Thursday, May 19, 2016

CAF Expansion of OP IMPACT and RCAF Griffon's Head to Iraq

DND Press Release
May 19, 2016 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

As part of the Government of Canada’s expanded contribution to multinational efforts to degrade and defeat the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) recently added three CH-146 Griffon helicopters, an all-source intelligence centre, and additional trainers to Operation IMPACT.

The three CH-146 Griffon helicopters will enhance in-theatre tactical transport, including medical evacuations if required. The Griffons and their crews excel in the tactical transportation of troops and materiel. A variety of self-defence weapons are fitted to the aircraft for the deployment.
CH-146 Griffon helicopters
Members of the Canadian Armed Forces load CH-146 Griffon helicopters, which are deploying as part of Operation IMPACT, into a CC-177 Globemaster aircraft at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario, on May 4, 2016.
As a part of Joint Task Force-Iraq, the CAF officially opened an all-source intelligence centre, responsible for collecting, synthesizing, and analyzing information derived from a variety of sources. This intelligence is then used to inform operational planning, ultimately contributing to the protection of Coalition forces and the conduct of Coalition operations.

The additional tactical aviation, intelligence and training personnel are part of Canada’s enhanced mission that will eventually see around 830 CAF members deployed as part of Canada’s contribution to Coalition efforts to improve the security of Iraq and the region. These adjustments of personnel and capabilities are expected to be completed by late summer.

Under the enhanced mission, Canada is tripling the size of its train, advise, and assist mission to help Iraqi Security Forces plan and conduct military operations against ISIL.

“These new capabilities underscore Canada’s unwavering commitment to the Global Coalition and the fight against ISIL. Canada’s expanded mission is setting the conditions for Iraqi security forces and regional partners to achieve long-term success by enabling them to effectively plan and execute military operations aimed at defeating ISIL and improving security and stability in the region.” - Harjit S. Sajjan, Defence Minister

“The fight against ISIL depends on credible, integrated, and timely intelligence, which is essential in planning and executing military operations. The all-source intelligence centre will enhance our situational awareness along with that of the Coalition. Griffon helicopters will provide effective in-theatre tactical transport, and will enhance the capabilities of our trainers in Iraq. All of these Canadian assets will make significant contributions to Coalition operations.” - General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff

Canadian Rangers Receiving New Uniforms

By Peter Moon

Defence Watch Guest author

The Canadian Army is issuing several items of new clothing for Canadian Rangers across the Far North of Ontario.

“The clothing they are getting is in their traditional red colour,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Matthew Richardson, commanding officer of the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, which commands the 650 Rangers in 23 First Nation communities in northern Ontario. “People will know that they are clearly Rangers in their new uniforms because it’s all in Ranger red.”

The new uniforms are a red fleece, red raincoat, and a red winter outer jacket

The Rangers are part-time army reservists who wear a traditional red “hoodie” as part of their distinctive military uniform.

The first uniforms were delivered to the Peawanuck and Attawapiskat patrols during a visit to the two communities by Colonel Richardson. He said they will soon be delivered to other Rangers across the north. The new uniforms supplement the military kit already issued to all Rangers.

“They have the gear they wear out on the land and that gear is warmer than the new items of clothing,” Richardson said. “The purpose of the new uniforms is not so much for day to day events. It’s more something to wear at ceremonial and community events and for some training events. In addition to the new uniforms we’ve thrown in new hats, t-shirts, and hoodies for them.”

(Sergeant Peter Moon is the public affairs ranger for 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group at Canadian Forces Base Borden.)

Photo above: New Ranger uniforms arrive at Peawanuck airport.

Photo below: Ranger Denise Patrick and Master Corporal Pamela Chookomoolin show of their new uniforms to Winisk First Nation Chief Edmund Hunter in Peawanuck.

Photos by Peter Moon

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

6,000+ CAF Members to Participate in MAPLE RESOLVE-16

By: David Pugliese, Defence Watch 

Over 6000 Canadian Forces personnel will participate in Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE 2016, the Canadian Army’s largest training event of the year. Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE will take place in Wainwright, Alberta, from May 23 to June 6.

The exercise is hosted by the Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre and will provide Canadian Army soldiers, leaders, and other military personnel an opportunity to enhance their combat readiness, according to the army’s news release.

Equipment and Personnel before Ex. MAPLE RESOLVE-15 (Canadian Forces - Flickr)
The training will confirm the readiness of 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (1 CMBG); 1 CMBG to assume its responsibilities as the Canadian Army’s High Readiness brigade on July 1.

During the exercise Canadian soldiers serving with 1 CMBG based in Edmonton, Alberta and Shilo, Manitoba will train with elements of the Royal Canadian Air Force, the United States Army, U.S. National Guard, U.S. Army Reserves, U.S. Marine Corps, and the British Army. Allied participation will involve over 1200 soldiers from the U.S. military and approximately 150 soldiers from the British Army, according to the news release.

Honouring a Forgotten Canadian Naval Medal of Honor Recipient

Royal Canadian Navy Press Release

More than 130 years after his death, a long-forgotten naval hero has finally received a well-deserved tribute by Canadian and U.S. military leaders in a ceremony in the historic cemetery at Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C.

The bravery of Captain-of-the-Hold Joseph Benjamin Noil, an African-Canadian who served in the United States Navy (USN) and who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for saving a shipmate from drowning in 1872, was largely forgotten for more than 130 years. In 2011, members of the Medal of Honor Historical Society of the United States, working with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, discovered the grave upon which his name had been misspelled, and his Medal of Honor status omitted.

As a result of their research, Noil was honoured in the U.S. capital on April 29, 2016, by Rear-Admiral William Truelove, Commander of the Canadian Defence Liaison Staff (Washington)/Canadian Defence Attaché, as well as by representatives of the Canadian Embassy, the District of Columbia, members of the U.S. Coast Guard, Navy, Army, Marines, National Guard and veterans. A Medal of Honor headstone was unveiled to appropriately mark his final resting place. 

Sentries stand by as Joseph Noil’s Medal of Honor headstone is set to be unveiled
Sentries stand by as Joseph Noil’s Medal of Honor headstone is set to be unveiled during a ceremony at Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital cemetery in Washington.
Noil, born between 1839 and 1841 in what would become Liverpool, N.S., enlisted in the USN in New York in 1862. On the morning of December 26, 1872, he was a seaman in United States Ship (USS) Powhattan when, during a sleeting northwest gale, the ship’s boatswain fell overboard. According to the ship’s captain, Seaman Noil dove overboard to rescue his fellow shipmate, who “would have perished but for the noble conduct of Noil, as he was sinking at the time he was rescued.” For his bravery, Noil received the Medal of Honor, one of only 108 Canadians and the only black Canadian known to have received this honour.

“How fitting it is, that I, another proud son of Liverpool, have the privilege of eulogizing Captain-of-the-Hold Noil, ensuring that his act of bravery is rightly recognized,” said RAdm Truelove.

“I can say that the people of Liverpool are profoundly honoured to know that one of their own was bestowed with the Medal of Honor of which, to date, there have been only 3,514 recipients,” continued RAdm Truelove. “With thanks to the work of the Medal of Honor Historical Society of the United States, we begin a new chapter wherein future generations will be able to bear witness to Joseph Noil’s bravery and our common recognition of it. In Canada, we pride ourselves in remembering our fallen. Captain-of-the-Hold Joseph Benjamin Noil was indeed Canadian and we see him as our hero too.”

Following his heroic actions as a member of USS Powhattan, Noil continued to rise to the rank of Captain-of-the-Hold and served in the USN with distinction, including during the American Civil War. He was admitted to the Naval Hospital in Norfolk, Va., in 1881. The diagnosis was “paralysis.” His mind and body were failing him. The hospital noted that he had been in the service for 17 years and that the disease originated in the line of duty. He was soon transferred to the Government Hospital for the Insane (now Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital), where he died on March 21, 1882.

He was buried in the hospital graveyard, but his headstone did not include his status as a Medal of Honor recipient. Additionally, his death certificate misspelled his name as “Noel”, which is what was engraved on his headstone. Joseph Benjamin Noil, hero, was lost to history, until now.

When Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital opened in 1855, it was called the Government Hospital for the Insane of the Army, the Navy and the District of Columbia. Its 5,000-grave cemetery is the final resting place for more than 2,000 servicemen who served in conflicts ranging from the War of 1812 to World War One, and who suffered from what we now call post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

Canadian WW2 Remains Identified as Pvt. K. Duncanson

DND Press Release
Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

The Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have identified the remains of a Second World War soldier found in a farmer’s field near Molentje, Damme, Belgium, as those of Private Kenneth Donald Duncanson from Dutton, Ontario. Private Duncanson was a member of The Algonquin Regiment, which served in 10th Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Armoured Division in Northwest Europe.

DND and the CAF have notified members of Private Duncanson’s family, and Veterans Affairs Canada is providing the family with ongoing support as final arrangements are made. Private Duncanson’s remains will be interred at Adegem Canadian War Cemetery in Belgium in the fall of 2016 by his Regiment. Next-of-kin have been invited to attend.

Adegem Canadian War Cemetery, Belgium (Commonwealth War Graves Commission)
DND’s Casualty Identification Program exists to identify unknown soldiers when their remains are discovered so that they may be buried with a name by their Regiment and in the presence of their family. In meeting this aim, the program fosters a sense of continuity and identity within the CAF, as it provides an opportunity for all Canadians to reflect upon the experiences of those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

“We are grateful for the dedication of the Raakvlak Intercommunal Archaeological Service of Belgium, and the support of our international partners, which ultimately made it possible for our officers to identify Private Duncanson, and to provide a sense of closure to his family, his Regiment, and the country which he served. He will not be forgotten.” - Harjit S. Sajjan, Defence Minister

“Private Duncanson gave his life in service to Canada during the Second World War. Now, finally, he may be solemnly laid to rest with the honour and dignity he deserves.”- Kent Hehr, Veterans Affairs Minister and Associate Minister of National Defence

Private Duncanson was born in Wallacetown, Ontario, on June 7, 1915. He married in 1939 and lived in Dutton, Ontario. He enlisted in the Canadian Army on August 24, 1942. He joined The Algonquin Regiment in April 1944.

Private Duncanson was killed on September 14, 1944, during an attempt by the Algonquin Regiment to establish a bridgehead crossing of the Dérivation de la Lys and the Leopold Canal, at the hamlet of Molentje, now in the municipality of Damme, Belgium. This was part of the preliminary battles leading up to the Battle of the Scheldt. Private Duncanson was 29 at the time of his death.
His name is recorded on panel 11 of the Groesbeek Memorial at the Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery in the Netherlands, which commemorates by name more than 1,000 members of the Commonwealth land forces who died during the campaign in Northwest Europe between the time of crossing the Seine at the end of August 1944 and the end of the war in Europe, and whose graves are not known.

On Remembrance Day, November 11, 2014, a metal detector hobbyist discovered the remains of Private Duncanson in a farmer’s field near Molentje, Damme, Belgium.

Subsequently, the remains were fully recovered by the Raakvlak Intercommunal Archaeological Service of Bruges, Belgium, with assistance from DND’s Casualty Identification Program, and with the support of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the Canadian Embassy in Brussels, and the Canadian Defence Attaché in Paris.

Private Duncanson’s identification resulted from a combination of historical context, anthropological analysis, artefact evidence, and dental records. The identification was made by the Casualty Identification Program, with the assistance of the Royal Canadian Dental Corps and the Canadian Museum of History.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Sajjan: No CFB or CFS closures as part of Defence Review

By: David Pugliese, Defence Watch

The Defence Review is now underway but so far Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has ruled out cuts to the two of the most costly areas of the defence budget – military personnel and major infrastructure.

In February, Sajjan stated categorically that the Liberal government would not be cutting any military personnel – in fact he was looking to expand the size of the Canadian Forces he noted. “We are not looking at reducing our personnel,” Sajjan said at the time. “The conversation I’m having right now is about where do we need to increase some of the personnel.”

Salaries and benefits for personnel make up around 50 per cent of the defence budget (that figure also includes public servants).

In addition, on Monday night Sajjan revealed to a Commons committee that the Liberal government has “absolutely no plans to shut down any bases.” Keeping aging infrastructure operating has been a costly affair over the years for the Department of National Defence and base closures, have under the Jean Chretien government, been used to save money. But not this time, according to the minister.

Location of Canadian Forces Bases or Stations (CFB/CFS) across Canada. Department of National Defence. 
Some analysts, however, have argued for closures. In a January opinion article, Doug Bland, past chairman of the defence management studies program at Queen’s University, argued that Prime Minister Trudeau should cut some bases and installations. Here is part of what he wrote in the Victoria Times Colonist: “The defence budget funds 38 large “bases” and smaller “installations,” located in every province except Prince Edward Island. Most were renovated at the beginning of the Cold War to accommodate a permanent military force of about 130,000 personnel, more than twice today’s personnel strength. Each base is expensively supported by numerous non-operational Canadian Forces units and headquarters and personnel needed to manage budgets, maintain public schools and hundreds of “married quarters” and provide other community services and utilities.

Some bases are critically important to the Canadian Forces’ operations and thus to Canada’s national defence; others are not. Keeping open bases with little or no military utility imposes a heavy, unnecessary tax on the defence budget. According to one informed source, the Liberal government could close 12 bases without impairing Canada’s national defence at all.”

Sajjan also indicated to MPs on Monday night that the government’s Defence Review was considering involvement in the U.S. ballistic missile defence system. No word on what the cost would be if that involvement proceeds.

At the same time, Sajjan has acknowledged there is a limit to the government funding for defence.

Monday, May 16, 2016

RCN Committed to its Submarine Fleet in face of Defence Revew

By David Pugliese, Defence Watch 

With the defence review underway – and everything or most everything on the table – part of the discussion will inevitably focus on Canada’s Victoria-class submarine fleet. At least once during the Conservative’s time in office, suggestions emerged that the government was looking at shutting down the fleet to save money. Will that same proposal surface this time around?

Royal Canadian Navy commander Vice Admiral Mark Norman believes there should be a debate about the role of Canada’s submarines but from a maritime security and capability perspective. The navy, he said, sees Canada’s submarine fleet “as the ultimate guarantor of maritime sovereignty.”

Here is more of what Norman told Defence Watch:

“There is no other platform in service anywhere that can do what a submarine can do. And I don’t see that sort of essential capability being replaced by anything in the foreseeable future. Ultimately the submarine is about controlling water space. It is a very capable surveillance platform. It has great endurance. It has incredible stealth. Those are all worthwhile characteristics of a submarine, but ultimately its purpose is to control water space. If Canada ever has the desire or the need to declare exclusive control over a column of water, either in our own territory or elsewhere, there’s only one platform that can do that. You can mine it or you can put submarines in. The discussion unfortunately in this country has focused understandably, but excessively on the trials and tribulations of the class itself, and not on the inherent strategic essence of the capability. We’re surrounded on three sides by water. We have the largest ocean state in the world. And I don’t care how much remote sensing, UAVs, aircraft or any other technology you want to throw at our massive maritime state, if you want to control it or any part of it at any time of your choosing you got to have a submarine in it. Others need to know that you have a submarine in it because that in and of itself has an asymmetric deterrent effect.

This is a discussion that needs to take place. It needs to be an informed debate. It needs to be a debate based on fact and analysis, and not based on rhetoric and innuendo. The capability of the Victoria class is actually very robust. And we’ve had enormous success in both continental missions, and recently in the latter part of 2015, Windsor did some incredible things in support of NATO as we were dealing with some Russian activity in the North Atlantic.

We need to have the conversation. And as I indicated, the conversation needs to be about the capability and not about the merits of the acquisition of the current platform, which is unfortunately where the debate often goes.”

CAF Divers Helping Clear WW1 & WW2 Explosives from Baltic Sea

Eleven Canadian Forces clearance divers and support personnel began participation in OP OPEN SPIRIT 2016 on May 13 in Lithuania.

These members of Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic) from Halifax, Nova Scotia, will work alongside personnel from the Lithuanian Naval Flotilla and 12 other partner nations until May 27 in order to clear explosive remnants of the First and Second World Wars in the Baltic Sea, according to the Canadian Forces news release.

Operation OPEN SPIRIT is a multinational naval mine clearance and ordnance disposal operation conducted on an annual basis since 1997. This mission aims to reduce the threat of unexploded ordnance throughout the Baltic Sea region, including seabed communications lines, international shipping routes, and fishing areas.

Window Slowly Closing on Availability of Super-Hornet

By: David Pugliese, Defence Watch

The Liberals promised that if elected they would begin an immediate competition to purchase a replacement aircraft for the CF-18 fighter jet.

Public Services and Procurement Canada has created a new office to oversee that purchase. But there hasn’t been a lot of movement on the file. Instead, work is proceeding on the modernization program to keep the CF-18s flying until 2025.

Boeing’s Super Hornet is seen as a top contender if and when the Canadian government actually begins the process to replace the CF-18.

But with the Canadian procurement system notoriously slow, can Boeing hold out the years (potentially) it will take before Canada is ready to award a contract? The issue, according to defence analysts, is the lack of new orders for Super Hornets and whether Boeing can keep its production line going until Canada is ready to purchase a new fighter.

As it searches for more customers, the company has slowed Super Hornet production to just two aircraft per month in hopes additional orders will extend production into the 2020s, reports my former Defense News colleague Marcus Weisgerber (Marcus is now global business editor at Defense One).
Boeing Super-Hornet Assembly plant, 2008. Boeing is currently just producing 2 aircraft per month. Without new orders, Boeing plans to end production in 2018. Something Canada needs to consider when choosing a new fighter; the availability of spare parts. (Photo: Boeing) 
The U.S. has already purchased more Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers (the electronic attack versions of the Super Hornet) for the U.S Navy.

But without new orders, Super Hornet and Growler production would end in 2018, Dan Gillian, the Boeing vice president who oversees both aircraft, told Weisgerber.

There are potential orders in the wings. Kuwait wants to buy 28 aircraft but the Obama administration has yet to approve the deal. The U.S. Navy wants at least 30 more Super Hornets but so far money has been made available for only two.

Boeing sees the Kuwait deal as a key bridge to keeping the Super Hornet line open and potentially receiving an order from Canada, noted Weisgerber.

Conservatives to Question Sajjan and Defence Budget

By: Amanda Connolly, iPolitics 

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan will face a grilling tonight on the main estimates for his department.

The Conservative opposition gave notice on May 2 that they would be calling Sajjan and Finance Minister Bill Morneau to committees of the whole to answer questions about their department’s fiscal plans.

Liberal House Leader Dominic Leblanc announced on Thursday that Sajjan’s appearance would happen today.

The opposition parties will get four hours to question Sajjan about his department’s fiscal priorities.

It’s not clear yet whether Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose will be in the House for the questioning but defence critic James Bezan will be.

Bezan said in an email to iPolitics that the party is concerned about the government’s decision to punt funding for major procurements until 2022, in its last budget.

“The Conservative Party holds the Canadian Armed Forces in high regard and this is an opportunity to question the Minister on issues that affect our troops and national defence policy,” Bezan said.

“We have concerns over the Liberals’ decision to cut funding for major procurement projects in their first budget. DND was the only department to have its budget cut. We want to know how these cuts will impact our troops. The committee of the wholeon Monday will be an opportunity for our caucus to raise these concerns directly with the minister.”

The committee of the whole is expected to wrap up around midnight.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Black: Sell the Arms to the Saudi's

By: Conrad Black
National Post, May 14, 2016

The controversy over the sale of light armoured vehicles (LAVs) to Saudi Arabia illustrates the fact that Canada can now decide whether it wants to be one of the world’s important powers or not. This does not mean a super power, which is not and will not be on offer for a country of 35 million people. It means a G7 country with the ability to extend its status to be one of world’s influential countries beyond economics and including the full range of factors that create a country’s stature in the world. This is not the last chance for Canada to make that choice, but is one of the first of such opportunities.

Those who most strenuously oppose the sale to Saudi Arabia include practically all audible elements of the NDP. They rightly see Saudi Arabia as a primitive absolute monarchy that has no respect for human liberty, especially women’s rights, is religiously intolerant, and foments militant Wahhabi Islam throughout the Muslim world. This past week, opponents of the sale to Saudi Arabia have been jubilantly circulating news film footage of the Saudis deploying similar equipment, though not supplied by Canada, to break up Shiite demonstrations in Saudi Arabia, and claiming that it could be reasonably inferred that Canadian-supplied LAVs would be similarly deployed.

The opponents of the deal focus especially on the fish-tailing of the federal government as it cites Saudi Arabia as an ally in the fight against Iranian expansion and anti-Western terrorism. The government has assured that this equipment would not be used on Saudi civilians. Tepid supporters of the deal make the point that thousands of Canadian jobs are at stake, and that Canada must not gain a reputation as a fickle and unreliable trading partner.

Of course, the Saudi regime is a nauseating affront to Western values. It has been for decades a joint venture between the House of Saud and the Wahhabi hierarchy, which has long been the principal propagator of militant Islam among Sunni Muslims. Financed by the Saudi royal family, the Wahhabis leave the Saudi regime untroubled, even as they try to destabilize many other governments. Of course, Saudi hypocrisy is distasteful, although it has moderated its support for extremism, under pressure from the United States, and as it has been pushed into the Islamic centre by al-Qaida and ISIL.
Bill Graveland / Canadian PressA Canadian LAV (light armoured vehicle) in Afghanistan on Nov.26, 2006.
Now is the time for Canada to end the role of foreign affairs as a substitute for theology and psychiatry, and to see it as it should be: the means of projecting this country’s interests and influence as a benign policy force in the world. Those who strongly favour the LAV contract, including me, emphasize that the manufacturer is a branch-plant of an American company which would decamp elsewhere if this deal is revoked, creating thousands of skilled, durably unemployed Canadians. The Saudis would buy similar vehicles from other suppliers. Canada would then be mocked in the world as a flaky, inconstant, self-righteous, and light-weight country with no vocation to measure the balance between its interests and moral influence in the world. Further, we would be seen, correctly, as subordinating our economic and strategic interest to a moralistic encouragement of a more liberal Saudi state, something we cannot achieve. This view exaggerates and misjudges our moral interest at the expense of the practical interests of Canada and the West.

Tasha Kheiriddin: Stop supporting Saudi apartheid
Conrad Black: What Canada can do to help stabilize the Middle East and resurrect a strong Western alliance
Stephane Dion releases ‘secret’ Saudi Arabia documents, approving $11 billion in armoured vehicle exports

Saudi Arabia is a powerful regional and sectarian ally against Hezbollah (Lebanon), Hamas (Palestinian territories and Israel), and the Houthi (Yemen), and formidable associate in the struggle against ISIL, which dismisses the Iranian theocrats (and their above-mentioned proxies), and Saudi royals together as pallid infidels. What we have now in the Middle East is a stranger association of powers than was the West with Stalin’s Soviet Union during the Second World War (which Stalin helped start with his Nazi-Soviet Pact with Hitler). But that alliance worked very well, and the West gained or retrieved Germany, France, Italy, and Japan, four of the world’s greatest nations, back into the West as prosperous and democratic allies, while Stalin gained only expensive and temporary and brutal occupation of Eastern Europe, having taken over 90 per cent of the casualties in subduing Nazi Germany. This parallel can be overworked, but as I have written here and elsewhere before, Saudi Arabia, in trying to put a rod on the back of Iran by tanking the world oil price, was also so instrumental in afflicting the Russian national treasury that Russian leader Putin almost certainly moderated the pressure he had planned to assert on Ukraine and the Baltic states. Whatever their shortcomings, the Saudis have been the greatest pillar the crumbling Western alliance has had in the last two years.
Photo: Caporal-chef Dan Pop, AffaireThe Department of National Defence receives the first modernized LAV III from General Dynamics Land Systems Canada in London, Ontario on January 24, 2013.
In applying standards of acceptable moral conduct on other countries, all mature Western nations are compelled to be governed by two factors: whether the co-contracting regime is morally abhorrent and inferior to its local, or sectarian or ideological rivals; and if refusing to treat with such an odious regime would actually lead to its downfall, and would a replacement regime be preferable. Of course, the answer in this case, of Saudi Arabia, is no on both counts. The Saudis are less dangerous and hostile to the West than their Iranian rivals, and the Saudis are effectively combatting Iranian surrogates mentioned above (even allowing for President Obama’s spongiform-brained appeasement of Tehran). Any replacement of the Saudi government, mired in infelicities as it is, would be a hideous cocktail of al-Qaida and ISIL. These would make the relatively house-trained Wahhabi grandees seem like the pious elders of the United Church of Canada (who can be very tiresome and self-serving, but persist in the murky cause of Protestant rights in the People’s Republic and aren’t trying to kill anyone).
Capt Dave MuraltA LAV-III light armoured vehicle of Company Headquarters, C Company, 1st Battalion the Royal 22nd Regiment, the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team's Force Protection Company, secures the village of Zangabad during the ceremonies marking the return of the residents to their homes.
Two examples in living memory of those who have imposed trade embargoes on strategic exports are Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ending the shipments of oil and iron exports to Japan in 1941, and prime minister Lester Pearson’s refusal to sell uranium to France in 1965. Regarding Japan, Roosevelt was correct, morally and practically, and Japan had to attack the United States treacherously, as it did in 1941, or retreat with its tail between its legs from China and Indochina, which it had brutally invaded. Pearson’s moral sanctimony opposite France caused General de Gaulle to seek uranium from France’s former African colonies, and he responded to Pearson’s shabby breach of trust with a call to French Canadians to secede from the Canadian state, wherever they might be. This contributed to decades of turmoil in Quebec-federal relations.

We must start by outgrowing the national mythos expressed by Michael Byers in the Globe and Mail on May 12, and accept that most members of the United Nations pay no attention to the UN Charter or the Universal Declaration on Human Rights; that nobody applies the Geneva Conventions or UN Convention Against Torture to terrorism or counter-terrorism, and that Lester Pearson “won the Nobel prize for peace because he devised a new mechanism — UN peacekeeping — for preventing death and suffering.” the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Henry Cabot Lodge, and the State Department, devised it as a face-saving measure for the British and French after the dreadful fiasco at Suez in 1956 and asked Pearson to move it because if the U.S. did, the Soviet Union, which was then busily engaged in suppressing the Hungarian revolution, would veto it. It is time we had a real foreign policy tailored to our potential capabilities, and emerged from our long-spun cocoon as the pure Snow Maiden of the north raising a light to the nations. Our duty and interest in this case is to pursue our economic interest while assisting the least bad of the Middle East blocs against the worse Iranian bloc and the unspeakable theo-terrorists.