95th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge-Lest We Forget

When the question “who is the most important figure in Canadian history?” comes up, very few think of the name Arthur Currie. But he is probably the one name that should come up. Because on this day 95 years ago, April 9th, 1917, the name Canada was barely known. But a scant 24 hours later, the name Canada was on the lips of countless people.

For on April 9th, Canadians fighting as a single unit for the first time in history, utilized Currie’s “Creeping barrage” to take Vimy Ridge from the Germans. It was the first time a nation had taken land back from the Germans and held it in the Great War. Canadian casualties numbered less than 10,000 taking the ridge when British and French troops took tens of thousands each in previous attempts to take the ridge.

Last December, I was lucky enough to visit Vimy Ridge. A few pictures are below. If you are a Canadian who is proud of your country, I highly suggest you make the pilgrimage to this wondrous monument. The battle defined Canada as a nation. It put us on the world map. It is the essence of who we are.

Approach view from backside of the Vimy Memorial
Approach view from backside of the Vimy Memorial

Me at Vimy Ridge
Me at Vimy Ridge

I brought a poppy with me and left it in the name wall at Vimy Ridge
I brought a poppy with me and left it in the name wall at Vimy Ridge

The tomb of the unknown solder at front side of Vimy Ridge
The tomb of the unknown solder at front side of Vimy Ridge

Rainbow Poppy

I snapped this photo because it simply put a smile on my face seeing a rainbow sticker and a poppy proudly displayed by the vehicle’s driver. I know the owner of the vehicle and asked if they minded me posting this on my blog. With permission granted, I present to you the Rainbow Poppy. It would be nice to see more of this.

Look closely in the back window just above the third brake light for the rainbow.

I am sure other’s out there would appreciate it too.

The Rainbow Poppy
The Rainbow Poppy

One 4 The Troops

Just because they are all soldiers, they are patriotic, they are our friends to the south and they sing pretty darn good.

4Troops seems to be getting a lot of play and activity on the American networks these days. FoxNews this morning and Larry King tonight and a whole tour on the website. I say good on ’em and thank you for your service. I am a Canadian but I appreciate all that our Canadian soldiers do but I also really appreciate all that American soldiers do for the world too.

I hope these four go a long way to keeping that support for all the fine young women and men serving for the allies.

CTV Screws Up Poll Question On Peace Tower Flag Biasing Results

This morning on CTV’s Canada AM they are having a poll on flying the flag on the Peace Tower at half mast. The Liberals are proposing a motion that would have this flag fly at half mast when a soldier dies. Yet never in history has this one flag been lowered for an individual soldier. That was something done everywhere else in the nation. But the Peace Tower is different. It is representative of the nation and has set dates which it is lowered.

Well when i went to vote at the CTV poll on this subject today I noticed that the question does NOT mention it is for the PEACE TOWER and simply states “Should the flag be lowered every time a Canadian soldier is killed?”

As the results will be tied to the Peace Tower, this question is obviously going to misrepresent the nation’s opinion because we ALL know the flags should be lowered for soldiers. Just NOT on the Peace Tower.

I urge you all to vote with me NO on this issue. Click Here to vote.

Below is a jpg screenshot of the misleading question.

CTVpollerror1.jpg

This Week Was Special

This week was a blur to me. I had one of the busiest work weeks I can remember in a long time. But this week two things happened that made me feel both proud and very pleased with my life.

1) My son joined me for a busy day visiting customers and talking the tech talk as it was “Bring your grade 9 child to work day” on Wednesday. He was very mature and, although I knew he would rather have been home playing World of Warcraft with his friends, he didn’t seem to show it. Tonight (Thursday) at dinner, I heard him say to my wife “Hey mom, do you know what an ETX-802 does?” It was one of those moments that just made me smile knowing he’ll be fine when he gets older.

Thanks T-Bone.

and

2) My daughter told me this evening that she was chosen to lay the wreath down for her class at the W.O. Mitchell Public School Remembrance Day ceremony they will hold on Friday (due to Remembrance Day falling on a Sunday). As a proud supporter of our military, and a father who has a) spent time walking the War Memorial explaining to my children what it means and what the years represent and b) taken a day to bring this 11 year old down to the new Canadian War Museum, I am very touched that she has been given this honour.

Thanks Cookie.

I have two great kids!!!

馃檪

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

I was going to save this piece for next week, but in light of the story breaking on the CTV about General Rick Hillier being replaced, I felt it was necessary to address something right away.

In reading the comments on the above news article, I am shocked at how many Canadians actually think it was Rick Hillier that rebuilt the military and restored the faith and groundswell of support for our troops.

A General within the military does not have the power to acquire Billions of dollars of funding from the Finance Ministry to rebuild the military. That feat was accomplished by the Honourable Gordon O’Connor.

A General within the military is not the one that stick handles billions of dollars of expenditures through committees and the House of Commons in a minority government to ensure the purchases of equipment get made. That feat was accomplished by the Honourable Gordon O’Connor.

A General within the military cannot swing deals with Boeing to get Canada’s C-17 heavy lift moved up to the front of the queue so that we can get our aircraft years ahead of schedule. That feat was accomplished by the Honourable Gordon O’Connor.

The list goes on and on.

The groundswell of support for our troops was not headed up by Hillier either. A big part of this was started by Lisa Miller and Karen Boire, the two young ladies who started the “Wear Red Fridays” drive. This single handedly has to be the one thing that has started to spread across the nation as a show of support for the troops and their families. I still wear red every Friday, even if it is just a small red ribbon pinned to my lapel with a Canada flag pin.

I am not saying Rick Hillier should or should not be removed from his post. My opinion on that is neither here nor there. But what I am saying is that if praise is to be given for the restored quality of our military, and renewed faith that our forces are one of the best outfitted in the world, that praise should be given to the previous Minister of National Defence, Gordon O’Connor.

I for one am extremely proud of Gordon O’Connor and all he has done to ensure our military is well outfitted. Below is a list of accomplishments Minister O’Connor accomplished while he managed the Defence portfolio.

Major Accomplishments

Budgetary Accomplishments:
-Increased Defence budget by $5.3 billion over 5 years

Procurement Accomplishments:

A 3-OCEAN NAVY, A ROBUST ARMY, AND A REVITALIZED AIR FORCE
路Announced up to 8 Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships ($7.4B)
路100 modern main battle tanks (Leopard 2) ($650M)
路Purchased 4 C-17 strategic airlift aircraft ($3.4B)
路Announced the intention to acquire 17 tactical airlift aircraft (C-130J) ($4.9B)
路Announced the intention to acquire 16 medium-heavy lift helicopters (Chinooks) ($4.7B)
路Announced the intention to acquire 2,300 medium-weight trucks ($1.2B)
路Announced the intention to acquire 3 Joint Support ships (JSS) (2.9B)
路25 New Nyala Armoured Patrol Vehicles ($31M)
路82 Armoured Heavy Support Vehicle Systems (AHSVS) ($87M)
路5 Buffalo, 5 Cougar, and 6 Husky mine-protected vehicles ($29.6M)
路6 M777 Howitzers
路Announced the modernization of 12 Halifax-Class Frigates ($3.1B)

Policy/Operational Accomplishments:
路Announced the establishment of an Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagotville
路Announced the re-opening of the College Militaire Royal (CMR) St-Jean
路Extension of Afghan mission until 2009
路Extension of NORAD Agreement, incl. maritime surveillance
路Deployment of HMCS Ottawa to the Gulf under Operation ALTAIR
路An infantry to protect the PRT
路A Leopard tank squadron to Kandahar
路Military engineers to PRT鈥檚
路Counter-mortar capability
路Opening of the Sergeant David L. Pitcher NORAD facility at North Bay

CF Force Expansion:
路New Recruit Advertising Campaign Launched
路In 2006 the Total Paid Strength of the CF grew by over 2,000
路In October 2006, the recruiting process was streamlined

Quality of Life/Other:
路Introduction of a modernized pension plan for CF reservists
路New operational allowance for CF members who are medically repatriated
路Opening of the Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) facility at Gagetown
路$19 million provided to 41 Military Family Resource Centers
路Clifton Wenzel receives compensation

Smackdown: Charles Adler Goes One On One With Dipper Alexa McDonough And Kicks Butt

When I asked McDonough to name one single fact in the Karzai speech that was untrue, she said this issue wasn’t about the truth. The former boss of the New Democratic Party spoke volumes with that little chestnut. Ideologues care little about the truth.

The NDP could learn a lot from the graciousness of the Afghan leader. He has far more respect for our military than the NDP does. And it isn’t because military communications people laid down a few words on a piece of paper to help him get his message across. It’s because they laid down their lives to give his people an opportunity to have a life.

I don’t know if it can be said any clearer than that.

In this interview Charles does what he does best. He puts the facts out for Alexa and she trips on them over and over and over. A must listen.

Listen to the whole interview with McDonough.

H/T

The Mounties Always Get Their Man – Dudley DooRight Catches Bob Fife

Whenever someone slams the CBC for being left leaning, the comeback always seems to be that the CTV is the exact opposite and a strong supporter of the Conservative Party. I am quickly seeing that this is also a complete load of hogwash.

My personal friend “Dudley Dooright” pointed this information out to me and I thought it was important enough for me to share with my readers.

This is to bring to your attention an urgent matter concerning the Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Gordon O鈥機onnor.

There have been recent reports that Minister O鈥機onnor will be removed from his current post of Minister of National Defence during the week of August 13. What follows are some details regarding the background, and how you could express your support for Minister O鈥機onnor if you choose to do so.

Please note that since the cabinet shuffle might take place as early as Monday August 13, it is important to voice your support before 5 PM on Friday August 10 when Prime Minister Harper鈥檚 office closes for the weekend.

On Saturday August 4, 2007 CTV news reported:

鈥淧rime Minister Stephen Harper will demote embattled Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor in a cabinet shuffle expected in the week of August 13, senior government insiders told CTV News.鈥

Link To August 4th CTV news story

The same news report also stated:

鈥淪ources say the Prime Minister decided he had to shift O’Connor out of Defence after he gave an interview on CTV’s Question Period two weeks ago, in which he suggested Quebec’s famed Van Doos would spend their six-month mission in Afghanistan training Afghan army troops rather than fighting the Taliban.

Families who lost loved ones in Afghanistan were deeply upset at O’Connor as were members of the Van Doos, government officials told CTV.鈥

The first sentence refers to another CTV report published Sun. Jul. 22 2007, but the assertion that Minister O鈥機onnor suggested that the Van Doos would be engaged in 鈥渢raining Afghan army troops rather than fighting the Taliban鈥 is incorrect. The linked video clip posted on the CTV website, records what Mr. O鈥機onnor actually said: http://tinyurl.com/29og5e

CTV鈥檚 Graham Richardson: 鈥淲ill the mission change or be tweaked in any way? Will there be fewer patrols given what Canadian forces are facing in the south?鈥

Minister O鈥機onnor: 鈥淚t was part of our plan to go through essentially a three stage transition. When we arrived in the south, because of the situation with the Taliban, and the situation with the Afghan army, there was very few of them, we had to take on the bulk of the fighting.

And in the last few months we took over sponsorship of one of the infantry battalions of the Afghan army. We鈥檝e trained it to a very high level and it鈥檚 out there now conducting operations.

Over the next four or five months we鈥檙e going to be picking up four or five additional Afghan battalions to train and mentor and get them out into the field.

And were hoping that by the end of this rotation that鈥檚 going in now, the so-called Van Doos rotation, we鈥檒l have about 3000 Afghan army operating within the Kandahar province.

As we train more and more of the Afghan army to carry out their own operations, we will continue to withdraw, train them, put more emphasis on training, and at some stage, basically be in reserve.

CTV鈥檚 Graham Richardson: 鈥淚f all goes according to plan, Canadians will be doing less of a combat role in the south, correct?鈥

Minister O鈥機onnor: 鈥淭hat鈥檚 correct.鈥

Link to July 22nd CTV news story

Mr. O鈥機onnor was describing a transition plan that was already in progress before the Van Doos arrived, and he did not suggest that the Van Doos would be engaged exclusively in training of the Afghan army in Kandahar.

Yet, CTV reports anonymous 鈥渟enior government insiders鈥 stating that Mr. O鈥機onnor will be shuffled out of his Minister of National Defence position for a suggestion he never made in that news report.

On Jul 12, 2007, General Rick Hillier seemed to agree with Minister O鈥機onnor regarding the recent successes training the Afghan army battalion, and with the plan going forward.

“This battalion has actually come an incredible long ways. Our soldiers were telling me it’s like looking in a mirror and seeing their own tactics and drills and skills being implemented by these guys,”

“They’re very professional. … They’ve actually been very successful in most operations against the Taliban,”

“I believe that by spring … this organization will be very capable. It won’t be perfect. It won’t be stand-alone. But it will be ready to help play a huge role that essentially has not been played at all until now by themselves,” he said.

Link to July 12th, 2007 Toronto Star news story

During his tenure of some 18 months as Minister of National Defence, Gordon O鈥機onnor has secured the reinvestment in Canadian Armed Forces鈥 equipment which was depleted by years of neglect by previous governments. Examples of orders secured include heavy lift aircraft, transport helicopters, tanks, and arctic patrol ships. The Canadian Forces are making a significant contribution to the security of Afghanistan, and their morale is reported to be high.

If you believe that Gordon O鈥機onnor is doing a good job as Minister of National Defence and would like to show your support for him, below are a few ways to do so:

1. Phone the Prime Minister鈥檚 Office at 613-941-6888 to speak to an assistant to express your support for Minister O鈥機onnor in his role as Minister of National Defence. Business hours for the Prime Minister鈥檚 office are 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. If you phone after 5 PM, you will be transferred to a voice-mailbox in the Prime Minister鈥檚 office, where you could also leave a message.

2. Email The Right Hon. Stephen J. Harper, P.C., M.P., Prime Minister of Canada at pm@pm.gc.ca expressing your support for Minister O鈥機onnor in his role as Minister of National Defence. You might also consider copying Minister O鈥機onnor鈥檚 parliamentary office at oconng@parl.gc.ca .

3. Fax The Right Hon. J. Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P., Prime Minister of Canada at 613-941-6900 expressing your support for Minister O鈥機onnor in his role as Minister of National Defence.

Cabinet Ministers have been ordered to be available to meet with the Prime Minister as of Monday August 13, 2007 so there is very little time to get messages of support for The Hon. Gordon O鈥機onnor to the Prime Minister. If you decide to voice your support for Minister O鈥機onnor, please do so before 5 PM on Friday August 10.

Thank you.

It seems the only thing Minister O’Connor is guilty of is letting the press play tricks with his words. If you feel like me and know that Minister O’Connor is doing a fine job, then I urge you to let the PMO know with one of the methods pointed out above.

I would like to add that under Prime Minister Harper and Minister O’Connor, I have regained a faith that Canada is once again becoming the True North, STRONG and free.

CTV Pulls A Fast One

This morning the issue of the “support our troops” decals has become front and centre on a national level. The boycott of Toronto is growing. And in an effort to stifle the support for our troops, the CTV has made a mockery of the question as indicated by the image below which shows their poll today.

Troop Support Poll on CTV

The way this is poll is worded is quite misleading.

Troop Support Poll on CTV2

The issue today is not to question the use of decals on city vehicles for “causes” but for our troops. Our troops are NOT a cause.

The fact is that with such an ambiguous question, I myself would vote no. But if you change the word causes to troops, you can guarantee that the results would be far different.

Shame on you CTV.