ltmurnau: (CX)


Went to the Canada Revenue Agency website to find out where to mail our tax returns (since the tax people did not only print insufficient forms, they also dropped out the pre-addressed envelopes... my tax dollars at work, on something else obviously) and was greeted by the above jigsaw puzzle.
ltmurnau: (CX)


We're sending 50 paratroopers to Poland to "conduct training in parachuting, airborne operations and infantry skills alongside Polish and American counterparts in this United States-led exercise with a view to enhancing Alliance interoperability and readiness," (according to a release from the PMO on Friday).

So, we got all three services in play now.
Ready for something something....

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/50-canadian-troops-to-join-nato-exercises-in-poland-1.2629849
ltmurnau: (CX)


HMCS Regina is being removed from "anti-terrorist" duty in the Arabian Gulf (where one Canadian ship at a time been steaming in small circles for some years looking for dhows, feluccas, and xebecs up to no good), and will redeploy to an "assurance" task force in the eastern Mediterranean.

What they will assure, and how they will do it, remains to be seen.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/hmcs-regina-to-join-nato-s-ukraine-reassurance-mission-1.2627537
ltmurnau: (CX)
Wow, actual bread and circus.
It's not surprising that the Legions feel cut out of things, since they haven't exactly been following the script lately...

Afghan mission Day of Honour planning catches legion off guard

Legions across the country have had only days to prepare for May 9 commemoration event
By Leslie MacKinnon, CBC News Posted: Apr 28, 2014 11:18 AM ET| Last Updated: Apr 28, 2014 4:53 PM ET

A May 9 National Day of Honour commemorating the Afghanistan conflict will include a parade in Ottawa and a breakfast for families of soldiers and others who died during the mission, the government announced today.

But the commemoration is also supposed to be celebrated across the country at legion halls and military bases, and the Royal Canadian Legion says it has had little time to prepare.

Scott Ferris, director of marketing and membership at the legion's national branch, said in an interview, "It's just that with 10 days to plan it doesn't give anyone time to do the great justice to this day that it really needs."

A total of 40,000 veterans will be honoured, as well as the 158 soldiers, one diplomat, one journalist and several civil servants who were killed in the conflict.

Rick Hansen, the B.C. Paralympian whose Man in Motion world tour in the mid-1980s raised money for spinal cord research, and whose foundation still raises money for the cause, will emcee the event.

The government says former prime ministers and former Govenors General to attend the ceremonies.

The day will also feature a relay called Soldier On — runners will carry the last flag from Afghanistan from Trenton, Ont., to Ottawa. The flag, inside a specially built baton, will be passed on through Napanee, Kingston, Perth, Kanata and Gatineau.

The concept of a special day on May 9 to mark the Afghanistan conflict was announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on March 18 when the last Canadian military contingent pulled out of Afghanistan.

That's when the legion started asking questions, but Ferris said it was impossible until last week to even find out when the two minutes of silence would occur in order to co-ordinate the timing in legions across the country. (It will be at 1:30 p.m. E.T.)

"This could have been a fantastic national event with thousands of legion branches getting involved across the country, hundreds of thousands of volunteers. The best we are left with now is scrambling to make something happen," he said.

The tribute breakfast for the families of the fallen will be sponsored by the organization True Patriot Love, which raises money to support soldiers, veterans and their families, and is receiving offers of financial support from the private sector.

Although the breakfast is described as private, corporate sponsors will be able to buy tickets at $1,000 per person, or $3,500 for a group of four.

Controversy over costs

There had been some controversy over the Day of Honour when some families received notices they would be expected to pay their own costs for travel to Ottawa.

However, the government announced it will pick up costs for the families' travel, meals and accommodations while in Ottawa, if True Patriot Love can't raise enough to cover the expenses.

Ferris doesn't have any problem with corporate sponsors paying for families' expenses and says he's glad the private sector is "stepping up." He worries that if government picks up the entire cost, a precedent would be set for several other commemoration events coming up, such as the 70th anniversary of D-Day in early June.

At a news conference Monday a spokesperson for the Prime Minister's Office couldn't give even a ballpark figure for the Day of Honour's budget.

"Remembrance is fundamentally a key issue of the legion's mission statement," Ferris pointed out. "But back in 2012 we knew it was going to cost approximately $30 million to commemorate the war of 1812. We have seen nothing from the government in regards to cost."

He pointed out Remembrance Day is considered a day of honour for all veterans, and no one special ceremony was held for veterans of Bosnia or Rwanda.

Ferris continued that the government has been closing veterans affairs offices, and cutting back on some veterans services.

He said the legion's mission is split between honouring veterans and serving them. "We have to do both. But there has to be a balance."

NDP thinks government should pay families' costs

Jack Harris, the NDP's defence critic, said it is "totally inappropriate" to leave families at the mercy of voluntary donations and charities. "Are we trying to save money?" he asked. "You're left with the impression that the government is doing this without spending any money or doing it on the cheap."

Laurie Greenslade, whose son David was one of six soldiers killed on Easter Sunday in Afghanistan in 2007, told CBC News she and her husband planned to pay their own way to Ottawa. Then her husband's employer offered to pay "for everything."

"They wholeheartedly offered to do it, and they wanted to, and we were glad they wanted to, so we said 'yes,'" she said.

Other events for the Day of Honour will include:

■Displays of a Leopard II tank, a rigid hull inflatable boat, a military medical display and other displays from military engineers, Canadian Special Forces and the Foreign Affairs Department.
■Events across the country, in municipalities, local military bases and legion halls, some organized by MPs.
■A two-part fly-by salute. One will include a maritime patrol aircraft, a Globemaster, a Hercules, an airbus, and Griffon and Chinook helicopter, all used in Afghanistan.
■A ceremony for the families of the fallen in the Senate chamber with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Governor General, Defence Minister Rob Nicholson and Chief of Defence Staff General Thomas Lawson.
■ A 21-gun salute, and a single gunshot followed by two minutes of silence.
The Afghanistan memorial consisting of 190 plaques within eight panels will be on display in the Hall of Honour on Parliament Hill.

The parade will include 300 Canadian Armed Forces personnel, 32 RCMP members, local police and 50 civilians who were part of the Afghanistan mission. Along the way, veterans of the Afghanistan war will join in .

***

'an that's that about that.
ltmurnau: (CX)
I just look at this and think, "whu...?"
Really, what next...

May 9 Afghan tribute cloaked in secrecy with two weeks left to go
No detailed information available on upcoming event
The Canadian Press Posted: Apr 23, 2014 7:06 AM ET| Last Updated: Apr 23, 2014 7:06 AM ET

A Royal Proclamation, a moment of silence in schools, and the heavy beating of helicopter rotors over Parliament Hill are slated for May 9, but the Harper's government attempt to turn commemoration of the Afghan mission into a national event is facing delays, confusion and the sting of politics.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently designated May 9 as the day to honour the sacrifices in the 12-year war against the Taliban.

Aside from cursory references on two government websites, there's little information about the event.

Read more... )
ltmurnau: (CX)
Mark Campbell, who was the best Platoon 2IC I ever had when I was in the Army and who later lost both his legs in Afghanistan, is one of the six plaintiffs in this lawsuit.

Veterans don't have social contract, Ottawa says in lawsuit response
Federal government responds to class-action lawsuit aimed at New Veterans Charter
By Kristen Everson, CBC News Posted: Mar 18, 2014 5:00 PM ET

The federal government is arguing it does not have a social contract with veterans in response to a class-action suit brought by veterans upset with the compensation arrangement offered to wounded soldiers under the New Veterans Charter.

The veterans' lawsuit claims the charter and the changes it brings to compensation for veterans violate the Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Read more... )

God damn this government, saving a few dollars on the backs of these maimed people.
Aki has never voiced an interest in serving in the military, but if he did I would counsel him not to, not when your own government comes right out and says, you get what you get, and if that's nothing, well then you get nothing.
ltmurnau: (CX)
So, pips and crowns and "Fusilier Bloggins" again.
(see below the cut if you don't know what I'm talking about)

Er-hr-h'rm... colour me unimpressed.

This is class-A pandering.
A symbolic act from a government that understands well, but really doesn't care, about the large power of small symbols that some people hold very dearly and never relinquished.
It's precisely to placate the grouchy 60+ year olds, exactly those who consider the last 46 years of the Canadian military to be an embarrassment and aberration, that this is being done - I thought the same thing when the RCN and RCAF got renamed, rebadged, what have you a year or two ago.
The Army just got to do this last.
Do you have to think very long about the dominant political power base of this constituency, or their voting behaviour?
Like the emigres who returned after Napoleon, they have forgotten nothing and learned nothing.

So, it's 1966 or less again - why stop there - red serge and tricorner hats, powdered wigs for Change of Command parades, or even further and return to Decuriones, Centuriones and phalerae worn on the cuirass?

I served too; wore pips on my mess kit and patrols, in fact - that part never went away.
And if I were serving today, I'd be putting up a grey square on my shoulder as well ("3rd Canadian Division" is more evocative than "Land Forces Western Area", but it doesn't give the Army any more actual divisions).
I understand military traditions, more deeply than Stephen Harper does (was he ever even in Wolf Cubs?) but I don't need to look like a photograph of my grandfather to be reminded that I am his grandson.
I recognize window-dressing when I see it, having taken part in many "dog-and-pony shows" in my time served, and this is one of those empty gestures.
The past is past, and while you may admire it or study it, frankly it's infantile and magical thinking to suppose that you can return to it (or rather, your coloured imagination of it) by adopting its trappings.

I'd sooner see the veterans of Canada's longest war taken care of properly, no matter what's on their slip-ons or whether they're addressed as "Rifleman" or not.
I understand it's not an either-or proposition, there's enough money to do both, but to see what's acted upon first betrays the priorities really in play.

Read more... )
ltmurnau: (Default)
http://youtu.be/VqqbSy_rD-4

I knew Major Mark Campbell in the 1980s when he was Sergeant Mark Campbell.
He was my platoon 2IC when I was a platoon commander in the Militia, and one of the most competent people I've ever known.
Unlike me, Mark went on to join the Regular Forces.
In 2005 he lost both legs below the knee in Panjwaii District (Afghanistan) when an IED went off next to his vehicle.
Now, he and many other disabled veterans are getting screwed over by Veterans Affairs Canada, for the sake of saving a few dollars and cutting a few positions in the organization.
I'm glad he is speaking out about it.
I am proud of my country and my service (though my sacrifices were usually limited to being cold, wet and tired, nothing at all like what he has given) but every day I have less and less reason to be proud of its government.
ltmurnau: (Default)
Nope, nothing surprising about thsi, nothing at all.

***
Canadian army short on mid-level leadership due to Afghan mission

By Lee Berthiaume, Postmedia News November 28, 2011

OTTAWA — Canada's new training mission in Afghanistan is putting the army's "long-term health" at risk because of the demands being placed on the force's small number of sergeants, captains and other mid-level leaders, a new defence department report indicates.

There are now 19,500 full-time soldiers in the Canadian army, 3,000 more than in 2004. The force shrank significantly through the 1990s and early 2000s because of deep budget cuts, but began expanding again with Canada's involvement in combat operations in Kandahar starting in 2005.

That growth, however, hasn't been without its own problems, says the departmental performance report, an annual, internally-produced publication that looks back at the department's work over the past year.

"While Regular Force expansion has resulted in the Army having the right number of personnel, they are not distributed through the necessary ranks," the report reads.

It goes on to note that the army is "heavy" in lower ranks like privates, corporals and lieutenants, but "light" when it comes to senior non-commissioned officers like sergeants as well as mid-level officers like captains and majors.

Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Walter Natynczyk recently highlighted the importance of trained NCOs and mid-level officers.

"I cannot go onto the street and hire a sergeant, hire a major, hire a colonel," he told the Commons' defence committee on Nov. 3. "If you want a sergeant with 10 years of experience, it takes 10 years."

According to the performance report, military officials had anticipated that the end of the combat mission in Kandahar this past July would free up much-needed sergeants, captains and majors for other tasks.

But the government has since committed Canada to helping train the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police to ensure those two institutions are ready to take responsibility for the country's security by 2014.

The performance report says the Canadian military personnel who will be responsible for this task "are the same ranks which are (in) short (supply) in the army and are required in the training establishments (in Canada) where they preserve the long-term health of the army."

Instead, "the army has been drawing heavily on the militia to fill these gaps."

The militia is the army's name for its 16,000-strong reserve force.

The role of the reserves has come under scrutiny in recent months after a senior general, Andrew Leslie, noted recently that the number serving in the Canadian Forces has grown in recent years by 23 per cent, or more than 6,600, because regular force personnel were needed in Afghanistan.

This growth outpaced the regular force, with many of the so-called "weekend warriors" taking up full-time positions in headquarters and administrative positions. Leslie recommended slashing the number of full-time reservists to 4,500 as part of an effort to find $1 billion in defence department savings.

The Conservatives blasted past Liberal governments for overcommitting Canada's military, but University of Calgary defence expert Rob Huebert said the Harper government is in danger of doing the same thing.

The sergeants, captains and majors are the "heart and soul" of the army, he said, and their heavy commitment to Afghanistan is worrying for the army's long-term viability.

"Because it's always full capacity in Afghanistan instead of coming back to Canada to do the training," he said, "ultimately you end up eating your own young, so to speak."

Huebert said the report also highlights the dangers that are on the horizon as the defence department works to find billions in savings over the next few years.

lberthiaume@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/leeberthiaume

© Copyright (c) Postmedia News

***
ltmurnau: (Default)
Another month, another Circuit Breaker and this one was a lot of fun! (not that they aren't all fun, it's nice to play music for people)

Started with a listening party for the new Collide CD, then I played:

Chris and Cosey - Take Control
Severed Heads - Propellor
Cabaret Voltaire - Do Right
Kraftwerk - Computer World
Skinny Puppy - Ice Breaker
Laibach - Du Bist Unser
A:Grumh - Ha People
Frontline Assembly - Iceolate
Die Krupps - Germania
Panzer Disco - Tanzmarsch
Nachtmahr - Madchen in Uniform (Faderhead remix)
Schramm - Asbest
Miss Construction - Kunstprodukt
Decoded Feedback - Prophecy

A bit shorter set than normal, but people liked it, especially the newer stuff at the end.

http://www.circuitbreakerclub.com/main.html

Spent much of the long weekend figuring out a new abstract game, tentatively called "Uprising". Well, it beats "Guerrilla Checkers".

Remembrance Day - a cold and intermittently rainy Friday. My first proper Remembrance Day parade was a full thirty years ago now, I had just joined the reserves but didn't even have a uniform yet. This day is the only day of the year that I actually feel I'm getting older; birthdays are just another day (albeit with good eats) but this day reminds me more of passing time. Akito went with me, good lad, and after the main ceremony we went to look quickly at the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion memorial a block away from the Legislature, a bronze statue and a plaque put up to remember the "premature anti-Fascists".

Famous Foax

Jul. 9th, 2010 10:04 am
ltmurnau: (Default)
GEN David Petraeus, the new commander in Afghanistan, talks with BGEN John Vance, the commander of Task Force Kandahar, outside Kandahar City.



My tenuous connection to this picture is that John Vance and I were in the same platoon in "phase training" at the Infantry School in 1985, learning to be rifle platoon commanders. I remember wowing him once (but only once) because I knew more about Soviet tactics than he did. I always thought he would go far, not only because his father was also a general but also because he was quite tough and smart in his own right.
ltmurnau: (Default)
.. though technically it was quail, not Quayle.

The only thing I have to say about this, the first incident where a serving Vice-President has shot another person since Alexander Hamilton, is that if Dick Cheney had actually served in the military, he would at least have gained proper weapons handling skills.

Read more... )

Here's a bigger list: The Chickenhawk Database
ltmurnau: (pantzooka)
Here's a blast from my past:

N.B. army base sprayed with toxic chemicals
Last Updated Mon, 13 Jun 2005 11:47:01 EDT
CBC News
A herbicide considered three times more toxic than the cancer-linked Agent Orange was sprayed on a New Brunswick army base in 1966, CBC News has learned.

Read more... )
I trained at the Infantry School at Gagetown in the summers of 1983, 1984 and 1985. The area where the defoliants had been most heavily sprayed was still dead - all silvery-gray with dead trees sticking up everywhere. We were warned not to drink the water there, it was stagnant anyway. We did a fair amount of slogging back and forth in the swamps there.

[EDIT: Now the civvies of Gagetown want compensation! http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2005/06/14/newagent-orange050614.html]

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