NEWS BRIEFS: CANADA
7 January 2023 (CBC)
The latest projected cost of having six Arctic offshore patrol ships for the Navy and two similar vessels built for the Canadian Coast Guard is upwards of $6.5 billion, according to the federal government and its procurement department. The cost of the naval ships has risen to $4.98 billion from an earlier estimate of $4.3 billion while the CCG estimate has risen by $100 million from $1.6 billion.
7 January 2023 (CBC)
More than a decade after the Army identified the need for a range of equipment upgrades needed to ensure its status as a modern combat force, most of the plans have atrophied with age, a victim of a political indecision and a glacially-slow procurement process. The new gear includes ground-based air defence, modern anti-tank systems and long-range artillery, all top priorities for many of Canada’s allies in Europe as they face down a resurgent Russia.
4 January 2023 (CBC)
Irving Shipbuilding and the federal government have finalized a $1.6-billion contract to build two additional Arctic and offshore patrol ships for the Canadian Coast Guard. “We're going to further grow our team . . . as we look to 2025 building these ships,” the company’s vice-president of communications, Mary Keith, said January 4.
4 January 2023 (CBC)
Since Canada announced its plan last June to spend $4.9 billion over six years to modernize North American defences, it has become clear that there are significant technical obstacles to overcome. Improved satellite coverage, over-the-horizon radar and deployment of undersea sensors and surveillance in the Arctic are among them and while Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie, head of Canadian Joint Operations Command, says Canada has “decent domain awareness right now”, it continues to work with the U.S. on key elements of the NORAD upgrade.
4 January 2023 (CNN)
Parts manufactured in more than a dozen countries, including Canada and the U.S., were found in an Iranian drone downed in Ukraine last fall, according to a Ukrainian intelligence assessment. While specific parts were not named in the assessment shared with U.S. officials, is further proof that despite sanctions, often complicated supply chains enable Iran to acquire commercially available technology.
4 January 2023 (Ottawa Citizen)
A U.S. military operation code-named Talon Anvil, accused of killing Iraqi and Syrian civilians in 2015, is reported to have had a Canadian Special Operations Command element. The Department of National Defence has confirmed that a CANSOFCOM member was embedded with the operational team while other Canadians were in supporting roles or briefed on the team’s activities.
3 January 2023 (CBC)
“This has been a year like no other in my career,” says General Wayne Eyre, the Chief of the Defence Staff, predicting that “history will view this year as a turning point in the global order.” In a year-end interview, he also says “we need to be concerned because our national prosperity is based on the stability in the existing order . . . and if we can't defer or deter and defend that, or if we can't work with our friends, partners and allies to create stability in that order, we're going to suffer.”
3 January 2023 (CTV)
Daniel Houde, a 19-year-old Ottawa resident, is to appear in court January 18 to face charges of perpetrating a terrorist hoax, uttering a threat to cause death or bodily harm to a person, and uttering a threat to burn, destroy and damage property. RCMP say he was arrested after posting threats on social media against the Department of National Defence as well as the U.S. and Chinese embassies in Ottawa.
29 December 2022 (Ottawa Citizen)
As the federal government faces strong union pushback on its plan to compel public servants to spend more time in their offices rather than working from home, a memorandum from Chief Human Resources Officer Christine Donoghue gives managers flexibility in how the policy is applied. “Workplaces vary from one organization to the other,” she says. “Managers should discuss with their labour relations teams and ensure that individual circumstances are considered.”
29 December 2022 (CP)
The commander of the Canadian Army, Lieutenant-General Joe Paul, says more demands at home and abroad are putting increased pressure on his resources. The situation has been exacerbated by continued shrinkage in the ranks. He says the loss of 1,200 soldiers in 2021 could be followed by 800 more once the final 2022 count is in.
28 December 2022 (Ottawa Citizen)
Treasury Board President Mona Fortier insists that the federal government’s return-to-office mandate, which begins taking effect January 16, is not to be decided in collective bargaining with public service unions. “It’s the right of the employer; it’s the management’s right,” she said December 27. At least two public service unions have called on the government to retract its directive.
26 December 2022 (Globe & Mail)
Results of a national December 19-22 poll indicate that no less than 88 per cent of Canadians are supportive of a foreign agent registry like those in place in the U.S. and elsewhere. “If you are afraid to report that you have been working for a foreign country or a foreign organization, perhaps that should be a red flag,” pollster Nick Nanos said in releasing the results. If the government delays setting up a registry “and we find out that there are issues or potential risks in Canada,” he warns, “there will be a political price to pay.”