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…

Canadian military wants Star Trek-type device

- October 24th, 2013

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OTTAWA – Amid the global threat of germ warfare, Canada’s military is taking its first steps toward creating a device sci-fi fans might recognize as a Star Trek tricorder.

Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) says it wants to develop a “hand-held biological sensor for real-time detection of bioaerosols.”

So DRDC is offering private companies up to $50,000 for a study to determine what kind of device could be developed for soldiers.

Read more…

Pirate Party leader resigns to focus on battling depression

- October 12th, 2013

Pirate Party of Canada’s  leader, Travis McCrea, announced Friday he was leaving politics – at least for now – to focus on his battle with depression.

The fringe political party is mostly known for its focus on so-called “digital rights” – improving Internet access, creating a system of free public WIFI, and lobbying against online legislation they view as “hamstringing” digital business and hampering people’s rights online.

A number of high-profile politicians – current Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, former MP Bob Rae, for example – have spoken publicly in recent years  about their personal struggles with mental health issues.

In a statement posted on Facebook, McCrea wrote:

“I would like to announce that effective immediately I am resigning my role as leader of the Pirate Party of Canada and will be passing that title to James Wilson until a replacement can be elected. I am also withdrawing from the Toronto Centre (byelection).

I frequently write about dealing with depression, and know that it’s common within our community. Frequently the teacher is far less able to listen to their own teachings, and this is the case here. Last month I asked for a month to deal with this, but I never did… I thought maybe some time away from work would make it feel better.

Depression isn’t something that just goes away it’s not a blue mood once in a while — it’s more like a weight that holds me down, it makes me not want to get out of bed and it impacts my every action. It’s practically the same thing as a broken leg and just wishing it better is almost as silly. I can’t tell other people to get help if I am not getting the proper help myself.”

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.