Let’s have a defence policy debate

About a week ago the Toronto Sun opined, in an editorial, that “These past four years have seen a significant number of headlines that involve our defence priorities and the Canadian Armed Forces, yet politicians shy away from drawing any further attention to the issues … [but] … That ought to change. We need to haveContinue reading “Let’s have a defence policy debate”

A full-course meal

Colin Robertson, a former Canadian diplomat (1977-2010) and, currently, Vice President and Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, says, in an opinion piece in the Globe and Mail, that “Tweets and soundbites,” both much loved by Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland, “are the fast food of communicating policy. Like news releases, they are frequent but mostlyContinue reading “A full-course meal”

Mali explained

There is a very useful policy paper on the Canadian Global Affairs Institute website titled: “Op PRESENCE – Mali: Continuity Over Change in Canada’s “Return to Peacekeeping” in Africa.” The Executive Summary says that: “Nearly 20 years since its last significant contribution to United Nations (UN) peacekeeping in Africa, Canada deployed an aviation task forceContinue reading “Mali explained”

Mali: “no prospect of success”

The opening of a CTV News story says that “The man who led Canada’s troops in Afghanistan said the Canadian peacekeeping mission in Mali has “no prospect of immediate success” … [and, he added] … “The political overtones and what’s going on in this country and this mission are ugly,” retired major-general David Fraser told CTV’sContinue reading “Mali: “no prospect of success””

Canada’s not “back,” after all

According to a report in the Hill Times, Canada is not only not really “back,” it is likely, according to several experts, that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will fail in his attempt to get Canada a worthless, second class seat on the hopelessly unless United Nations Security Council. Seasoned former diplomats explain that Canada isContinue reading “Canada’s not “back,” after all”

Failure after failure

There is a rather length article in L’actualité by Jocelyn Coulon, excerpted from his book “Un selfie avec Justin Trudeau” I think. It is headlined: “The day Trudeau disappointed the UN.“ A friend on Army.ca has provided a translation. The crux of M. Coulon’s thesis is that “Canada’s contribution to peacekeeping announced in Vancouver doesContinue reading “Failure after failure”

Mission to Mali: Lew MacKenzie gets it

Major General (retired) Lewis MacKenzie, of Sarajevo fame, has written a perceptive article in the Globe and Mail. It may not be enough to persuade e.g. James Bezan, the CPC‘s shadow defence minister to stop complaining that “Mali is a war zone,” and “there is no peace to keep,” which, while quite true, is alsoContinue reading “Mission to Mali: Lew MacKenzie gets it”

Mali and Helicopters again

So, it appears that Canada will follow the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium in providing the aviation support to the UN mission in Mali. Last year the German government described their contribution as “Hintergrund sind die Stationierungen von vier deutschen Kampfhubschraubern des Typs “Tiger” und von vier Transporthubschraubern vom Typ “NH90”. Mit ihnen werden ab MärzContinue reading “Mali and Helicopters again”


Many years decades ago, when I was a young major, I was posted to National Defence Headquarters (known to us as either Fort Fumble or Disneyland on the Rideau) to join the branch of the staff that was responsible for army operational equipment requirements. Our job, our boss, a gunner colonel, explained, was to figureContinue reading “Helicopters”

Canadian mission to Mali

Some details (and even more speculation) are starting to emerge about the forthcoming mission ~ an aviation task force ~ to Mali. The real, hard news, in a Globe and Mail report, is that: “Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said the military is already doing the necessary reconnaissance for the 12-month mission. It is preparing theContinue reading “Canadian mission to Mali”