afghanistan” on the National Film Board’s web page this week (watch it for free this week).
  • Afghanistan (3)  What Remembrance Day means to one Canadian officer downrange (via Army News & Facebook)
  • Afghanistan (4)  Canadians among troops winning German shooting medals in northern Afghanistan base competition (via NATO Info-Machine)
  • Afghanistan (5)  Canadian ambassador with Eid al-Adha greetings.
  • F-35 Tug o’ War  He says, they say“The F-35 program is progressing well and on track,” associate minister of defence Julian Fantino told the House Thursday, while answering a question from the Opposition on the fighter jet program. However, other countries continue to make moves that suggest the program is not doing as well as he claims ….”
  • In spite of Don MacLean suggesting he take the honourary degree from RMC, Grapes continues to decline with thanks.  Further proof here that he’s damned if he does, and damned if he doesn’t.
  • Remembrance Day (1)  All I can say is:  scumbags!  “City and military officials are shocked after learning one of Calgary’s newest war memorials was vandalized only days before Remembrance Day. Bill Bruce, the city’s chief bylaw officer, said graffiti was sprayed across the riverside wall of Poppy Plaza on Thursday night. Phil MacAulay, president of the No. 1 Royal Canadian Legion, said he was disappointed to learn of the damage. “It’s bad,” MacAulay said. “It’s disrespectful. “You just don’t think something like that would happen any time of year, but especially now. “It’s so close to Remembrance Day, you’d think they’d know,” added MacAulay, who spent five years in the Canadian Navy. “Unfortunately, some lamebrains don’t think of the consequences or anything like that ….”  More here.
  • Remembrance Day (2)  For the last 19 years, students at Ottawa’s Catholic Notre Dame High School have benefitted from a remarkable community program. Every Remembrance Day, local military veterans would come to the school and set up exhibits that the school’s students would visit throughout the day. The students could interact with Canadian military veterans, and examine military antiques, including uniforms, items of personal gear and some disabled military weapons loaned from museums …. what would have been the 20th Remembrance Day Symposium (and was set to include veterans from our war in Afghanistan) has been cancelled. The reason given: The school doesn’t want “guns or tanks” on its property.  Ridiculous. Displaying harmless military memorabilia, in the respectful hands of the men and women who carried it in our country’s wars, is a wonderful way to make Canada’s proud military history come alive to a generation that will, we hope, never come closer than a deactivated rifle to the horrors of total war …. “
  • Veterans’ advocates said Saturday they achieved their goal despite modest turnouts at some demonstrations to protest proposed cuts to the budget of Veterans Affairs Canada. Dozens of protesters, most of them veterans, gathered on Parliament Hill on Saturday afternoon to call attention to what they call the government’s lack of compassion for those who have fought for their country. A rally in Halifax drew some 30 protesters and onlookers to city hall despite the frigid fall weather. A similar demonstration was held outside the department’s headquarters in Charlottetown on Friday. “People on the Hill have come up and said, ‘I never knew,’ and that’s the object,” organizer Mike Blais of the group Canadian Veterans Advocacy said from Ottawa. “The object is to draw attention to the situation and I think … we’ve certainly accomplished our goal today,” he said Saturday afternoon …. ”  More here and here.
  • The Royal Canadian Legion appears to be taking a stronger stance on veterans’ issues.  “The Royal Canadian Legion fired a shot across the federal government’s bow last month. Canada’s veterans, it said sternly, should be exempt from cuts under the government’s program review. “Getting our financial house in order should not be done on the backs of our wounded warriors and their families,” declared Pat Varga, the Legion’s dominion president. It was an unusually blunt public stance for an organization that has traditionally preferred to do its advocacy in private. But it also reflected a new determination by the Legion to speak up in the political arena in order to sharpen its image and help arrest decades of membership decline. “We do want to be able to inject into that debate. That should be our role,” says Brad White, the organization’s dominion secretary …. “
  • A former soldier who is staging a hunger strike to protest the way the federal government has handled his case is expected to meet today with Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney. Pascal Lacoste says he was poisoned while serving overseas and launched his hunger strike on Saturday outside Blaney’s riding office in this community near Quebec City. Lacoste blames his declining health, including chronic pain and a degenerative neurological disorder, on depleted-uranium poisoning he believes he contracted in Bosnia in the 1990s. The 38-year-old Quebec City resident vowed not to eat again until Blaney recognizes that he and other soldiers were contaminated with depleted uranium ….”
  • What’s anti-military, pro-disarmament group up to in the coming year?  “…. This year we will be concentrating our efforts on opposing the growing National Security Establishment: that web of politicians, lobby groups, old generals and corporations that are robbing the treasury of public dollars for themselves and their own special interests. In the coming days I’ll be letting you know how the pro-war lobby is funded by the military, and how their influence reaches deep into the best-known news organizations in Canada ….”  We wait with interest. News Highlights – 5 Nov 11 News Highlights – 3 Nov 11 News Highlights – 11 Nov 10

  • Do not forget to remember.
  • One mom remembers – this from QMI/Sun MediaIt’ll be with feelings of both pride and senseless loss that Calgarians Diane and Gaetan Dallaire will lay a wreath at a city Remembrance Day service on Thursday.  The couple’s world became a darker place Aug. 3, 2006 when their 22-year-old son, Pte. Kevin Dallaire was killed in Afghanistan along with Sgt. Vaughn Ingram and Cpl. Bryce Keller by a Taliban rocket-propelled grenade (RPG).  His mother, Diane, said she’s ready to emerge from the crowd at the ceremony at The Military Museums to pay tribute to her son.  “We’ve stayed quiet but this year I want to lay a wreath for my son,” said Dallaire.  “I get good days and bad days…this time of year, it’s worse.” ….”
  • Good question from the Toronto Star:  “What happens to a soldier who can’t be a soldier?”
  • Remembrance Day:  time to remember the fallen, or time to “save, save, save!”? Interesting discussion on the evolution of an Eddie Bauer “Remembrance Day” sales promotion (based on the success of Veterans’ Day sales in the U.S.).  This, from the company’s CEO on FaceBook on realizing the difference in how these days are observed:  “We appreciate the feedback we’ve been getting from our Canadian customers about Remembrance Day. We are sensitive to this matter and have adjusted our marketing and communication accordingly. We regret any offense that may have been taken to our sale.  By way of background, every year in the U.S. we join other American retailers in holding a Veterans Day Sale. This year we wanted to extend similar sale offers to our Canadian customers. However, please be assured we will no longer market this promotion as a Remembrance Day sale.”
  • The “Training Mission Post-2011 Door” is open just a crack.  Prime Minister Harper told CTV News from Korea:   “….Speaking from Seoul, South Korea, ahead of the G20 meeting, Harper told CTV News that he’s “looking at the 2011 to 2014 period” for the new mission.  If the government chooses to act on the proposal, Canadian forces would take up a training role in the war-torn country once its combat troops return home. “As you know we’ve been in Afghanistan for a very long time,” Harper said in a phone interview Wednesday evening.  “We do want to make sure that as we leave, what we leave behind is a situation that will ensure that the sacrifices that Canadians have made… are appropriately honoured,” he said.  “I think that will require some additional training,” he added. “It cannot involve any more combat.” ….’
  • We have an answer, now, to a good question from the Globe & Mail’s Bill Curry“Will PM break his Afghan silence on Remembrance Day?” He did indeed, but only with a “we’re thinking about it.”  Next phase, now that the flag’s been run up the flagpole:  let’s see what the opposition and the public have to say.
  • Who’s fault is it Canada is (allegedly) keeping troops in Afghanistan to train Afghan security forces?  According to the Canadian Peace Alliance’s co-chair, NOT the Prime Minister:  “…. According to (Canadian Peace Alliance cochair Derrick) O’Keefe, under Michael Ignatieff’s leadership, the federal Liberals have made it easy for the Harper government to make this decision.  “If you had to blame one person or party for this move right now,” he said, “you can actually fault Ignatieff and the Liberals more so because they have been publicly advocating for this war for some time.” O’Keefe argues that both the Conservative and Liberal parties are ideologically in favour of the war in Afghanistan, as well as being receptive to pressure from NATO and the U.S. government to extend the mission. Canadians should question the timing of the announcement, he said, charging that the Harper government is using Remembrance Day to “drum up patriotism for this war”. ” Calm down, buddy – let’s at least wait for a final decision being said out loud by someone on the record before rounding up the usual suspects.
  • When it comes to covering Afghanistan, National Post blogger Adrian MacNair says it’s all in what the reporter chooses to pick and share“When it comes to the 232-page document released by the Asia Foundation about their Afghan survey, the same problem poses itself. What some of the press decided was critical in the survey is that 43 per cent of Afghans strongly support Karzai’s negotiations with the Taliban.  And that’s all they decided to report. It’s almost as if the reporter had already decided the negotiations were the key point, and leafed through in search of some figures regardless of all other information released by the Asia Foundation.  Well, that’s one way to write the story. Here’s mine:  “Nearly half of all Afghans are confident their country is moving in the right direction — up seven per cent from last year — according to a nation-wide survey released on Tuesday.” ….” He’s also underwhelmed with a recent Toronto Star column on the idea of Canada staying to train Afghan security forces.
  • If there’s no death to be written about, how about writing how there hasn’t been any deaths for x days? This, from the Ottawa Citizen.
  • It’s one thing for consumers of services for veterans being worried about the privacy of their records.  Now, a Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) editorial (PDF) calls on Veterans Affairs to get a grip on protecting health records:  “…. Health professionals, both civilian and military, would do well to advocate for service men and women. Our military personnel protect our rights; it’s time we worked to protect theirs.”  More on there in the CMAJ’s news release here.
  • What’re the troops going to be eating out of their plasticized foil pouches down the road? Check out the menus here.
  • Taliban Propaganda Watch: Taliban claims responsibility for a swack of attacks through Kandahar City.

Remembrance Day, 2010

We remember,


we mourn with those missing the fallen,

and we thank them all for their sacrifice.

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Remembrance Day: Only one in five say they’ll attend?

Am I the only person who thinks this isn’t great news? From Ipsos Reid:

Two in ten (20%) Canadians – which could represent almost 4.8 million adults – say they will attend an official Remembrance Day service on November 11th this year. Projected attendance at ceremonies rises to 26% among those who have a family member who served in the past, and 35% among those who currently have a family member in the Canadian Forces.

Attendance is up from 2008 when 16% of Canadians – which could represent up to 4 million adults – say they attended an official Remembrance Day service on November 11th last year. This proportion rises to 22% among those who had a family member serve in a past war or conflict, and to 31% among those who have a family member currently serving in the Canadian Forces.