Legal Issues

Anti-vaxxing vet fined

James Topp, a retired Army Warrant Officer and reservist, has been fined $4,000 and reprimanded by a court martial for his high-profile campaign against mandatory coronavirus vaccinations for military personnel. The sentence was handed down November 16, two days after he pled guilty to conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline for posting videos while in uniform. [node:read-more:link]

Russian military budget increased

A roughly 25% increase in the Russian budget for the next three years, approved by its lower parliamentary body, includes record outlays for defence spending in 2024. “We have managed to adopt a budget that will not only allocate the necessary funds for our country's defence but which will also provide all the required funds to guarantee the state's social obligations,” Alexander Zhukof, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma, said November 15. [node:read-more:link]

UNSC weighs in on Gaza

The UN Security Council adopted its first resolution November 16 since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, calling for “urgent and extended humanitarian pauses” in Gaza to address the escalating crisis for Palestinians. Israel immediately rejected the resolution which had 12-0 support on the UNSC with the U.S., Britain and Russia abstaining. [node:read-more:link]

RCAF major charged with weapons offence

Kendrick Barling, an RCAF major who recently wound up a five-year U.S. posting, faces a battery of criminal charges after the Canada Border Services Agency found prohibited weapons in his household effects. The CBSA's Ontario Firearms Smuggling Enforcement Team executed search warrants at residences in Kingston and Petawawa. [node:read-more:link]

Anti-vaxxer vet pleads guilty

B.C. resident James Topp, a retired Army warrant officer and reservist who publicly protested federal coronavirus vaccine requirements while in uniform pled guilty November 14 to charges of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline at the start of his court martial. The maximum penalty is dismissal with disgrace. [node:read-more:link]

Discrimination against junior ranks?

Does the Canadian military discriminate against its lower ranks for what’s considered inappropriate social media comment? Documents obtained through the Access to Information Act certainly support the perception that that senior members in the same situation are not sanctioned to the same degree. [node:read-more:link]

EU moves to control critical minerals

The European Union is on track to implement an agreement in 2024 which will govern supplies of 16 critical minerals in a bid to reduce dependence on other countries such as China. They agreed today that the EU should extract 10% of the minerals, recycle 15% and process 40% of the EU’s annual needs by 2030. [node:read-more:link]

Problems with healthcare transfer

The federal government’s transfer of healthcare insurance to Canada Life from Sunlife evidently presents challenges for some serving and retired members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Despite assurances of a seamless transition, thousands of military and civilian members of the Public Service Health Care Plan have been denied coverage since the July 1 transfer. Winnipeg-based Canada Life says it’s working to address the problems. [node:read-more:link]

Obscene Waste of Taxpayers’ Money

In 2019, Bill C-77 received Royal Assent to remove detention from the list of punishments that can be awarded in the Canadian military, but the practice continues due in part to JAG delay, forcing the Canadian Forces Detention Barracks and Service Prison to continue to be staffed – at a cost to the Canadian taxpayer of $2.2 million each year.  [node:read-more:link]

Allies plan to suspend treaty

NATO served notice today that its members will formally suspend participation December 7 in a 1990 treaty limiting conventional forces in Europe. The move follows Russia’s withdrawal, which NATO called “the latest in a series of actions that systematically undermines Euro-Atlantic Security.” [node:read-more:link]

Unprecedented AI accord

Canada and 27 other countries, including China and the U.S., have agreed to cooperate on measures to contain the potentially “catastrophic” risks posed by evolving artificial intelligence. Endorsed at an inaugural AI Safety Summit in England today, the vaguely-worded commitment is expected to be refined at a virtual meeting hosted by South Korea in six months in preparation for a live meeting in France a year from now. [node:read-more:link]

Saskatchewan protects poppies

Minutes after the government introduced draft legislation today, the Saskatchewan legislature unanimously approved Bill 139 to prevent employers from banning commemorative poppies in the workplace. “Veterans current and past have fought for our freedom and peace,” Labour Relations & Workplace Safety Minister Don McMorris said. The measure was in response to complaints by workers in the public and private sectors [node:read-more:link]

Military Police bungle?

The Military Police Complaints Commission confirmed October 30 that it plans to examine allegations that investigators mishandled the case of an Edmonton soldier found guilty earlier this year of trying to kill herself and her three children by setting her house on fire in 2015. [node:read-more:link]

WeChat and Kaspersky banned

Effectively immediately, the Chinese messaging application WeChat and the Russian Kaspersky suite of applications are prohibited on any government-issued mobile devices. Treasury Board President Anita Anand said today that the “risk-based” move is designed to keep "government information and networks secure.” [node:read-more:link]


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