Archive for the ‘Foreign affairs’ Category

“Everyone had a good chuckle at your questions”

- November 14th, 2013

The government pulled together a press conference Thursday morning to share with the media all the great work they’re doing, helping victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

International Development Minister Christian Paradis explained in his deeply broken English that Canada has shown “compassion” and “leadership” when it comes to its humanitarian aid to the ravished Pacific country.

“Our soldiers are helping these people,” he said.

Interestingly, reporters on the ground in the Philippines are being told by the military all questions about what they’re doing have to go through Ottawa. The reporters don’t understand why – isn’t it in the military’s interest to explain all the great work they’re doing?

Military personnel are not known for their opposition to authority, but these directives not to talk came down from on high – the government – and are leaving many wondering whether the government’s “compassion” and “leadership” in the Philippines don’t have more to do with optics than actually caring about helping Filipinos.

Asked at the press conference why military had been given this directive, a military official only said his personnel follow orders, they don’t dictate them. Paradis had left the building by then and couldn’t answer the question himself.

Political staffers involved in the press conference said only that they were amused by the question of why military would be directed by the government not to talk to reporters on the ground.

“Everyone had a good chuckle at your questions,” was the way one put it.

 

Canada’s terror list grows

- November 8th, 2013

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OTTAWA – Canada’s list of banned terrorist entities is growing, with the addition of two Islamist groups Friday.

The list now includes two more al-Qaida-linked groups: Jabhat Al-Nusra, also known as the Front for the Defense of the Syrian People, and the Signatories in Blood, which is active in West Africa.

Jabhat al-Nusra is one of the rebel groups taking over territory in northern Syria recently, creating new concerns for Western backers of the opposition to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

The Signatories in Blood is believed to be behind a hostage-taking at an Algerian gas plant last January that also included Canadian involvement, along with suicide bombings in Niger in March.

Public Safety Canada says in its regulatory filings for the expanded list that “everyone who knowingly participates in or contributes to any activity of a terrorist group … is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment.”

French connection for Royal Canadian Navy?

- November 1st, 2013

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OTTAWA – A French naval defence contractor is meeting potential Canadian business partners for the construction of up to 15 new combat ships — Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) — even before the feds choose a design.

The ships will eventually replace the Navy’s destroyers and frigates.

Officials with shipbuilder DCNS toured several Quebec companies this week as part of a networking opportunity organized by bureaucrats with the Economic Development Agency for the Regions of Quebec.

Patrick Boissier, president and CEO of DCNS, is trying to position the company to provide the design for the new ships to be built on the East Coast as part of the feds’ $36.6-billion shipbuilding strategy. Read more…

Harper to talk security, trade in Asia

- October 3rd, 2013

Prime Minister Harper leaves for Asia

OTTAWA – Helping Malaysia fight back against human smugglers in its waters will be top of mind for Prime Minister Stephen Harper when he lands in Kuala Lumpur Friday.

Harper left Thursday for Southeast Asia, a junket that will also take him to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bali, Indonesia.

One of the first items on the prime minister’s itinerary is meeting with coast guard officials from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Authority, following up on a summer goodwill visit with them by the crew of HMCS Regina.

Read more…

Canadian naval trio to train with U.S. Navy off California

- October 2nd, 2013

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Three Canadian ships will take part in warfare training with the U.S. navy off the coast of California next week.

The frigates HMCS Ottawa and Regina, along with 44-year-old supply ship HMCS Protecteur, left Esquimalt Harbour, B.C., on Wednesday.

“This not only showcases the Navy’s operational readiness, but our commitment to the Pacific region while strengthening defence relationships with our allies,” said Rear Admiral Bill Truelove, who commands Canada’s West Coast naval forces.

The training will include live fire exercises along with training to improve combat skills against submarines, ships and aircraft.

HMCS Protecteur’s participation follows an August collision with HMCS Algonquin in Esquimalt Harbour.

The Protecteur suffered what one public affairs official called a “scratch on her nose.”

HMCS Algonquin needed more extensive repairs.

The training comes as the U.S. pivots more forces to the Pacific Ocean, where China’s military forces have become increasingly assertive.