Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Canada is back ... to giving lip service to Ukrainians?

The Trudeau government has followed up on a press release issued a couple of weeks ago by the Department of National Defence.

It's all very nice to appoint someone to sit on an advisory committee to discuss reform of Ukraine's military.

Not sure how exactly it will help Ukrainian people risking their lives (and often losing them) while defending their country against unprovoked attacks from Russia, nor the innocent civilians caught in the crossfire and left without heat, water, or food. 

Maybe that's not its purpose.

Here is the latest from the government. Decide for yourself what it means in terms of concrete action, because I have no idea.

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Canadian appointed to serve on Ukrainian Defence Reform Advisory Board

January 31, 2017 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

General Jonathan Vance, the Chief of the Defence Staff, has appointed Jill Sinclair, a former Assistant Deputy Minister with the Department of National Defence (DND) and currently Executive Director, Directorate of Strategic Concepts, Leadership and Engagement at the Canadian Defence Academy, as the Canadian representative to the Ukrainian Defence Reform Advisory Board (DRAB).

Canada was informally invited to participate in the DRAB during Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s visit to Ukraine in 2016.This informal request was followed by an official invitation letter to MND for Canada to join the DRAB.

The DRAB has been established to provide a high level of expertise and recommendations to the Reform Committee as well as to the President of Ukraine, the Minister of Defence of Ukraine, the Chief of General Staff – Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and senior political leadership.

Since 2014, Canada has actively participated alongside North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies in measure to maintain security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe — through partnering, training, exercises, and other operational tasks.


Quotes

“Former Assistant Deputy Minister Sinclair’s contributions to the Ukrainian defence reform further demonstrate our determination to support efforts by Ukraine to maintain sovereignty, security, and stability.”

Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of Defence


“I am confident in the ability of Jill Sinclair to support the Defence Reform Advisory Board. Her breadth of experience and depth of knowledge will be invaluable to our Ukrainian senior government and military colleagues.”

General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff


“I look forward to this valuable opportunity to be able to contribute to the Ukrainian Defence Reform Process. I am grateful to Chief of the Defence Staff Vance for his support and to Minister of National Defence Sajjan for accepting this opportunity to aid one of our European allies.”

Jill Sinclair, Canadian representative on the Ukrainian Defence Reform Advisory Board


Quick Facts

·                     Ms. Sinclair served as Assistant Deputy Minister (Policy) with the Department of National Defence between 2008 and 2014. Prior to this, she had an extensive career with the Privy Council Office and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

·                     Ukraine is initiating institutional reforms of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. To advance this process, Ukraine is establishing a Ministry of Defense (MoD) Reform Committee aimed at carrying out planning, organization, implementation, and control of reforms.

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For additional information, contact

Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Phone: 613-996-2353
Toll-Free: 1-866-377-0811

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Trudeau Government has thrown Ukraine under the bus

Just received an op-ed by Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan from the press secretary of the Office of the Minister of National Defence. 

No mention in it of Canada continuing support for Ukraine. Obviously, Ukraine doesn't even make it onto the priority list, much less at the top ... where it clearly was with the Harper government.

In other words, Canada has just thrown Ukraine under the bus. It just would not do for this government to honour the promises of the previous one, now would it. 

But hey, they also sent a Ukrainian language version of the document. How inclusive. Also, pictures of Sajjan in Ukraine. So, presumably Ukrainian Canadians should feel honoured. 

Yes, Canada is back, alright. 

Here's the English language version: 
______________________________

Looking forward to a year of change

2016 was a year of change for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. It was a year in which the government started the hard work of setting our nation’s military affairs back on track.

There were unprecedented levels of consultation about Canada’s new defence policy, announcements about our renewed commitments to NATO and the United Nations, the beginning of efforts to replace our CF-18 fighter fleet, the resettlement of 25,000 Syrian refugees in Canada, and the expansion of our mission in Iraq to defeat Daesh.
I’d like to extend my gratitude to the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence for all they have accomplished. It’s truly remarkable.

In the first months of 2016, the CAF assisted with the resettlement of 25,000 Syrian refugees here in Canada. CAF members supported whole-of-government efforts to welcome refugees to Canada where we forward deployed personnel to assist with security and health screening, as well as logistical support.

We also announced Canada will lead a multinational battle group in Latvia, becoming a NATO framework nation and a leader among our allies. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg praised this decision as a sign of a “strong transatlantic commitment.” It fits with the way our government views Canada’s role in the world. When President Obama visited our Parliament, he said “the world needs more Canada.” I couldn’t agree more.

Through a whole-of-government effort, we refocused our contribution to the global coalition’s fight to defeat Daesh. Expanding our train, advise and assist mission with the Kurds, and increasing our intelligence and air refuelling capacity was applauded by our coalition partners.  Efforts made by our Ministerial Liaison Teams, Role 2 medical facility, and All-Source Intelligence Centre are having significant impacts on the ground as our Iraqi partners take the fight to Daesh. These efforts are paying tremendous dividends as now the Iraqi Security Forces are in the process of liberating ‎Mosul, the last major stronghold of Daesh.

Our commitment to multilateralism also extends to United Nations and I look forward to talking with Canadians more about peace support operations in 2017.

Our government is committed to providing the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces with the training, equipment, and resources they need. Last year, we announced the way forward on the replacement of our legacy CF-18 fighter aircraft. This consists of a three-step approach that will see the government move forward on the purchase of an interim fleet of Boeing Super Hornets, hold an open and transparent competition for a full fleet replacement, and invest in the recruitment and training of new pilots and technicians. This is a significant investment in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and provides expanded economic benefits for Canada’s aerospace and defence sectors and high-value, middle-class jobs for Canadians. 2016 also saw great strides made in other procurement projects, including a decision on new search and rescue planes – 12 years after the need for new planes was identified – and investing in our Navy through the National Shipbuilding Strategy. 

Over the past year, we held an unprecedented number of consultations about the future of Canada’s defence policy, hearing from over 100 stakeholders and policy experts, receiving more than 20,000 online submissions, and consulting face-to-face with dozens international partners and allies.

The new Defence Policy will have a significant focus on how we take care of our women and men in uniform, and their families. I’ve heard too many stories of soldiers, sailors, and air personnel who have fallen through the cracks, read too many letters from veterans struggling after leaving the Forces, and spoken to too many parents and spouses whose loved one might still be here today if they had received the right support. We need to do right by our military personnel and their families. It will take time to get this right, but we won’t rest until we do.

In 2017, our government will continue to build upon the work we’ve done over the past year to ensure our women and men in uniform have the support, training, and equipment they need to ensure that Canada and Canadians are safe at home and abroad. We also look to recruit more women into our Forces, and to work towards the kind of diversity in our ranks that will make the Armed Forces better reflect the cultural mosaic that is Canada.

I am so proud of the work done by the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence. It is truly an honour to serve them as Minister.


Harjit S. Sajjan
Minister of National Defence
MP for Vancouver South