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Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight

Posts Tagged ‘Walter Semianiw

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 26 Oct 11

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MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 24 Sept 11

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  • Libya Mission  Motion tabled in House of Commons for Monday vote on on three month mission extension – another motion condemns the bad guys and supports the troops hereMedia version here, here and here.
  • MCPL Nicole Stacey, R.I.P. “Soldiers and members of the Army reserve community across Alberta and Yellowknife are grieving the loss of a much loved member of 41 Canadian Brigade Group who died suddenly in the tragic aircraft accident which occurred in Yellowknife on September 22nd, 2011. Master Corporal Nicole Stacey served most recently with the Yellowknife Company (C Company Loyal Edmonton Regiment), a unit within 41 Canadian Brigade Group ….” – downloadable PDF of statement here, condolence thread at Army.ca here and media coverage (via Google News) here.
  • Afghanistan (1)  Recent Canadian firefight in Kabul comes up in Question Period“Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP):  Mr. Speaker, today, Canadians learned that our military trainers in Afghanistan were involved in active combat last week when a NATO compound in Kabul came under attack. The Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence repeatedly told Canadians that this would be a non-combat mission. Clearly, that is not the case. This training mission is a combat mission that continues to put Canadian troops at risk. Will the government now acknowledge that there is no non-combat military role in a war?  Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of National Defence, CPC):  Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, the combat mission in Afghanistan has now come to an end. We have transitioned to training. That training is taking place in and around Kabul. However, I do not think the member is naive enough to suggest that Canadian Forces are not going to protect themselves when in a volatile city like Kabul. They will return fire and protect themselves. That is what happened in this instance. The member and Canadians would expect no less ….”  Reminder to Mr. Dewar:  I guess you missed the PM’s warnings from April of this year here, here and here.
  • Afghanistan (2)  A senior member of the military says the Afghan army is well on the road to self-sufficiency thanks in part to Canada’s newly established training mission in Kabul.  But the upbeat assessment from Brig.-Gen. Craig King stands in contrast to a warning from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which said in a report earlier this week that allied nations have no plan in place to sustain Afghan troops and cops once they’re trained.  King, who sits on the military’s strategic joint staff, appeared before a House of Commons committee Thursday, where he faced a number of questions about how sustainable both the military and political situation is in Afghanistan.  “We have made some real, significant, systemic institutional progress to get them to the point where (Afghan security forces) will be self-sufficient,” said King, who served nine months at NATO’s southern Afghan headquarters in Kandahar.  But Matthew Kellway, an Ontario New Democrat MP, said the army being raised in Afghanistan far exceeds the country’s ability to support it.  “Afghanistan itself will not be able to take over funding the military and security forces that we’re attempting to build here,” he said. “So, is this financially sustainable?”  The U.S. study, released Tuesday, shows the U.S. paid 90 per cent of Afghanistan’s security bills between 2006 and 2010. According the stark review, Washington covered 62 per cent of the Karzai government’s overall $14-billion annual budget, other donors picked up 28 per cent of the tab ….”
  • Pile On the Defence Minister About The Planes/Choppers! (1)  This from Question Period yesterday“Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.):  Mr. Speaker, whether it is a tony royal gazebo, fake lakes, G20 spending or now fishing trips on search and rescue aircraft, the government’s ministers think taxpayers’ money is their personal reserve. No one is buying the defence minister’s excuse that his lift from a fishing camp was a preplanned training demo. Training demonstrations are day-long exercises. Could the minister confirm that his office overrode the local base, which initially denied his demand for vital rescue equipment to give him a lift to the airport?  Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of National Defence, CPC):  Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, I was on a trip to the beautiful province of Newfoundland and Labrador, a trip I paid for myself. As a result of pressing government business, I was called back from that vacation. I left the vacation early to come back to work. As the member might know, the government has reduced the use of government aircraft by over 80%. We take the use of government aircraft very seriously. It is used for government business. That is the line we will follow ….”  More from Question Period here, and the media here, here and here.
  • Pile On the Defence Minister About The Planes/Choppers! (2)  This from the National Citizens Coalition (the group the PM used to be president of):  “With new information surfacing about Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s misuse of public funds for personal transportation, the federal government has a lot to answer for. Minister MacKay’s recent use of a military search-and-rescue helicopter for transportation following a holiday carried a price-tag of nearly $32,000 for less than an hour of flying time. “Let’s be clear,” says Peter Coleman, President and CEO of the National Citizens Coalition, “we are not talking about taxi receipts here – this is exactly the kind of wasteful spending this government has promised to eliminate.” ….”
  • Pile On the Defence Minister About The Planes/Choppers! (3)  This editorial from the National Post“…. Minister MacKay has been a strong champion of Canada’s military, and is understandably popular among the troops. Canada’s military will need such a strong, passionate champion in the lean years ahead. Mr. MacKay owes it to himself, the troops and the Prime Minister to avoid any further acts that give others fair cause to question his judgment and commitment to living within his government’s limited means.”
  • Calgary Stampede board member backs CDS’s fly-in work appearances at the Stampede.
  • More media regurgitation of the same flight logs.  The majority of flights on the government-owned Challenger jets in the month of June were taken by defence officials who could have used commercial aircraft, according to documents obtained by CBC News ….”
  • This columnist asks a very different question on the CDS-Challenger non-fracas:  “…. Natynczyk says the Challengers are often being flown empty on training flights that are needed for to maintain the certification of the aircraft and pilots. That being the case, he argues he is only making use of flights that would have taken place anyway, but without a meaningful destination. After all, the added costs of actually using the jets, after deducting the fixed costs of ownership, is reported to be only about $2,600 an hour, a pittance compared to the $2.4 million an hour we spend on the armed forces that Natynczyk leads. Yet here’s my question. Why are we looking for make-work projects for such expensive aircraft? Three are equipped for medical flights. Why don’t we sell them if there isn’t enough cost-effective work? ….”  Along the same lines:  “…. Perhaps the key is not to expand the VIP list but the VIT (very important task) list.  Three of the fleet of six Challengers are occasionally used for medevacs. What other secondary roles might they be able to perform that could be of value to ordinary Canadians or Armed Forces members with important needs — subject, of course, to the planes’ availability?”
  • The Defence Department says HMCS Chicoutimi will be ready for action by 2013 but a former crew member who was on the sub the day it caught fire seven years ago believes it will never sail again. In an email Tuesday, a department official said Chicoutimi began a refit in July 2010 and work is expected to be finished by late next year. Vice-Admiral Paul Maddison, the head of Maritime Command, welcomed the news on Wednesday. “We are looking forward to getting Chicoutimi back to sea where she is needed,” he said in a separate email.  But a former submariner, who had to leave the navy because of health complications from the 2004 Chicoutimi fire, laughed at the idea the submarine would be ready for 2013. Chicoutimi has been cannibalized,” said the man, who did not want his name used because he still has friends in the navy …. “Chicoutimi will be nothing more than a harbour training sub,” the former crew member predicted.  Still, the sub’s former skipper, Cmdr. Luc Pelletier, is more optimistic about Chicoutimi’s future. “It will be a significant milestone for me personally and for many, I am certain, when Chicoutimi returns to the operational fleet,” Pelletier said. “A lot of effort, dedication and sacrifice was made by the initial Canadian crew during her U.K. reactivation and repatriation to Canada. So her return to the fleet means our plight was not in vain and Chicoutimi can now shape her future in the defence and security of Canada.” Pelletier’s response was emailed to The Chronicle Herald by a Defence Department spokeswoman ….”
  • Way Up North  “Just days after Gen. Walt Natynczyk, Canada’s chief of defence staff, left Moscow after meeting his counterpart last weekend, a Russian official announced that the country would be increasing its Arctic military presence, a move that could increase tensions in the resource-rich area. Anton Vasilev, a special ambassador for Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was quoted this week by the Interfax news agency as saying his country would be beefing up its presence in the Arctic, and that NATO was not welcome there ….”  In case this looks familiar, check bullet # 13 here from Tuesday’s MILNEWS.ca summary.
  • Commander of Canada Command, Lieutenant General Walter Semianiw speaks to Washington D.C. university think tank – highlights of his speech via Twitter here (PDF of Twitter feed of speech also downloadable here if link doesn’t work)..
  • Canada, UK issue “Joint Declaration” – here’s some of the security bits:  “…. We will continue to work with Afghan and international partners to help build a more viable country that is better governed, more stable and secure, and never again a safe haven for terrorists. Through the training of Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), regional diplomacy, and development assistance, we are working to help enable the transition of security in Afghanistan to the ANSF by the end of 2014. We will create greater interoperability between our defence forces and deepen cooperation on procurement and capabilities, to be enabled in part by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Defence Material Cooperation, existing MoUs and the “Partners in Defence” dialogue, which will draw on the lessons of current and recent national and NATO-led operations. We will strengthen our counter-terrorism collaboration, in particular in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel and South Asia, including our efforts to tackle terrorist finance activity in third countries ….”

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 17 Sept 11

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  • Libya Mission (1)  One of the things to look out for in the next session of Parliament “…. What they’re saying: Harper promises the military will stay in the region until peace is achieved. Opposition parties have indicated they would oppose an extension. What to expect: Another extension of Canada’s military presence in the region is likely – after a symbolic parliamentary debate. No big contributions of foreign aid; the billions in unfrozen assets are seen as more than enough.”
  • Libya Mission (2)  “Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that he will travel to New York City from September 20 to 21, 2011, to participate in a High-level Meeting on Libya, as well as the Every Woman Every Child event, and a business roundtable hosted at the New York Stock Exchange …. The High-level Meeting on Libya will bring together representatives from countries and international organizations determined to help Libya rebuild and transition to a democratic society. The Conference will also include senior members of Libya’s National Transitional Council ….”
  • Libya Mission (3)  What the Liberals want:  “While the future of Libya must be decided by the Libyans themselves, Canada must not miss an opportunity to play a proactive and constructive role in offering support to the Libyan people during this transitional period, Liberals say. “The U.N. backed military mission paved the way for the fall of the Qaddafi regime, which is an opportunity for Canada to help ensure human rights, democracy and the rule of law are upheld in Libya,” said Liberal Defence Critic John McKay. “Canada’s future role, including a further extension of the military mission, must be openly and transparently debated in Parliament with these goals in mind. Failure to do so will potentially negate all the hard work of the international community and the sacrifices of the Libyan people.” ….”
  • Anatomy of a Story (1)  CTV ask for and receives travel logs, so it does a story“Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Walt Natynczyk has spent more than $1 million since 2008 flying on government VIP aircraft as an expensive alternative to regular commercial flights — travelling to sporting events and fundraising dinners, as well as a trip to join his family on a cruise vacation in the Caribbean. Passenger logs obtained by CTV News under the Access to Information Act show that in January 2010, Natynczyk used a CC-144 Challenger to fly to St. Maarten Island in the Caribbean to begin a vacation. He attended a repatriation ceremony a day earlier in Trenton, Ont., and missed his flight for a cruise holiday with his family ….”  Shares this tidbit in Story #1:  “…. The Challenger cost $10,104 per flying hour to operate in 2009/2010, National Defence figures show. At 9.2 hours, the return trip between the St. Maarten Island and Canada cost $92,956.80. Natynczyk is in Europe this week for a NATO meeting and was unavailable to comment. His spokesman, Lt.-Col. Norbert Cyr, defended the cost, saying in a written statement that Natynczyk “was authorized to use a Challenger aircraft to join his family, who were already sailing aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean.” The trip, Cyr says, was “not deemed to be a personal trip as the vacation delay was service-related.” ….”
  • Anatomy of a Story (2)  Globe & Mail copies CTV.ca story (without any indication of having seen the logs themselves), including this tidbit of context:  “…. In January of 2010, for instance, a repatriation ceremony at CFB Trenton caused him to miss a flight to Saint Maarten Island, in the Antilles, for a cruise with his family. So, he took a government Challenger jet to the island, CTV reported, at a cost of $92,956.80 ….”
  • Anatomy of a Story (3)  CTV.ca (and others) get PM to comment, sharing the reason why the CDS had to fly to Saint Maarten, adding this bit:  “Prime Minister Stephen Harper says government staff are expected to reimburse Ottawa for the costs of any personal travel they undertake using Crown-owned aircraft, after a CTV report revealed that a senior military leader has incurred hefty travel costs in recent years ….”  More from Globe & Mail and CBC.ca.
  • Anatomy of a Story (4)  QMI/Sun Media shares another tidbit“Prime Minister Stephen Harper says officials will look into the use of government jets after Canada’s top military man was outed for high flying ….”  More on this angle from Postmedia News.
  • Anatomy of a Story (5)  The editorial to set a tone for at least one media outlet “We’re not advocating that he take the bus, or a geriatric Sea King, but the $1 million spent since 2008 by Canada’s top general on VIP government flights, including to hockey and football games — and $200,000 to come to the Calgary Stampede in 2010 — is too rich ….”
  • Way Up North  This, from boss of Canada Command, Lt.-Gen. Walter Semianiw:  “In an opinion piece, Peter McKenna questions why the Canadian Forces (CF) is operating in the North and its relationship with the Canadian Coast Guard …. As the commander responsible for CF operations throughout Canada, I can assure you that the Canadian military is focusing its attention on the North for all the right reasons – to exercise sovereignty and contribute to the safety, security and defence of Canadians. Further, despite McKenna’s assertions to the contrary, the CF supports having a strong Canadian Coast Guard, which possesses the expertise necessary to operate in Canada’s icy waterways. It is only through co-operation and unity of purpose in employing our respective capabilities that we can accomplish as much as we do in Canada’s North in service to Canadians who live there ….”
  • HMCS Protecteur headed to warmer climes. “A CFB Esquimalt naval supply ship will leave home Monday morning and head south of the border to work with the U.S. Navy. HMCS Protecteur will rendezvous with HMCS Algonquin and HMCS Ottawa to take part in an annual task group exercise, which will enhance the crew’s ability to operate as a bi-national team, said Lt.-Cmdr. Nathalie Garcia, navy public affairs officer. Protecteur, which will be gone for two months, will work alongside the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group, and Algonquin and Ottawa will join the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group for the training mission in southern Californian waters ….”
  • Cleaning up CFB Greenwood’s drinking water. “Atlantic Canada’s largest air force base is upgrading its infrastructure to address water problems, but a ban on drinking the water remains in some areas, says a base spokesman. A new deepwater supply well has been drilled near the residential housing units on the east side of 14 Wing Greenwood, Lt. Sylvain Rousseau said in a news release Friday. The well will provide potable drinking water for the residences and the support area of the base. A contract has been tendered to install the pumping equipment and connect the well to the existing water distribution system. It’s expected to be completed by December. A second well will be drilled for the operations area next year. In the meantime, personnel there will have to continue drinking bottled water until the project is finished in the summer of 2013, Rousseau said ….”
  • Defence Minister Peter MacKay wraps up visit to New Zealand“…. During his time in New Zealand, Minister MacKay met his New Zealand counterpart, Minister of Defence, Dr. Wayne Mapp, Secretary of Defence, Mr. John McKinnon, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, The Honourable Murray McCully. They discussed, among other topics, the state of current defence operations, defence reform and procurement …. This Asia-Pacific visit provided an opportunity to deepen Canada-Australia and Canada- New Zealand bilateral ties, to discuss military operations and defence transformation, and to exchange views on regional and international matters of operational and strategic importance ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying?  Wanted:  someone to “to collect and supply Aerial Imagery and the Light Detecting and Ranging (LiDAR) data for CFB/ASU Wainwright, Alberta”

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 18 Aug 11

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  • I know that you now know about the revived Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force by now.  Therefore, I’m done with multiple duplicate coverage – on to other news.
  • Libya Mission  Safe travels home!  “When HMCS Charlottetown first patrolled the waters off Misrata, Libya, in the spring, sailors could feel the blast waves coming from shells that pounded the city daily. Fires and black smoke above Libya’s third-largest city were constants. The warship helped clear a path for vessels carrying medical supplies, food and other humanitarian aid. But as the Charlottetown left its patrol area Tuesday, the start of the journey back to Halifax, the atmosphere was much different, said Cmdr. Craig Skjerpen. There could be days-long interruptions in the port shelling, and even then it was only sporadic, as the battlefield moved to the west. The shipments of food and medical supplies continued, but Skjerpen said building materials such as rebar and commercial goods had started to arrive ….”
  • Way Up North (1)  Members of the Canadian Forces say military capabilities are growing and becoming more complex in the North – a key component of reasserting claim to the region. Lt.-Gen. Walter Semianiw, who leads Operation NANOOK, will head to the Arctic next week with Prime Minister Stephen Harper for military exercises. Harper has made habit of visiting the North each summer to assert Canadian presence in the area. During August, navy, army and air force personnel will come together to complete annual military exercises including air, land and sea patrols, and the simulation of major air and maritime disasters. “The Canadian military is not looking at what the issues are today but what are the threats and hazards that Canadians could see, governments could see, not only today, but in the future, to see what capabilities we could need to address those threats and hazards,” Semianiw said ….”
  • Way Up North (2)  Interesting headline verb:  Minister of National Defence busy “overseeing” Operation Nanook
  • Way Up North (3)  Imagine you’re getting ready to dive into the Arctic Ocean and a piece of your equipment breaks. You can’t rush to a store, says Cpl. Larry Lyver, one of 23 divers involved in Operation Nanook’s Aug. 4 to 26 military exercises. Here, if you can’t buy it, you can’t have it, and you have to do without it, he says. That’s why he has a motto “one is none, two is one.” This explains why the diving team arrives with more than enough equipment to do any dives — during Op Nanook this includes navigating around icebergs and raising the sunken wing of a crashed aircraft to the surface ….”
  • Way Up North (4)  Meanwhile, south of the border ….  “The Navy has completed its latest assessment of the Arctic region, where melting ice is raising strategic questions as well as commercial opportunities. “In the past, the Arctic was largely inaccessible, but increased seasonal melting of the sea ice is opening the region and creating opportunities for oil and gas exploration, maritime shipping, commercial fishing and tourism,” Rear Adm. David Titley, director of the Navy’s task force for climate change, said in a statement Tuesday. “We are confronted by a new ocean for the first time in 500 years.” The assessment is part of a five-year plan, released in May 2009, to guide Navy policy, actions and investment regarding the Arctic ….”  A bit more in a U.S. Navy Info-Machine feature article (but no link to the environmental assessment yet) here.
  • Afghanistan (1)  A doc returns home.  “His nickname was Bob 42. To Maj. Sandeep Dhesi, though, the 10-year-old Afghan boy was so much more. “Not a day goes by when I don’t think about him,” says the native Calgarian, who just returned from a three-month tour of combat hospital duty in Afghanistan. “He never complained about the pain he was going through,” says Dhesi, the only oral and maxillofacial surgeon during his stint at Kandahar Airfield (KAF), of the innocent child whose face was severely injured by shrapnel from an improvised explosive device or IED. Only a day into his transition to life back in Calgary — which includes getting reacquainted with his lawyer wife Gurinder and their two young boys — the 34-year-old officer and I meet in a southwest coffee shop to talk about his profound experience of treating the critically wounded in Afghanistan, which included coalition and Afghan national army soldiers, civilians and even suspected Taliban insurgents ….”
  • Afghanistan (2)  How ammunition technicians are helping the pack-up-clean-up work at KAF (via the CF Info-Machine)  “While the rest of Supply Company of the Mission Transition Task Force (MTTF) works to ensure that continuing International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations receive all the assets they need, Ammunition Platoon is busy destroying unsafe ordnance, and preparing and packaging ammunition for return to Canada or transfer to Operation ATTENTION in Kabul. With hundreds of line items in stock, Ammo Platoon faces a major task. “One by one, we have to hand-inspect thousands of small arms rounds, and it’s a time consuming job,” explained Sergeant Dominic Boisvert. Members of the Ammo Platoon inspect each item for serviceability and safety, and on 3 August they left the base to conduct a large-scale disposal ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying? (1)  A new fact sheet on the Fixed Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) project is out.  Here’s the CF Info-Machine’s version of the history:  “…. The planning for this program has evolved. A Statement of Operational Requirements (SOR) was first developed in 2004 outlining the technical requirements for an aircraft to effectively carry out search and rescue missions in Canada’s harsh and vast environment. In fall 2009, industry feedback was solicited on the high level considerations for the Fixed Wing Search and Rescue SOR. This consultation demonstrated the commitment to an open dialogue with Canadian industry and helped assess its ability to support the procurement of a new fleet. Following the industry consultation, the National Research Council (NRC) was engaged to conduct an independent review of the SOR. In its review, NRC focused on the technical requirements as well as the assumptions and constraints underlying them. The Government received the NRC report in March 2010 and then proceeded to review the report’s findings and recommendations. Based on the NRC review, the SOR has been amended to allow for a wider range of Fixed Wing Search and Rescue solutions and to reflect a capability-based rationale.”
  • What’s Canada Buying? (2) Logistical support for up to a year (and up to $4.5 million) for Jamaican hurricane season chopper deployment and chemical and explosives detection kits.
  • F-35 Tug o’ War  Aussies getting cold feet?  “Australia will decide in 2012 whether to continue with a $16.8 billion purchase of 100 of Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters or seek an alternative amid continuing delivery delays and cost overruns, the government said on Wednesday. Repeated delays and ballooning costs in the F-35 programme were bumping against delivery and cost limits set by the government and military planners, Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith told parliament. “I will not allow and the government will not allow a gap in the capability of our air combat capability,” Smith said, pointing to 2013 as the last possible decision deadline given a looming air combat gap in the country’s military ….”
  • F-35 Tug o’ War  Not looking entirely great in U.S., either“…. Already facing the prospect of $350 billion in defense cuts over 10 years, the Pentagon could look to scale back some projects, such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the stealthy aircraft that has been plagued by cost overruns and delays ….”
  • Two alleged cases of sexual misconduct involving military members from CFB Esquimalt have prompted the commander of Canada’s Pacific fleet to warn personnel about their alcohol use. “There were two incidents in a relatively short period of time and (Commodore Peter Ellis) had a town hall meeting in which he reminded people of their responsibility with respect to drinking responsibly and looking out for your buddies, and basically the rules and regulations that surround this kind of incident,” said Lt.-Cmdr. Nathalie Garcia, public affairs officer for Maritime Forces Pacific ….”
  • Ali Dirie, the gunrunner of the so-called Toronto 18 terrorist cell, continues to pose “a high risk of violent reoffending,” the National Parole Board has concluded, ordering the 28-year-old to serve out his full sentence at the Special Handling Unit in Ste. Anne Des Plaines, north of Montreal. It is not clear, however, what will happen to the would-be jihadist when his sentence at the top-security prison is over in six weeks. A spokesperson for the National Parole Board said that once Dirie is released Oct. 1, he will be out of their hands. “The parole board has the mandate to impose special conditions, if they do provide parole, within the framework of protecting society within an acceptable level of risk to the public,” said Leyla Mavaddat, a regional communications officer for the NPB. “Once the sentence is completed, they will have no authority.” ….”
  • If you’re a veteran or a serving CF member, you can get into some Parks Canada facilities for free this weekend“…. As part of Parks Canada’s 100th anniversary, the Government of Canada is offering Canada’s military, Veterans and their families free admission to Parks Canada sites from August 19 to 21, 2011. Dubbed the “Fab Forts Weekend,” access includes national historic sites, national parks and national marine conservation areas administered by Parks Canada …. Earlier this month, Parks Canada announced that 38 of Canada’s historic fortifications will celebrate Parks Canada’s centennial with a “Fab Forts Weekend.” Special activities include concerts, picnics, archaeology-related activities, markets, tours and much more. The highlight of the weekend will be a 100-gun salute that will ripple across the country from coast to coast on Sunday afternoon.  A complete list of participating sites and events across the country is available at www.parkscanada.gc.ca/fabforts ….”  Here’s another link to the list of sites & events – no word on what I.D. veterans would have to present to get the freebie.

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 3 Jun 11

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  • Libya Mission:  HMCS Charlottetown fired at, Libyan forces miss.  “Forces loyal to Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi fired a dozen rockets at a Canadian warship earlier this week in what the government is dismissing as a desperate act by a weakened regime. None of the rockets hit the HMCS Charlottetown, and there were no injuries or damage to the ship in the Monday morning incident, said Jay Paxton, a spokesman for Defence Minister Peter MacKay. “The ineffective attempt to strike a NATO ship simply highlights the pro-Gadhafi regime’s desperation to have some effect on the systematic reduction of its forces,” said Paxton. The Libyans fired BM-21 rockets, a Russian-made, mobile truck-mounted system. Though some versions have a maximum range of about 20 kilometres, it is not considered a precision weapon, especially at a long range ….”  More from Postmedia News here, QMI/Sun Media here and CBC.ca here.
  • Canadian “Presence” Overseas (1):  He says….. The Canadian military is in talks to establish a permanent presence in up to seven foreign countries, the Minister of Defence confirmed on Thurday, marking the first time since the end of the Cold War that Canada has aimed to expand its military reach around the globe. “As we look out into the future what we obviously try to do is anticipate where and when we will be needed,” Peter MacKay told reporters in Ottawa. The plan, dubbed the Operation Support Hubs Network, involves establishing a permanent presence in up to seven countries including Senegal, South Korea, Kenya, Singapore and Kuwait. In addition, Canadian officials have already signed agreements with Germany and Jamaica ….”  More from QMI/Sun Media here, Postmedia News here and discussion of the issue at Army.ca here.
  • Canadian “Presence” Overseas (2):  ….. she says (note the underlined qualifier words in red).  The Department of National Defence said Thursday that Canada is not working to set up overseas military bases. A media report Thursday said the Canadian Forces was negotiating with seven countries for military access to build bases to house soldiers and equipment overseas and respond quickly to international events …. “Since January 2010, Canada’s men and women in uniform have deployed on international operations in Afghanistan, Haiti, Africa, the Middle-East and . . . a NATO operation over the skies of Libya,” Jay Paxton said. “Prudent planning is necessary to ensure that future expeditionary operations are fully supported, however this government and the Canadian Forces have no intention of creating permanent large bases in overseas locations.” ….”
  • Afghanistan (1):  Eyes in the sky of all sizes.  “The unmanned aerial surveillance drones keeping watch over Afghanistan’s treacherous battlefields for the Canadian Forces are kept flying by a small Canadian firm based (in Ottawa). ING Engineering, which keeps the drones in tip-top shape, trains soldiers on how to use them and launches and recovers them for the Forces in Afghanistan, was showcasing the souped-up remote-controlled planes at the two-day military industry trade show CANSEC. To date, ING’s seven-member team in Afghanistan has flown more than 30,000 hours with the Canadian Forces with the gas-powered Scan Eagle, which can fly for nearly 20 hours straight and has a range of 100 km …. In 2009, the federal government awarded Insitu, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Boeing, a $30 million contract to provide unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for the Canadian Forces. ING was selected to run the CF’s UAV operations in Afghanistan. A separate smaller contract has also been awarded to a Florida-based company for smaller, hand-thrown drones …. Canada is also using the smaller Maverick drone, which runs on a lithium-polymer battery (similar to a laptop computer) and has a flying time of 30 minutes to one hour and a range of about 10 km. The Maverick only weighs 1 kg and can be rolled up into a tube no larger than a yoga mat. Like the Scan Eagle, it too provides real-time thermal imaging and high-definition video back to base, but is also capable of sending the video directly below to a laptop in battle ….”
  • Afghanistan (2):  One legal beagle’s story.
  • Taliban Propaganda Watch:  Taliban Info Machine claim Canadian “tank” destroyed near Boldak, all inside killed or wounded (no mainstream media confirmation).
  • Congratulations to the latest recipients of valour and service decorations – more from the Governor General’s web site here.
  • Court Martial Appeal Court decision (PDF):  military judges having no long-term tenure = lack of real independence.  A court has struck down portions of the National Defence Act that stipulate how military judges are appointed, arguing the lack of security in their tenure denies them the independence required by the Charter to conduct themselves impartially. The Harper government responded Wednesday by saying it would introduce legislation to rectify the problem. Military judges are appointed by the government for five year, renewable terms and their job includes trying all Criminal Code offences including murder committed abroad, treason, sedition and spying. They can be removed from the bench, however, after their half-decade term has ended. Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s office said the government will bring a bill forward to grant judges longer terms. “It’s the government’s intention to reintroduce military justice legislation which contains provisions to give military judges tenure until retirement,” MacKay spokesman Jay Paxton said. The Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada ruled unanimously on the matter, arguing in a judgment released June 2 that military judges must be “constitutionally independent of the chain of the command” and the government ….”  More from CBC.ca here, Postmedia News here and QMI/Sun Media here.
  • Forest fire evacuation of residents from northern Saskatchewan, with some CF help, completed.  “(Thursday), the Canadian Forces completed a 24-hour operation to evacuate the remaining residents of Wollaston Lake and Hatchet Lake in Northern Saskatchewan, after wildfires in the area were threatening their safety. This operation was undertaken at the request of the Government of Saskatchewan …. On June 1, Lieutenant-General Walter Semianiw, Commander of Canada Command, quickly deployed four CC-130 Hercules aircraft and four CH-146 Griffon helicopters in response to the threat to life emergency. These aircraft and their crews assisted in the evacuation of approximately 540 residents out of the danger zone. Helicopters took residents to Points North overnight where Hercules aircraft were standing by this morning to fly them to Saskatoon. Civil authorities have set up facilities to host them in Saskatoon ….”