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Bill Longstaff: Stephen Harper’s private army

It is known as the Canadian Special Forces Command, or CANSOFCOM. It commands a secret army, comprised of four units: the Joint Task Force-2 (JTF2), the Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR), the Canadian Joint Incident Response Unit—Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CJIRU-CBRN), and the 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron (427 SOAS) which provides support to the other

RedBedHead: Canadians Don’t Trust Canada

Sao Paolo, Brazil – 140 people have died in the last two weeks in battles between police and inner-city gangs. Be hard to be held in lower esteem.

This was an interesting poll in The Globe and Mail this morning. It seems that out of 26 countries in both hemispheres of the Americas, our very own Stephen Harper ranked as the national leader who was least trusted by the population. On top of

The Ranting Canadian: “The End of the War Years” by The Fallout from the…

“The End of the War Years” by The Fallout from the album Dismantlement (Insurgence Records, 2007) We hold our breath and we wait for some for some good news to hear. A scrap of faith in which to believe, but all we get are reasons to fear. Our son… . . . → Read More: The Ranting Canadian: “The End of the War Years” by The Fallout
from the…

Politics and its Discontents: After Cutting Through The Sanctimonious Rhetoric

…it is apparent that, like most governments, the Harper regime has been quite content to recruit, exploit and ultimately abandon those who, in good faith, joined the armed forces to support a ‘muscular adventurism’ that has both tarnished and dimi… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: After Cutting Through The Sanctimonious Rhetoric

Impolitical: Maybe veterans are tired of wearing hats

So the Harper government has finally launched their transition plan for military members moving to civilian life: “Veterans Can Now Apply for Jobs through Helmets to Hardhats Canada.” Yes, from helmet to hardhat, narrowing the field of opportunity for highly skilled military personnel.

This programme has been previously blogged about here and the principal critiques of it remain. Veterans should be encouraged to make wide use of their skills and educational assistance could have been considered as a key transitional measure in order to enable more choice to the individual beyond the construction trades. Surely that’s not all Canada

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Impolitical: On the lighter side

Operation Nanook is in full swing in the north and there are, of course, plenty of photos being shared by the PM’s spokesperson for we citizens to observe.

The PM and MacKay observe a Chinook. Aka MacKay’s fishing resort ride.

Special ops being observed by the commander-in-chief-wannabe and MacKay. Aka planting seed on how MacKay’s fishing buds can also be hoisted on to said Chinook next time.

Couldn’t resist.

How much does all this pageantry cost us, by the way?

Impolitical: Peter MacKay and the “Announceables”

No, it’s not a band name, it’s how MacKay is spending his summer. Defence Minister Peter MacKay has been racking up the air mile points with his series of announcements this summer. And there’s more to come, Defence Watch has learned. In June the word went out to DND and Canadian Forces organizations that MacKay’s staff was looking for “announceables” for the summer months.

The criteria were lax and almost any project – equipment or infrastructure – that he could announce, no matter what the dollar amount, would be accepted. Even announcements that had been made before would qualify. So

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CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE WORLD: Enbridge executive’s company awarded first crime Bill C-10 $38.5-million prison project

Executive and company have strong and lucrative ties with the Canadian military and Harper government.

Opponents of the Conservative government’s crime Bill C-10 were justified to argue that private companies would profiteer from the new jail system the legislation proposed for Canada. On Tuesday, the Canadian Press reported that a Toronto-based construction company, Bird Construction Inc., had been awarded the contract to build the $38.5-million North East Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Nova Scotia. The 200-bed facility is due to open in 2014.

Turns out there’s a connection between the company and Enbridge Inc.: a man named J.

. . . → Read More: CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE WORLD: Enbridge executive’s company awarded first crime Bill C-10 $38.5-million prison project

Impolitical: On the lighter side

This story isn’t funny: “Army struggles with shortage of Arctic parkas, tents…” But the photo accompanying it certainly is! Maybe Harp can lend his parka out to the army, he sure looks warm in that shot. Nice find by Canadian Press.

The Arctic is supposed to be a pet project of the Prime Minister’s yet we read about basic shortages like this. Is there anything more ridiculous that we could expect to hear than this?

The emperor has no clothes…oh wait.

Impolitical: Pentagon ups #F35 costs again

From one of the leading aviation publications in the U.S., Aviation Week, the latest on the F-35′s increasing costs sees Canada in its headline: “Canada Concerned As F-35 Cost Estimate Rises.” The article’s main point is to highlight still more increasing costs of the F-35 program as announced by the Pentagon: In what is becoming an annual event, the Pentagon has again revised the estimated cost of developing, buying and operating the Lockheed Martin F-35. In this latest pricing increase, the Defense Department estimates the program will total $124.2 billion (9%) more than the $1.385

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Impolitical: Impetus for the push on the #F35

Dave at Galloping Beaver is going to work, picking apart the Harper government’s tales over the years on the F-35 acquisition. Go there to read the entire post, which I take it is part of a coming insightful series. Here is an excerpt that speaks to the political backdrop motivating DND: The problem was the projected lifespan of the Harper government. Inside DND and the CF bets were that it wasn’t going to last. Further, they worried that Harper was a one-off event. Most of the middle-ranked CF felt that Harper had a lifespan of about 18 months and that

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Politics and its Discontents: The Latest On The F-35

While the militaristic Canadian Conservative regime, led by flyboy fan Steve and aggressively supported by his Defence Minister, the dishonourable member from Central Nova, continue to champion the acquisition of the F-35 as Canada’s next big toy, it is apparent to almost all who keep themselves informed that the plane is both inappropriate for our needs and experiencing huge cost overruns in its pre-production phase. Those are facts that no Harper-led denials and progaganda can change.

The latest information about the plane from a rational source suggests a surprisingly inexpensive alternative to what will become a financial albatross if

Politics and its Discontents: Guess Who Doesn’t Support Our Troops?

If you guessed Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party, you are correct. While dear leader and company pull out all of the rhetorical stops about supporting the troops when it serves their ideological purpose, they are decidedly niggard when it comes to helping them when they are no longer fodder in distant lands.

The most recent insult to those brave men and women (I don’t dispute their valour, only the cause that so many gave their lives for) comes from that national disgrace, Calgary West MP Rob Anders (yes the same Anders who embarrassed all of us when he voted against making

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Progressive Proselytizing: Canada’s Submarine Motivations

Vice-Admiral Paul Maddison, Canada’s top navy guy, has remarked that Canada will begin the process of vetting new submarine purchases in three or four years. This raises anew questions about the purpose of Canada maintaining a submarine fleet.

After passing through much of the nineties without submarine capabilities, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien purchased four aging diesel-electric submarine from the UK. The result was an embarrassing public relations fiasco for the Royal Canadian Navy. Billions of dollars in cost overruns, an on-board fire, a crash onto the Pacific floor, a shockingly low operations rate, and ultimately – fifteen years after originally

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Impolitical: Let’s not overlook Peter MacKay today

Must read post from Dave at Galloping Beaver: “Airshow” MacKay is now well over the line. On Peter MacKay’s abuse of his position by asking military personnel to provide him with political ammunition against a member of the opposition who questioned MacKay’s personal use of military assets. Dave, with military expertise, sets out what the military should have properly done in response to a MacKay request and what should happen now.

Favourite line from the internal military email train: “Great work by Sqn Ops staff on such short notice…just to give you a taste of life in Ottawa!!

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Impolitical: Helmets to hard hats vs. battlefields to the boardroom

I am just getting home from downtown where I had a quick meeting in an office building on University Avenue. In the elevator, there was one one of those mini-tv screens that gives you the latest headlines. This appeared on the screen: “Helmets to hard hats: Harper outlines job program for military veterans.” So, me being me, I naturally had a spontaneous reaction in the elevator to the effect of who is he to say what kind of jobs the military should enter on transitioning, who says they want to be construction workers, etc. Needless to say, I was

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Canadian Progressive World: Occupy Ottawa’s Little Remembrance Day Dilemma

The Occupy Ottawa Movement faces a little moral dilemma on Remembrance Day tomorrow: to protest or not to protest? Remembrance Day is a solemn day for Commonwealth countries. A day to remember members of the …Read More . . . → Read More: Canadian Progressive World: Occupy Ottawa’s Little Remembrance Day Dilemma

Progressive Proselytizing: The role of public relations in the military

Canada’s top military figure, Chief of Defense Staff Gen. Walt Natynczyk has gotten media attention recently since it was revealed that he spent over a million dollars on government aircraft to fly to such things as “Military Appreciation Nights” at NH… . . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: The role of public relations in the military

Impolitical: Harper’s remarks in Italy

Can be found here. Canadians supported the Libya mission and the ouster of Gaddafi is a great achievement. Further, no one quarrels with the words that Harper spoke as a thank you to the servicemen and women in Italy today. However, there were a few li… . . . → Read More: Impolitical: Harper’s remarks in Italy

Impolitical: Massive military cuts and hard sells

“Harper spins a new brand of patriotism.” The Liberals embraced the Charter, the flag, peacekeeping and multiculturalism. Now, the Harper Tories are pursuing symbols and areas ignored by the Grits – the Arctic, the military, national sports and espec… . . . → Read More: Impolitical: Massive military cuts and hard sells

Impolitical: A few thoughts on the royal thing

I see that it’s “Quebeckers, historians and anti-monarchists” who have been among the early opponents speaking out against the move to restore the Royal moniker to the Navy and Air Force. Well, they’re not alone. Count this citizen, member of none of t… . . . → Read More: Impolitical: A few thoughts on the royal thing

Impolitical: Sneaky

Updated (Sunday a.m.) below. File under things that might have been inflammatory during a federal election that are now being rolled out and are objectionable. The Canadian military is in talks to establish a permanent presence in up to seven foreign… . . . → Read More: Impolitical: Sneaky

Impolitical: We’re all in this together…except when it’s bad for business

Totally agree with Patrick Lagacé this morning. There are 500 Canadian troops at present in the Richelieu River valley. Peter MacKay toured the area yesterday. He and the federal government have been asked to have the troops stay to help the people cl… . . . → Read More: Impolitical: We’re all in this together…except when it’s bad for business

Five of Five: Canadian Veterans National Day of Protest – Calgary Alberta

(a lot of links below, hope they all work …)I attended the Canadian Veterans National Day of Protest this morning in Calgary. It was a good event on an unusually warm November day. I was disappointed that more Calgarians did not come out for this. Af… . . . → Read More: Five of Five: Canadian Veterans National Day of Protest – Calgary Alberta