Press-Republican

Columns

November 1, 2013

Reviewing Canadian troops

It’s called Veterans Day south of the border and Remembrance Day in Canada and in other nations in the British Commonwealth and elsewhere around the world.

For the first time in a dozen years, Nov. 11 comes with no significant number of Canadian soldiers deployed on a mission overseas, either in a combat, training or peace-keeping role.

The last of the nearly 1,000 Canadian troops assigned since 2009 to the United Nations-led mission to train Afghan security forces will be returning home in the next few weeks.

Apart from that, according to government statistics, small numbers of Canadian military personnel are deployed on UN missions around the world, from Haiti (39), to Mali (40), the Sinai Peninsula (28) and Kosovo (5). A Royal Canadian Navy ship is on anti-terrorist patrol in the Arabian Sea with a crew of 250.

Back on home soil, Canadian troops are involved regularly in marine operations, including search and rescue, and in time of civic disasters, such as the massive flooding that struck Calgary back in June, where some 2,200 soldiers came to the rescue.

With the withdrawal from Afghanistan, Canada’s first real combat mission since Korea, and the seemingly extreme reluctance of western forces to get involved in further “boots on the ground” missions around the planet, the federal government has launched a revamp of army operations called Defence Renewal.

Spending on Canadian Forces is the largest single item in the federal budget (as it is in the United States and pretty well all industrialized nations), some $18 billion. It’s spent on 68,000 personnel in uniform, plus about 25,000 civil servants.

What’s more, the federal government is committed to huge expenditures on new fleets of fighter jets, helicopters and ships to replace the current inventory of aging machines. This summer, for example, retired and active personnel got together for a big celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of the acquisition of the Sea King navy choppers.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Big shift in Quebec vote

    Being a man of science, Philippe Couillard, premier-designate of Quebec, chose to use a geological term (though his field is actually medicine) to describe what happened in Monday's election, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg A monastery in the Hebrides, after 1,000 years

    Before Father Seraphim Aldea can build a monastery on Scotland's Mull Island, he needs to have a working septic system, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tobias_Sue_012914.jpg Old movies offer more than entertaining TV

    Columnist Susan Tobias and her husband, Toby, are reminded of simple childhood memories while watching an old black-and-white movie.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension
Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns
Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time