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Battle for Ortona Canadian Surface Analysis: PTSD Versus Canada’s Stalingrad ‘43 Combatant Costs Assessed Mefloquine Toxicity

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VOLUME 27 ISSUE 11 $5.95

4THE END OF THE VANCE ERA Canada’s Longest Serving CDS December 2020 Issue / Display until 6 January 2021 $5.95 Cdn Publications Mail # 40069149 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to Circulation Dept. 204-1066 Somerset St. W. Ottawa ON K1Y 4T3

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2  Volume 27 Issue 11

comment Scott Taylor publisher

4ON TARGET DND Propaganda Project Shut Down

last month it was reported in the media that the Department of National Defence had ordered a halt to its controversial program of ‘weaponizing’ their Public Affairs branch. This move comes in the wake of a series of news stories by Ottawa Citizen defence reporter David Pugliese, which outlined how the DND intended to use propaganda to change the attitude and behavior of Canadian citizens. It was revealed in Pugliese’s reports that the Canadian Forces planned to create “Joint Targeting and Information Operations” capability along with a Defence Strategic Communications team for the purpose of using “defence activities as a means of communication to influence the attitudes, beliefs and behaviors of the audiences.” Now the last time I checked the role of the Canadian military was to protect Canada and Canadian values, not to alter the mental state of Canadian citizens. What was most shocking about these damaging media revelations was the fact that this program had moved beyond the theoretical and was already being employed here in Canada. To date the Canadian Armed Forces have spent more than $1 million to train Public Affairs officers on behavior modification techniques. At the beginning of the pandemic, when the Canadian military was poised to deploy personnel to assist in civilian long term care facilities, the CAF established what it called a Precision Information Team (PIT). This PIT used military personnel to collect and analyze information gleaned from civilian social media accounts.

Volume 27 Issue 11 Publisher Scott Taylor Advertising Manager Ryan Lediett

This information was subsequently Senior Writer Accounting passed along to Ontario Premier Doug Julie Simoneau David Pugliese Ford to inform him that his electorate was Columnists not happy with his failure to protect the Michael Blais, Vincent J. Curtis, elderly during the COVID-19 crisis. Michael Nickerson It was also reported that the Canadian Special Events Forces had a plan to counter potential Lucille Chénier-Labrêche, CANADIAN MILITARY MAGAZINE Thérèse Darêche, Richard Lawrence, pandemic-related civil disobedience Marie Simoneau, Joanne Sisetsky by using various information warfare Contributors techniques, including broadcasting Alan Williams, Mark Zuehlke, Amber Lawson, propaganda from vehicle mounted Derek Bodner, Brian Forbes The one that’s read! loudspeakers. Esprit de Corps #204-1066 Somerset St. W., The architect behind the “enhancement” Ottawa, ON K1Y 4T3 plan for the public affairs branch was Tel: 613-725-5060 • Fax: 613-725-1019 Brigadier-General Jay Janzen, who is www.espritdecorps.ca quoted in one of the Canadian Forces Toll-free: 1-800-361-2791 strategy documents as stating, “The E-mail: [email protected] motto ‘who dares, wins’ is as applicable to Follow us on Twitter @EDC_Mag strategic communication as it is to warfare.” Subscriptions: Those familiar with military affairs 1 Year $59.95 | 2 Year $99.95 | 3 Year $145.95 will note that ‘who dares wins’ is the Esprit de Corps (ISSN 1194-2266) is Graphic operational motto of the British Special Design published twelve times a year (HST no. 135453157 included). Please send Air Service (SAS) which is one of the most cheque, money order, MasterCard or elite commando units in the world. Visa information with your subscription request. If you are moving or need to It is one hell of a stretch to compare elite correct your mailing address, call us special forces combat soldiers to a handful toll-free from anywhere in Canada. design of public affair officers monitoring civilian Facebook posts, but hey, you’ve gotta give Janzen credit for his imagination. Perhaps one of the most disturbing revelations was that of a planned campaign to counter allegations of white supremacists in the ranks of the CAF. In advance of this P.R initiative, DND had compiled dossiers on several Canadian journalists and planned to assemble a gaggle of militaryCover Photo: This month’s cover image is a portrait friendly academics and historians to push painted by Katherine Taylor. Publisher Scott Taylor the narrative that no such problem exists. presented the framed original to General Jonathan

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Publisher ... continued on p. 44

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Vance at a private ceremony on Wednesday 4 November. Publications Mail Agreement No. 40069149 Return Undeliverable Canadian Addresses to: #204-1066 Somerset St. W., Ottawa, ON K1Y 4T3 Tel: (613) 725-5060

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CONTENTS

6

FAV O U R I T E S

p

34

p

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

INDUSTRY WATCH

S to r i es

F e a t u r e s

Commentary p14 Stolen Valour - Exposing The Fraudsters p

– by Michael Blais CD

8

Icebreaker Wars - Who Will Build The New PolarClass Icebreaker – by David Pugliese –

p

p18 No More Excuses – by Michael Nickerson p20 Women Veterans’ Forum 2020

p16 Good Luck With That – by Vincent J.Curtis

26

The Battle Of Ortona:

Canada’s Bloody Little Stalingrad’ 1943 – by Mark Zuehlke –

30

p

The End Of An Era: General Jonathan Vance To Retire As Canada’s Longest Service CDS – by Scott Taylor –

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– by Military Woman

p22 Estimated Costs For The Canadian Surface



Combatant – by Alan Williams

p40 PTSD V. Mefloquine Toxicity – by Derek Bodner

Eye on Industry p21 The Heron Family:

IAI’s World-Class Multi-Mission UASs

HISTORICA CANADA p36 Kay Ruddick – Red Cross Corp

– Second World War – www.thememoryproject.com/stories

Cadet Corner p38 Youth Leaders Accept The

Unique Challenges of 2020 – by Capt. Amber Lawson

in the news p42 Veterans Affairs Backlog &

p36

Wait Times “A Perfect Storm” – by Brian Forbes

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december 2020 espritdecorps  5

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4POSTED IN

Letters to the editor

The war in Nagorno-Karabakh between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces is very little understood by Canadian politicians.

OPEN LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAU

We, as the undersigned TurkishCanadian organization representing a strong and vibrant Turkish-Canadian community, are writing to you as our Prime Minister to emphasize our concerns about the ongoing disinformation campaign in Canada with regard to the recent developments in the South Caucasus. Unfortunately, this campaign, spearheaded by Armenian-Canadian and Greek-Canadian organizations, became a tool to demonize Turks and Azerbaijanis. Our community feels that our voice is not being heard proportionally by the public. We are particularly disappointed that several Canadian politicians and media outlets have also been influenced by this one-sided approach and escalating the tension without considering the possible dangerous outcomes. As you would be aware, the hatred encouraged by these organizations recently led to violence against TurkishCanadians and Azerbaijani-Canadians. We are extremely worried that these groups 6  Volume 27 Issue 11

are importing their ethnic and religious grievances into Canada, damaging the progressive, multicultural and diverse fabric of our society. We, as proud Canadians, want to continue to live peacefully in this country, without worrying about ethnic and religious hatred against us. Therefore, we call our Prime Minister and Government; • To take every necessary step to stop this hatred campaign and avoid future violence against Turkish-Canadians and Azerbaijani-Canadians, • To support and actively work towards a peaceful resolution of the NagornoKarabakh conflict in line with the relevant UN Security Council and UN General Assembly resolutions. • To carefully monitor Armenian-Canadian organizations’ fundraisings, not to channel tax deductible Canadian funds to armed groups or other organizations that aims to change demographics of the occupied territories under the disguise of humanitarian aid, • To assume a balanced approach with regard to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, by regular dialogue with both sides, • To start a government humanitarian support program to help improving livelihoods of one million Azerbaijanis that were forced out of their homes after Armenia’s invasion of NagornoKarabakh and surrounding Azerbaijani regions in 1990s, • To condemn Armenia’s missile attacks on civilian populations in Azerbaijani cities that are far away from the frontline. We see these inhuman assaults

as Armenian attempts to spread the conflict into wider international level, • To work with international actors, including NATO ally Turkey, in a constructive manner to end conflicts and build a prosperous future in the South Caucasus. Our Government has responsibility to make sure Canada’s multi-cultural mosaic will not be harmed by imported hatred and disinformation campaigns. Our organizations believe that Canada’s peaceful approach to uphold international law, and unbiased approach to address humanitarian sufferings in South Caucasus should guide Canadian society in this case. Sincerely, The Federation of Canadian Turkish Associations

RECOGNITION WAS RECEIVED

Regarding the letter published from Dr John Bergeron and Kathleen Dickson (Opportunity Missed, Volume 27, Issue 10) regarding my recent Nobel prize for the discovery of the Hepatitis C virus, I would like to correct the implication that I did not receive congratulations from either the Alberta or Federal governments. In fact, I did receive a signed letter of congratulations from Alberta Premier Kenney as well as a congratulatory phone call from Federal Minister Bains. I would appreciate you publishing my thanks to both governments. Kind regards Michael Houghton, PhD Hon.DSc Director, Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute University of Alberta, Edmonton

FEEDBACK

Ukrainian members of the SS Galizien Division swore an oath of allegiance to Adolf Hitler in WW2

IN DEFENCE OF UKRAINIAN– CANADIANS

As a former teacher of university level history courses, as well as in personnel administration, I am writing to express annoyance, and indeed anger, at the historical ignorance displayed by some Esprit-de-Corps writers, and others elsewhere, about so-called “fascist governments” in Ukraine. Fascists in small numbers exist in small numbers in all European countries, and are not in power anywhere. And what exactly is a “fascist”? Adolph Hitler’s ultimate fascist goal was to eliminate “sub-human” Ukrainians like Igor Sikorsky, who invented the helicopter, and other talented Ukrainians and other Slavs, and then to occupy fertile Ukrainian and Russian lands with German settlers. So how can rational Ukrainians become fascists? C’est impossible! It turns out that Zhukov and other Soviet generals were

superior to the the Germans. Germany lost 25% of its territory, destruction of its cities, and millions of its own people. Western historians often neglect to inform their readers that about six million Soviet Russians and one million Soviet Ukrainian soldiers, sailors and airmen died in the war against Fascist Germany, as compared to about 450,000 Americans and 42,000 Canadians. British Empire casualties approximated those of the United States. Who am I? Do I know what I am talking about? I am a proud Canadian, born in Brandon Manitoba, to Ukrainian immigrants. I speak Ukrainian and can read French. I served as a private with the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry at the Battle of Kapyong in April, 1951, and also at other places during that year. I qualified as a paratrooper and light aircraft pilot. I graduated with two Masters degrees: M.A. (History and Political Science), and M.Ed. (Administration) after eight (8) years of training at Brandon University and the University of Manitoba. I became a 2nd lieutenant in the C.O.T.C. program and was posted to Germany for four months in the summer of 1957. (Governor-General Awards: No medal for Germany, Mike! You were not there long enough!) I taught as a volunteer, unpaid Canadian history professor in Ukraine during the 1996-97 academic year. I have published author of

six books, two about the Korean War, and two which became best-sellers: Ukrainian Canadian Eh? at about 7,000 copies, and Everyday Heroes, in which I am one contributor, at about 13,000 copies. I have been a subscriber to Esprit-deCorps for many years. I miss Les Peate, but you have some other talented writers. Bonne chance et merci. Michael “Mike” Czuboka, Winnipeg, Manitoba Editor’s Note: The articles that have appeared in Esprit de Corps have largely centered on the glorification of Ukrainian SS Division Galizien. This includes monuments built here in Canada to ‘honour’ veterans who swore an oath of allegiance to Adolf Hitler. We too dearly miss the writings of Les Peate.

Letters

... continued on page 46

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welcomes feedback from its readers via email at [email protected] or by mail to #204 – 1066 Somerset St. W., Ottawa, ON K1Y 4T3 Letters to the editor may be edited for space and clarity at the discretion of the editor.

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F e a t u r e

4Icebreaker Wars –

Who Will Build the New Polar-Class Icebreaker? By David Pugliese

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4

F e a t u r e

The jockeying for this contract was prompted by a decision from the Liberal government to remove the original Polar-class icebreaker deal from Seaspan. A political battle is brewing over the future multi-billion dollar contract to have a shipyard build a new Polar-class icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard.

It will see Seaspan on the west coast going up against Davie in Quebec. The prize will be the contract to build the Polar-class icebreaker to be called the CCGS John G. Diefenbaker. Both companies have already lined up politicians in their respective provinces to try to convince Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government of their capabilities to build the new vessel. The jockeying for this contract was prompted by a decision from the Liberal government to remove the original Polar-class icebreaker deal from Seaspan and start a new process. The Canadian government issued on Feb. 28 a Request for Information open to all Canadian shipyards; federal bureaucrats wanted information on domestic shipyard capability and capacity to construct and deliver the Polar-class vessel. “The RFI closed on March 13 with four responses received,” Public Services and Procurement Canada spokeswoman Michèle LaRose confirmed to Esprit de Corps. “The information collected through this RFI will help inform the Government of Canada’s decision about the future construction of a Polarclass icebreaker.” But LaRose couldn’t provide any specific timelines on how the project will unfold, noting that no decision has been taken on where the ship will be constructed. But there are some details. The plan would see the Polar-class icebreaker delivered by Dec. 31, 2029. The proposed ship would have a displacement of 23,700 tonnes and a length of 149 metres. It would have a minimum speed of 18 knots in open water and a range of 20,000 nautical miles. Endurance would be 250 to 280 days. It would be either fitted with or fit to receive a range of scientific sensor suites including Multi-Beam Echosounders, Sub-Bottom Profilers and Acoustic

LEFT: The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Louis S. St-Laurent operating in the Arctic Ocean Sept. 5, 2009. The Canadian government still has to outline the process for the acquisition of a new Polar-class icebreaker. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Patrick Kelley)

Doppler Current Profilers. There would be a range of scientific dry and wet laboratories on board. The icebreaker would be capable of landing, refueling, operating and storing two medium helicopters. In addition, companies that are - or would partner with - a shipyard selected to build large vessels under the National Shipbuilding Strategy were required to explain how the work to domestically deliver the icebreaker “will not cause delay or disruption to other NSS projects either planned or anticipated by the shipyard.” In other words, the construction of the icebreaker can’t interfere with or delay the other ship projects a yard has underway for the federal government. The federal government says the current fleet of heavy icebreakers, including the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, “remain in good condition and will be in operation until the polar icebreaker is delivered.” The road to get to this point has been long and controversial. The icebreaker project was announced in 2008 by the Conservative government as part of its large scale renewal of the federal fleet in what would become known as the National Shipbuilding Strategy or NSS. In 2011 Seaspan of Vancouver, BC was selected by the federal government to build the non-combatant vessels of the NSS. One of the main ships of that package was to have been the CCGS John G. Diefenbaker, a new vessel to replace the Coast Guard’s heavy icebreaker, CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent. The plan was to decommission the Louis St. S Laurent in 2017 as the new icebreaker came on line. To prepare for the NSS, Seaspan invested $185 million in its Vancouver yard. But the icebreaker project ran into problems and delays and the budget increased from $720 million to $1.3 billion. The federal government decided that Seaspan would first build the Joint Support Ships for the Royal Canadian Navy and the planned delivery date for the icebreaker was moved to 2022. Meanwhile, the Chantier Davie shipyard of Levis, Que., was working behind the scenes to get contracts under the National Shipbuilding Strategy. The Davie yard was in bankruptcy when the federal government originally selected Irving and Seaspan as the two firms to build the government’s vessels as part of the NSS. But since then the Davie yard went through an economic renewal and was solidly back and up running. december 2020 espritdecorps  9

F e a t u r e

“In December of 2019 the Canadian government announced that Davie had been pre-qualified to become the third strategic partner under the National Shipbuilding Strategy.”

Alex Vicefield, Chairman and CEO of Inocea Group, the parent company of Davie Shipbuilding and Federal Fleet Services, pointed out that the Canadian government was going to invest almost $100 billion dollars over the next 20 to 30 years on renewing its fleets.  Quebec represented 50 per cent of Canada’s shipbuilding capacity and 23 per cent of the country’s tax base yet it was receiving less than one per cent of federal spending on shipbuilding, Vicefield said. The message was clear: Quebec was looking for its share. Federal Fleet Services, a sister firm to Davie, had already made waves with a number of unsolicited proposals to the Canadian government to provide icebreakers. In addition, Federal Fleet and Davie had won a hard fought battle to provide the Royal Canadian Navy with the Asterix, a leased supply ship that would be used until the Joint Support Ships could be built by Seaspan. Davie’s lobbying paid off. In August 2018, the Canadian government announced that Davie would be awarded a $610 million contract to provide three medium used commercial icebreakers. The price tag included conversion of the first vessel for the Canadian Coast Guard. The icebreakers were being bought to assist with icebreaking operations while the Coast Guard’s existing fleet underwent vessel life extension, repair and planned maintenance periods. The vessels were to be assigned to carry out icebreaking duties in Atlantic Canada, the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes and Arctic regions. Then, in the summer of 2019, the Liberal government announced that Seaspan would no longer build the Polar-class icebreaker. It did not provide details on why the project was being taken away from the firm. To soften the blow the federal government announced that Seaspan would be provided with new work. The yard would receive an order for 16 Multi-Purpose Vessels or MPVs that would be built for the Canadian Coast Guard. The MPVs would be multi-tasked icebreaking ships, equipped with a wide-range of capabilities. The Coast Guard had already started work on the

ABOVE RIGHT: The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon breaks ice across Lake Erie, Feb. 14, 2016. The Griffon is a High Endurance Multi-Tasked Vessel and Light Icebreaker. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class James Althouse) 10  Volume 27 Issue 11

requirements and concept of the MPVs and the first ship delivery was planned for 2028. In December of 2019 the Canadian government announced that Davie had been pre-qualified to become the third strategic partner under the National Shipbuilding Strategy. The job of the NSS’s third yard would be to build six program icebreakers for the Canadian Coast Guard. No mention, however, was made about the Polar-class icebreaker. But in an interview earlier this year Coast Guard Commissioner Mario Pelletier told Esprit de Corps that his organization was still committed to the icebreaker project. However, because so much time had passed since the announcement of the original project it made sense to re-examine the requirements and update them if necessary. With the removal of the project from Seaspan and the naming of Davie as a third NSS shipyard, it was widely expected that the Quebec firm would eventually win the Polar-class icebreaker contract. Still, that is not a given. The request for information issued in February 2020 to shipyards has launched a new battle over the icebreaker deal.

december 2020 espritdecorps  11

F e a t u r e

“The Liberal government announced that Seaspan would no longer build the Polar-class icebreaker. It did not provide details.”

Seaspan has made some strategic moves in the last several months as it attempts to win back the Polar class icebreaker deal. First it announced a deal with Heddle Shipyards in Ontario. If Seaspan wins the icebreaker contract Heddle will fabricate ship modules at its three Ontario shipyards, in Hamilton, St. Catharines and Thunder Bay, and at its facility in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador. The next move by Seaspan, this time in September, expanded its Polar icebreaker team to included Genoa Design International in Newfoundland.  The two firms entered into an exclusive teaming agreement to design and build the icebreaker. Under that agreement, if Seaspan Shipyards is awarded the contract to build the Polar-class icebreaker by the Government of Canada, then Genoa would provide 3D modeling and design services for the program. Andrew Furey, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador has supported the deal. Premier John Horgan in British Columbia has also waded into the Polar icebreaker debate. Horgan has said the icebreaker contract is critical for the future of shipbuilding in British Columbia and he has written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the need for the contract to be awarded to Seaspan. “I believe that Seaspan and the shipbuilding industry here in British Columbia deserve support, and I made that abundantly clear to the prime minister,” said Horgan. In a September interview with the Canadian Press news service, Seaspan president Mark Lamarre emphasized that the company invested heavily in its shipyard based on the understanding that it would build the Polar-class icebreaker. “I want to underscore again that this is work that we felt we won,” he repeatedly stated. Davie has responded by positioning the firm as Canada’s centre of excellence for icebreaking vessels. In August, the company announced it had created a National Icebreaker Centre, billing it as “Canada’s polar hub” and suggesting that all federal icebreakers be constructed at the its facility. “Building and sustaining Arctic vessels is in our DNA and it’s the challenge we’ve risen to given the physical location of our shipyard,” said Alex Vicefield. “With the launch of the NIC we are proactively developing a centre of excellence for polar technologies. Constructing the entire Canadian polar icebreaker fleet at Davie will ensure program success.” 12  Volume 27 Issue 11

Davie’s messaging was that it had been chosen as “Canada’s icebreaker partner “ under the NSS and that its facility was the only one in the country with the capacity, infrastructure and experience to work on polar icebreakers. It pledged to deliver the first Polar-class icebreaker 2.5 years ahead of the current schedule. It also highlighted that it had a Canadian supply chain of over 1,300 companies and intended to target the export market. Over half of the world›s icebreaker fleet is more than 40 years old and demand is outstripping supply. Davie argues there is a sizeable market for its capabilities, a message designed to build on the Liberal government’s desire for a sustained shipbuilding industry producing high value jobs. In addition, the federal government announced in October that it intended to award Davie a life extension contract on the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent. The deal was being handled through the Advance Contract Award Notice process, essentially a sole source contract. The Liberal government did not provide information on the cost of the contract but federal bureaucrats determined that Davie was the only facility in eastern Canada with a dry dock large enough to perform this work on the Louis S. St-Laurent. The icebreaker had already undergone repair, refit and maintenance work in 2014, 2017 and 2019. What is becoming clear is that the outcome of the icebreaker wars likely won’t be known for a couple of years. The Liberal government states it wants the Polar-class icebreaker to be built in the “most efficient manner” but has not provided any details. But with a delivery date set for the end of 2029, and the life extension of the existing CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent allowing that vessel to operate until then, the pressure is less intense on the federal government to make a decision on how it will proceed. In the meantime, politicians from various parts of the country will lobby for their favoured shipyard and companies will try to position themselves for the winning bid. 

David Pugliese

is Canada’s top defence journalist. If you would like to be included in Industry Watch write to [email protected] Follow him at Twitter.com/davidpugliese

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COMMENTARY

4Stolen Valour –

Exposing the Fraudsters Michael Blais CD

My first experience with Stolen Valour occurred over a decade ago shortly after being elected as president of the local chapter of The Royal Canadian Regimental Association (RCR). The branch had participated in a veterans orientated event in Niagara and after the parade, some Korean War veterans cornered me at the local legion. They pointedly noted there was an elderly member within our branch who was wearing Korean War medals despite the fact that, while he was serving at the time of the conflict, he did not actually deploy to Korea. They were not impressed. They had approached the individual themselves but to no avail and they therefore expressed expectations of me to resolve the matter as a fellow member of the RCR. Never Pass a Fault is the regimental motto, and the issue was quickly sorted. The second time was of far greater consequence. We were proudly flying the regimental banner, while participating in a convention level parade through the streets of Niagara Falls which was hosted by the local Legion. Afterwards, I was approached by a retired Company Sergeant Major (CSM) of The Royal Canadian Regiment and Canadian Airborne Regiment (CAR). He was an older fellow who certainly looked the part! His pants were sharply creased, shoes polished, medals affixed perfectly on a Michael Blais CD Pres/founder, Canadian Veterans Advocacy. He can be reached at: [email protected]

14  Volume 27 Issue 11

sharp blue blazer adorned with The RCR’s Snr NCO’s crest, medals, American and Canadian parachute wings inclusive with the white leaf of the CAR. This Sergeant Major claimed to be a member of The RCR Association’s Toronto Branch, who had been dispatched by Regimental HQ to escort one of The Regiment’s Memorial Cross Mothers to Niagara for the parade. Naively our group welcomed him. Throughout that summer he travelled to Niagara to participate with

“Some due diligence research into the regimental archives revealed that no such CSM ever existed!” the Support the Troops rallies which our RCR Branch was organizing in Niagara Falls, Niagara on the Lake and Fort Erie in support of the Crystal Beach Volunteer Firemen (CBVF). The CBVF were seeking to create the Albert Storm Memorial Park and Boat launch on shores of Lake Erie. Pro Patria, mission accomplished. Tragically, it was the cruel loss of another regimental brother in Afghanistan and the subsequent provision of the Memorial Cross (MC) to his family which revealed this case of stolen valour. Seeking guidance from Regimental HQ in respect to potential MC protocols should the family accede to our offer of support, I mentioned Sergeant Major X and the Memorial Cross mother whom

he had previously escorted, supposedly at RHQ’s request, to Niagara earlier that summer. “Who’s that?” they asked. Fly the Red Flag! Some due diligence research into the regimental archives revealed that no such CSM ever existed! I was shocked and I thought to myself; What kind of individual does that? Who would deceive a grieving Memorial Cross Mother in such a cruel manner? What kind of individual perpetuates such deception on the veterans community by exploiting the spilled blood of the Royal Canadian Regiment? Why go to such elaborate lengths to obtain all the trappings and uniform items to complete his deception? More importantly the question begs, why? What purpose could this possibly serve? Could this have been part of a nefarious scheme designed to grift a distraught Memorial Cross mom out of any financial settlement accorded to her by the government in respect to her son’s tragic death in Afghanistan? My concerns were shared by RHQ in Petawawa. The Military Police were alerted, which in turn initiated an investigation that would ultimately include the Niagara Regional Police Service. Military emissaries were dispatched to the home of the Memorial Cross mother to explain what was transpiring and to provide her support if needed. The case unfolded thus: Mr. Stolen Valour was invited to the Niagara Falls Police Station police station for an interview.

Blais ... continued on page 46

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COMMENTARY

4Good Luck with That Vincent J. Curtis

Nearly twenty-five years ago there was a guided discussion concerning the dangers of “western hate groups” infiltrating the Canadian Forces. In those days, the Heritage Front, founded in 1989 by Wolfgang Droege, Gary Lincoln, and CSIS agent Grant Bristow, was the most infamous of Canada’s “far-right.” The Heritage Front was, by then, practically defunct, and went officially defunct in 2005. After some discussion, one of the course candidates said that he knew a couple of members of a “western hate group.” “Really?” asked the instructor. “Tell us about it.” “Well,” replied the candidate quietly, “they have guns. They wear these uniforms, and they practice fighting in the woods.” The other candidates leaned in, eyes widening. “Can you tell us who they are?” asked the instructor. “I don’t know the name of the group, but their initials are P-P-C-L-I.” Everybody laughed. They liked the association of western Canada’s Regular Force infantry regiment with ‘western hate group.’ The Canadian military has dealt with “farright” “hate groups” before. The promise by Lt-Gen Wayne Eyre, the new Commander of the Canadian Army, to deal with the “infiltration” of “far-right” “hate groups” is ploughing old ground.

Vincent J. Curtis

is a freelance writer who is interested in military and international affairs www.curtisreports.blogspot.com

16  Volume 27 Issue 11

Eyre told CBC News that he wants to rid the army of soldiers who are “suspected of hateful conduct and extremism.” (One wonders if killing people, destroying things, and the practicing thereof are acts hateful conduct and extremism. But, I digress.) Eyre faces legal obstacles. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees freedom of thought, belief, expression; peaceful assembly, and association. On the face of it, holding unpopular political beliefs is protected by the Charter

“LGen Eyre wishes to rid the Army of right wing extremists.”

Prime Minister Trudeau kneels in obeisance to Black Lives Matter. (CTV News)

and protected from disciplinary or administrative action under the National Defense Act. So long as the member causes no disciplinary issues and acts on his beliefs lawfully on his own time, he should be in the clear. Reservists especially. This crusade for ideological purity began with Corey Hurren’s mad-cap attack on Rideau Hall, where the Governor-General resides and Prime Minister Trudeau currently has a hovel. Hurren allegedly had firearms in his truck. Nobody was hurt, Hurren arrested, and neither the GG nor PM were on the property at the time. It so happened that Hurren was a member of a Canadian Ranger Patrol, and a rather

good one at that. Being a Ranger was all the hook needed for the CBC to associate the Canadian Armed Forces with an alleged attempt on the lives of Julie Payette and Justin Trudeau. Hurren’s alleged connection with “far-right” “hate-groups” juiced the story. Then, in hot pursuit of ideological enemies, the CBC revealed that Erik Myggland not only supported two “far-right” groups, but was allowed to continue as a Ranger.in northern B.C. after a counterint investigation. It gets worse. Former reservist sapper Patrik Mathews allegedly became a member of “The Base” (al-Qaeda in Arabic), another alleged “far-right” “neoNazi” group. A naval reservist in Calgary, Boris Mihajlovic, reportedly administered a neo-Nazi hate forum that gave rise to a group called “Atomwaffen Division,” both now defunct. The harassed Lt-Gen Eyre admitted to the CBC that “the army has a growing problem of “right-wing extremism,” and reiterated his determination to “crush hateful ideology and acts in the ranks.” He expressed his disappointment at members who hold Nazism as a way of life. “There is absolutely no place in the Canadian Army for those who hold hateful beliefs and express these beliefs through hateful behaviour.” The CBC, the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and no doubt Superior Commanders are pressuring Eyre for “action.” However, action to eradicate certain political beliefs sets precedent for morale crushing hypocrisy as other, politically sensitive, beliefs are allowed. BLM, Islam, anyone? 

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december 2020 espritdecorps  17

COMMENTARY

4No more excusEs Michael Nickerson

Gifts come in many forms. They can be wrapped in bows or stuffed in an envelope and slipped under a door; they can be that speeding ticket you should have gotten but didn’t (thank you, officer). There’s the gift of life, as they say, which tends to be all the sweeter when you’re about to lose it. But some gifts come in dark wrappings, perhaps unexpected and not wholly understood when they first arrive unbidden on the proverbial doorstep, yet a gift all the same. Two words: Donald Trump. He’s certainly not someone you would want to find under your Christmas tree, at least not at first blush. And he certainly was not the President-elect the world was expecting during those early hours of November 9th, 2016. Though for a wet-behind-the-ears prime minister only a year into his mandate, he was manna from heaven. Perhaps Justin Trudeau wouldn’t see it that way, at least publicly. Having planned for the calm, reasoned, and more to the point, experienced candidate who was Hillary Clinton, he got something rather different. He got a man-child; an unpredictable, insecure narcissist with the nuclear codes, covered in bronzer and oblivious to his own idiocy. But he was the walking, talking embodiment of the perfect excuse. How can we get anything done with this idiot in the White House? Now, if you’ll remember back in 2015, Team Justin™ had essentially promised Michael Nickerson has been a columnist for Esprit de Corps since 2005. He can be reached at: [email protected]

18  Volume 27 Issue 11

Canadians a to-do list somewhere this side of frenetic: Climate change? We’ll fix that; Reconciliation with First Nations? No problem; Saving the Middle-Class? Break out the party favours and let’s go buy ourselves a new car! Following through on that proposed largess was another matter entirely. Still is, really (just ask First Nations about their clean water supply), but that’s where ‘The Donald’ has come in so handy.

“For a wet-behind-the-ears prime minister only a year into his mandate, he was manna from heaven.”

As a case in point, consider that vaunted declaration of military support – Strong, Secure, Engaged – that the Liberals made back in 2017. To be fair, this document had all the hallmarks of one planned for our big brother to the south to go all Democrat, stay somewhat sane, and more importantly stay consistent. It was a twenty year plan after all. Say what you want about Hillary Clinton, but you knew what you were in for. Yet Strong, Secure, Engaged promised just about everything to everybody, and if Canadian political history is anything to go by, doomed to never reach the lofty targets it set for itself. Feel free to look it up, but

to date the whole plan is behind schedule, poorly managed, and underfunded. And this was the case before the current pandemic hit the world. But the Trump Factor has been a handy thing to have in your back pocket to excuse missed deadlines and underfunding. We were focused on renegotiating trade! We didn’t want to offend! Walking on shattered glass hurts! Whether it be NATO commitments, procurement difficulties, recruitment, or UN obligations, failure to follow through has always had Trump in the background as something to point to and blame. Well gosh darn, those crazy people to the south have elected a new President. He’s a sane man, an adult. And he’ll be back at the table expecting us to follow through with our commitments, via NATO and NORAD. It’ll be incumbent on Team Justin™ to negotiate just what those commitments should be going forward, particularly in a post-pandemic world. Strong, Secure, Engaged is bound for the recycle bin. There will be adults back in Washington as of January 20th. And much will be expected of us from our neighbour and ally when that day comes. There will also be far less wiggle room financially for us to meet those expectations. One can only hope that Trudeau (well Chrystia Freeland really, our de facto PM) is reaching out to the soon-to-be Biden administration, recalibrating our defence and foreign policy to meet a paradigm shift in world affairs. Donald Trump provided a pretext for inaction on the part of western nations over the last four years. I’m willing to bet Joe Biden will make things a little harder to excuse. 

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december 2020 espritdecorps  19

COMMENTARY

4Women Veterans’ Forum 2020 Military Woman

Question: Was there a 2020 Women Veterans’ Forum? Answer: Yes! Before we discuss the 2020 Women Veterans’ Forum (WVF), let’s do a quick review of why such forums are needed in the first place. Most members of the defence team are aware of the four legally mandated federal equity groups under the Employment Equity Act—women, members of visible minorities, Indigenous peoples, and persons with disabilities. In addition, because of evolved societal awareness and the LGBT Purge class action lawsuit settlement, LGBTQ2 is commonly now considered as an additional equity group. The military, to its credit, has established multiple pathways (e.g., Defence Advisory Groups/networks and senior leadership “Champions”) to ensure that any defence team member’s inequity concerns are heard and rapidly addressed. There is, however, no equivalent system in place for Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) clients. VAC primarily listens to systemic veteran concerns through its Ministerial Advisory Groups (MAGs) and various working groups. Unfortunately, VAC doesn’t automatically include equity group representation considerations in its selection of veterans for its committees. As a result, there is no recognized mechanism within VAC for women veterans (who represent both the

Military Woman invites respectful questions and comments on all women in the military issues. Please address comments to: Military Woman, c/o [email protected] or by mail to #204-1066 Somerset St. W., Ottawa, Ontario K1Y 4T3.

20  Volume 27 Issue 11

largest and the most rapidly growing of the five equity groups), to have women-specific issues meaningfully heard, prioritized and /or addressed. This defacto institutional silencing of military women-specific inequity concerns signalled the need for new advocacy tactics, such as lobbying government directly for stand-alone women veterans events.

“Lisa Campbell, followed in the footsteps of her previous boss to become now the new President, Canadian Space Agency.”

Lisa Campbell, previous Associate Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs (CREDIT: Government of Canada)

The culmination of these advocacy efforts was the inaugural Women Veterans’ Forum held on May 23, 2019 (Charlottetown, PEI). Lawrence MacAulay, the newly named Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, attended and personally committed to annual women specific forums. The promised in-person May 2020 WVF was understandably rescheduled due to COVID, and re-designed as three 90-minute online “update” sessions that ran early this fall. Lisa Campbell, then Associate Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs, moderated a

VAC, CAF and WAGE (Women and Gender Equality) panel for the first “update” session (Aug. 26, 2020). This session opened with a review of basic equity and GISSO terminology (Gender Identity, Sex at Birth, and Sexual Orientation) to establish a shared understanding of key terms and concepts. Departmental updates included the tabling of VAC’s first GBA+ Strategy (March 2020), and the creation of the new “Office of Women and LGBTQ2” (July 2019). Stakeholders, however, remain curious as to why the government rejected the many recommended alternative names, including the more inclusive “Office of Equity”. VAC also acknowledged that, historically, veterans have not always felt respected or treated with dignity in their interactions with the department. To address this, several proactive steps to improve future VAC service provision were described (e.g., trauma, gender and culturally informed awareness training for VAC front line staff, and more robust efforts to ensure the meaningful inclusion of veterans’ voices and lived experienced at all levels of VAC’s work). Stakeholder key take-aways from this first WVF session included: 1) Prevention, where possible, of servicerelated injury and illness for the incoming generation of service women remains a top priority for many injured/ill women veterans. Continued efforts by CAF/ DND, and RCMP/Public Safety, to communicate and work closer together with VAC to capture and integrate women veteran’s hard-earned downstream lessons back upstream to CAF is highly encouraged.

Military Woman ... cont’D on page 46

Eye on industry

4The Heron Family IAI’s World-class Multi-Mission UASs

In yet another technological leap forward, IAI, through its Heron TP, has developed a larger, more capable, flexible platform that redefines what unmanned aerial systems (UAS) are capable of.

Governments today must rise to the challenges of watching over vast territories to manage complex and varied missions. UAS taskings range from assuring sovereignty to observing the effects of climate change to patrolling borders and coastlines and include protecting troops in close combat. UASs must accomplish all this while flying longer missions, carrying heavier payloads, and reaching higher altitudes. The Heron family, with the TP as its largest and most powerful offering, does all of this and more. “These capabilities demand high reliability and solid designs that address different operational needs and doctrines,” says Avi Bleser, Vice President Marketing and Sales at IAI’s Military Aircraft Group. “The experience we have gained in four decades of operations with more than 50 customers worldwide has shaped the ongoing evolution of the Heron family.” Maintaining mission availability also means deploying from runways at an altitude of 11,000 ft., from air bases in the Himalayas and Andes.

Above: IAI first introduced the Heron Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) over 25 years ago. Above right: The Heron TP is powered by a 1200 hp engine made by Pratt & Whitney Canada.

The ability to operate in temperature extremes from +45 to -40 C, and through extreme weather, strong winds and heavy rain or snow, across expansive territory, make the Heron TP ideal for Canada, particularly in its vast Arctic region. Most recently, on 16 September 2020, the Heron made history by demonstrating its ability to land and takeoff at a major international airport alongside commercial flights using only satellite technology and its “Long Runner” operating system. This puts the Heron TP in a class by itself. IAI began developing their new Heron family 25 years ago. In 1994 the first Heron variant was launched. It was a platform weighing 1.18 tons on takeoff, with a remarkable ceiling of 30,000 feet, propelled by an engine that enabled the drone to fly clandestine intelligence gathering missions without the distinctive ‘sawmill’ noise that other drones made. Highly flexible and adapted to a wide variety of missions, this platform was a revolutionary step forward. In 1998, Heron Mk 1 introduced the world’s first multi-mission UAS. This version supported a payload which included an electrooptical/infrared (EO/IR) sighting device, surveillance radar, signals intelligence (SIGINT) and communications intelligence (COMINT) electronics surveillance and a broadband datalink to transmit sensor data to the ground control station.

EYE on industry ... continued on page 44 december 2020 espritdecorps  21

COMMENTARY

4ESTIMATED COSTS FOR

THE CANADIAN SURFACE COMBATANTS ALAN WILLIAMS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (this is an extract from the full study which is available at http://espritdecorps.ca/eye-on-industry/ estimated-costs-for-the-canadian-surface-combatants-csc Between $213.5 and $219.6 billion dollars. This is the estimated price tag to acquire, operate and support the Canadian Surface Combatants throughout their life-cycle of approximately 30 years. Approximately two-thirds of these costs are attributable to the long-term operations and support (O&S) costs of the CSC. This figure does not include another $19 billion dollars due to COST FACTOR Pre-production (as per PBO) Production (as per PBO)

COSTS COSTS EXCLUDING INCLUDING RISK FACTORS RISK FACTORS 5.3

5.3

53.2

53.2

143.6

143.6

Weight risk

4.3

Project-wide (as per PBO) Long-term O&S costs

11.4

1-year delay risk Technical risk Total Costs

213.5

11.4

1.7 .1

219.6

ABOVE: An artist’s rendition of the proposed Type 26 Frigate which has been selected as Canada’s future Surface Combatant. ABOVE LEFT: This Graphic Table summarizes these expected costs (in $ billions). 22  Volume 27 Issue 11

needless and unnecessarily lengthy schedule delays. Compared to a similar acquisition by the US Navy (The FFG(X) program) the CSC program will take over three times as long for our Navy to receive its first ship and will cost Canadians nearly three times as much per ship. While shocking in its magnitude, these costs were predictable from the moment the ill-conceived procurement process to acquire these ships was announced. What else could one expect from a process: 1. Where the federal government chose to abdicate its responsibility to acquire goods and services on behalf of the taxpayer and to offload the accountability to the private sector; 2. Where core procurement principles of openness, fairness and transparency are replaced by practices that are of restrictive, biased and opaque; 3. Where the federal government can require bidders to summarily transfer their Intellectual Property to potential competitors; and 4. Where taking more than a decade to acquire a single (first) ship is deemed acceptable. Seven different cost factors were examined to determine the total costs for the CSC. Three of these factors - the pre-production costs, the production costs and the project-wide costs were extracted from the 2019 update on the costs of the CSC produced by the Office of the Parliamentary Budgetary Officer (PBO) [1]. These cost estimates were developed by the PBO using costing software and then compared to alternative heuristic methods. It is excellent work and there is no reason to second-guess its results.

COMMENTARY

“There are also legitimate concerns that some of the systems and weapons chosen for the CSC may not provide the capability to undertake the missions required of the Navy.”

The PBO is currently working to update these costs. To the extent that they are changed, so too will these cost estimates in this paper need to be modified. In addition to these costs, this paper examines the cost impact of four further factors – the long-term O&S costs and the potential costs due to risks involving schedule delays, weight increases and technical issues. There are also legitimate concerns that some of the systems and weapons chosen for the CSC may not provide the capability to undertake the missions required of the Navy. These are detailed in the full paper and need to be addressed immediately. Both major political parties – Conservatives and Liberals – have significant culpability for a defective process that has been long, convoluted and expensive. Senior bureaucrats also bear a large responsibility for conceiving of, or acquiescing to, this seriously flawed process. Correcting the flaws in this procurement should

be approached not as a partisan exercise, but as a collective public policy challenge where ideas are judged on their quality rather than their party origin. 

[1] Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, The Cost of Canada’s Surface Combatants: 2019 Update, June 21 2019

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Mr. Williams is a former ADM(MAT) at DND. He is now President of The Williams Group, providing expertise in the areas of policy, strategic planning and procurement. He has authored two books, “Reinventing Canadian Defence Procurement: A View from the Inside” published in 2006 and “Canada, Democracy and the F-35” published in 2012. He can be reached at [email protected]

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24  Volume 27 Issue 11

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HISTORY feature

The Battle Of Or

Canada’s Bloody ‘Little S

26 26   Volume Volume 27 27 Issue Issue 11 11

HISTORY feature

rtona

Stalingrad’ 1943

By Mark Zuehlke

s

A bold dash. Another madman’s gamble. Major Jim Stone believed he knew how to smash through 1st Parachute Division’s defences along Corso Vittorio Emanuele. If the German intent was to funnel the Canadians down its length through one killing zone after another, and there was no way for the Loyal Edmonton Regiment to outflank these zones, then the solution was to do the unexpected. LEFT: A staged ‘combat’ photo of a Canadian infantry section during the fighting in the streets of Ortona 1943.

December december 2020 2020 espritdecorps  27

HISTORY feature

“Armoured tactical doctrine that stated tanks were not only of limited value in fighting within built-up areas but also extremely vulnerable to being destroyed by enemy action.”

R

unning like wildmen up the ditch had allowed his mangled company to win entry to Ortona. So why not do the same thing on a grander, more daring scale? Was not the Corso itself rather like a ditch? After the first day’s dreadful fighting in the Ortona streets, Stone knew that the Germans would expect the Canadians to advance cautiously in the morning. But moving into the face of the enemy could only result in a prolonged and bloody house-tohouse fight. Yesterday had proven how costly such an approach would be. Stone sought a way to prevent the regiment being decimated by the heavy casualties that a protracted battle in a

ABOVE: The German paratroopers defending Ortona were battlehardened veterans. Above right: The tenacious defence of Ortona forced the Canadians to fight from house to house.

28  Volume 27 Issue 11

town must entail. It was entirely likely that the paratroopers were not holding the town in great depth. They probably had a strong, well-manned defensive line. Behind that there was unlikely to be any significant number of defenders. The paratroopers would be planning on withdrawing in staged steps from one prepared defensive position to another, bleeding the Canadians every step of the way. Stone was certain that the parachute division was implementing in Ortona a small-scale version of the strategy which Tenth Army had implemented so effectively to slow the Eighth Army’s advance all the way up the boot of Italy. If he could pierce the line and get behind the Germans, they would be unable to re-establish a blocking line in front of his advance. The paratroopers would have to abandon Ortona or be isolated inside the town and face destruction. Boldness was the key. What Stone needed was to hit the paratroopers with a miniature “colossal crack” that would send them reeling right out of Ortona. Stone tracked down the Three Rivers Regiment tank commander and explained his plan. “Let’s start at first light tomorrow morning,” he said. “You put your tanks in low gear, get your sirens going, and fire your main armament at every

HISTORY feature

“In a battle where troops were facing each other across distances of mere feet, trying to exercise effective control or to dictate strategy from such a distance to the rear was difficult.” building forward of you and your machine guns at the houses on the side of the road. I’ll put my infantry alongside the tanks and let’s try and go through.” It took some argument, because the commander started quoting chapter and verse from armoured tactical doctrine that stated tanks were not only of limited value in fighting within built-up areas but also extremely vulnerable to being destroyed by enemy action. Finally, however, Stone won the tank commander’s somewhat reluctant agreement to give the gamble a try. That Stone was developing the tactics for the Edmontons’ December 22 attack reflected a shift in the regiment’s lines of command. Lieutenant Colonel Jim Jefferson had established his battalion headquarters on Ortona’s outskirts. This was unlike Seaforth Highlanders of Canada battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Syd Thomson, who had set up shop right on the town’s edge in Santa Maria di Costantanopoli.

In fact, Jefferson’s headquarters was almost as far back as 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade commander Brigadier Bert Hoffmeister’s. In a battle where troops were facing each other across distances of mere feet, trying to exercise effective control or to dictate strategy from such a distance to the rear was difficult, if not impossible. Because of the distance between Jefferson’s headquarters and the rifle companies in Ortona, command of the Edmonton Regiment effectively shifted to the senior commander on the immediate scene. That was Major Jim Stone. The officer was well suited to the role. He was resourceful, independent-minded, determined, brave to the point of near recklessness and, because he had come up through the ranks, well versed in small-unit tactics.

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Above: During a brief lull in the fighting a Canadian soldier hams it up for the camera from a shell hole.

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Above right: German paratroopers fire a mortar from a well fortified position outside Ortona. december 2020 espritdecorps  29

HISTORY feature

“Stone was elated. The attack rolled forward against virtually no opposition. He figured the Germans were frozen by fear and confusion.”

Stone’s attack went forward as planned. Tanks of the Three Rivers Regiment’s No. 2 Troop moved out in single file down the very centre of the Corso, Stone’s ‘D’ Company led for the Edmontons, the other two companies following. Losses on December 21 had been so high that Jefferson had ordered the rifle companies reduced from their normal strength of four companies to three. Even so, each company, including a reinforced ‘D’ Company, barely mustered 60 men apiece instead of what should have been a total strength of more than 400. Stone found the noise made by the tanks’ sirens and the thunder of their 75-millimetre guns in the narrow street “terrifying.” The distance from Piazza Vittoria to Piazza Municipali, where a small cathedral and the municipal hall stood, was 300 yards. The Corso descended from the Canadian-held square to the municipal square on a grade of about 3 percent. This meant that the Canadians would be well silhouetted for

Above Left: The german defenders put up a determined resistance and very few prisoners surrendered to the Canadians. Above Right: Canadian medics work frantically to treat a wounded soldier in the rubble of a shell blasted building. Above: Although new to the concept of urban warfare, the Canadians soon learned the craft well. 30  Volume 27 Issue 11

the German defenders during their advance. The buildings lining this section of street were relatively modern, built in the last two centuries. To the west of the Corso, for the entire length running from the Piazza Vittoria to Piazza Municipali, the streets and buildings dated back to the Renaissance. Beyond Piazza Municipali, past the shattered ruin of Cattedrale San Tomasso to the ancient castle overlooking the sea, the Corso narrowed and the surrounding buildings and streets became a warren of buildings dating back to the 1400s. Stone was elated. The attack rolled forward against virtually no opposition. He figured the Germans were frozen by fear and confusion. Progress toward the main square was rapid. Ahead stood a massive rubble pile, perhaps 25 feet high. It appeared to have been constructed by blowing the better part of the cathedral on the edge of the square out into the street. Despite the height of the pile, Stone thought the tanks could get over it. If tanks and men kept going, they would get right through to the castle and the battle would be won.  Next Month: Part Two Battle of Ortona – Resistance Stiffens

Excerpted from Ortona – Canada’s Epic World War II Battle by Mark Zuehlke. Published by Douglas & McIntyre. All rights reserved. www.zuehlke.ca

perspectives

4THE END

OF AN ERA

General Jonathan Vance to retire as Canada’s longest serving CDS by Scott Taylor Photos by Richard Lawrence

It was announced on 23 July, 2020 that General Jonathan Vance would not be seeking an extension to his appointment as CDS and would soon take his retirement. To date (at time of writing) there has still been no official selection of Vance’s successor. Once that announcement is made the clock will start ticking down on what is expected to be about a 6 week transition period between the outgoing and incoming CDS. However, the end is definitely nigh and we felt that the time was right to reflect upon the career of General Vance, and more specifically review his tenure as CDS upon which his public legacy will be founded.

The Croatian Connection I first met Jonathan Vance in 1998 during my research for the book Tested Mettle: Canada’s Peacekeepers at War. At that time I learned that he had been the operations officer for the 1RCR Battle group in Croatia the night that Privates Phillip Badani and John Tescioni were ambushed on New Year’s eve 1994. Their Iltis jeep had been riddled with machine gun bullets and both soldiers were badly wounded by a handful of Serbian militiamen.

For the book, my wife Katherine did a series of combat illustrations and the Badani – Tescioni ambush (shown) was one of those scenes depicted. Her original painting is on display at the Canadian War Museum along with the bullet riddled Iltis jeep itself. december 2020 espritdecorps  31

perspectives

mounted a one year UN support mission to Mali. That mission ended in September 2019 and involved approximately 250 aircrew and ground support staff who were employed as a casualty evacuation resource for UN peacekeepers.

DOMESTIC DEPLOYMENTS

Born the son of Jack Vance, a Canadian Infantry officer who would rise to the rank of Lieutenant-General and retire as Canada’s VCDS in 1985, Jonathan soon found himself following in his father’s stellar career path. He joined the military in 1982 and graduated from Royal Roads Military College as a commissioned officer in 1986. He rose steadily through the ranks of the Royal Canadian Regiment and saw frontline service in the former Yugoslavia. However his most high profile position was that of Task Force Commander of the Canadian Battle Group in Kandahar, Afghanistan, not once but twice, in 2009 and again in 2010. Vance also served as the deputy commander of Allied Joint Force Command in Naples and he had a brief stint as the commander of Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC) before being appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to his present post in July 2015.

INTERNATIONAL DEPLOYMENTS

During Vance’s tenure as CDS the Canadian Armed Forces have seen a steady increase in overseas deployments. This contrasts sharply with the fact that the CAF’s public profile has all but disappeared during that same time-frame. The reason for this is that unlike the Afghanistan mission wherein the Canadian Soldier was named Newsmaker of the Year in 2006 because of the steady stream of heartbreaking casualties suffered, the current deployments have been virtually bloodless. With the exception of a single friendly-fire fatality in northern Iraq in March, 2015 (prior to Vance’s appointment to CDS) Canada has not had a combat related fatality in over a half decade. (Tragically Canada has had personnel killed recently due to accidents which occurred in the line of duty including; the May 17 crash of a Snowbird Squadron jet which killed Capt. Jennifer Casey, the 25 May Cyclone Helicopter crash which killed Capt. Kevin Hagen, Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough, Capt. Brenden Ian MacDonald, Master Cpl. Matthew Cousins, Sub-Lt. Matthew Pyke, and Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin, and the 31 October training range dead of Cpl. James Choi ). At present Canada has troops forward deployed to Latvia, Ukraine and Iraq. On Vance’s watch Canada also

Above: General Vance and publisher Scott Taylor presented GovernorGeneral Julie Payette with her Top Women in Defence plaque in 2018. Right: General Vance and his wife Kerry were on hand for Esprit de Corps’ 30th anniversary reception hosted by Scott & Katherine Taylor. 32  Volume 27 Issue 11

Over the past five years, literally thousands of Canadian soldiers have been deployed across Canada as an aid to the civil powers. Almost all such activities are considered to be part of what is known as Operation Laser and these efforts have included flood relief support in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. In January of 2020 Combat Engineers were dispatched to Newfoundland to help the islanders to dig themselves out from under a oncein-a-century snow storm. When the pandemic hit long term care facilities and overwhelmed the health care workers, thousands of military personnel were sent to the rescue. Now the latest word is that the CAF will be meaningfully involved in the national distribution of the soon to be approved COVID-19 vaccines.

MISSTEPS & MISTAKES

Things have not all been smooth sailing for CDS Vance, and his legacy would be incomplete without the mention of the infamous Party Flights. Vance did not initiate this concept of flying a gaggle of VIP’s around the world to visit the troops as a morale boost, but on his watch they went completely off the rails. Over time, many of the VIP’s making repeat tours began to take full advantage of the celebrity status afforded to them aboard these flights. Rules on drinking alcohol were at first bent and then by the time of the ‘Party Plane’ incident were completely broken. Facebook videos surfaced showing the band Carpet Frogs playing the Doobie Brother’s 1970 hit song China Grove in the aisles of the Airbus while animated VIP’s danced. Media soon got wind of the fact that a flight attendant had complained of being sexually assaulted by retired NHL hockey player Dave ‘Tiger’ Williams during that flight, along with many of the other sordid allegations such as VIP’s urinating themselves and leaving behind coffee cups of tobacco spit. The story proved impossible for the military to contain. Williams was eventually charged with sexual assault and Vance put a hold on any future morale boosting junkets. However, to his discredit, Vance also tried to justify what had happened on that flight. “The band was playing in the back of the plane, that’s team building for people who have never met soldiers before and are going to go into maybe a dangerous

perspectives

place” Vance explained to reporters. “So, it’s not Mardi Gras, it’s not a party. It’s a mission.” While Vance tried to portray this as if the passengers were about to deplane into a war zone, on the flight in question they were en-route to Athens, Greece. Their first visit was to be aboard the HMCS Charlottetown in tourist friendly, Piraeus harbour. The military also tried to downplay the actual cost of the flight by stating that similar flights cost a mere $15,000 when in fact a calculation of DND’s official flight costs per hour puts the actual cost at $337,000. General Vance put the blame on the flight crew for not reining in the VIPs, but those members of the crew were reluctant to do so because they were considered to be guests of the CDS. The worst part of this whole story was the fact that it all took place while the Vice Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant-General Alain Parent, and Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer Kevin West were on board. For the record, no disciplinary or administrative action was taken against Parent or West and both officers are now retired from the military. Another embarrassing chapter for Vance was the dedication of a monument known as the Kandahar Cenotaph. This had originally been set up at the airfield in Kandahar to commemorate each of the Canadians who were killed on duty in Afghanistan. When the CAF withdrew from that mission the cenotaph was boxed up and sent to Ottawa. Several permanent sites were contemplated and the decision was finally made to relocate the Kandahar cenotaph at the DND headquarter building known as the Carling Campus. A small VIP private ceremony was held to re-dedicate the monument in its new home. Once word of this went public on social media the families of the fallen were furious because they rightfully felt they should have been included. In the end a second far more elaborate re-dedication did take place, in which representatives from all the fallen victims were in attendance. By far the most controversial action which Vance undertook during his time as CDS was that of relieving Vice Admiral Mark Norman of his command. In January 2017, Norman had been in his job as VCDS for just 5 months when the RCMP raided his home. No charges were laid against Norman at that time but Vance publicly relieved Norman of his duties while the RCMP continued their investigation. It was over a year later before Norman was charged by the RCMP with Breach of Trust. The Vice Admiral remained suspended with pay until the crown’s case collapsed in May 2019. The exonerated Norman initially wished to re-enter the service but in the end he took a cash settlement from the crown and chose to retire instead. Many Norman supporters believe that Vance threw his VCDS under the bus, but Vance’s supporters claim that under the circumstances the CDS had no other option but to suspend Norman.

PROCUREMENT FILE

While the CDS’ office is not directly responsible for procuring equipment, he is responsible for interaction between the CAF and the government. It should also be noted that in-part due to

ABOVE RIGHT: General Vance captained the GOFO hockey team in many charity games against the Esprit de Corps Commandos. In the 13 matches to date more than $100,000 has been raised for military charities.

the Norman Affair, Canada’s VCDS office, which is responsible in large part for the CAF’s resource allocation, has been something of a revolving door position. Vance has had a total of 7 incumbents occupy the VCDS’ desk during his 5 years in the top job. This would undoubtedly result in Vance being the thread of continuity on such files even if he was not directing the projects. That said, many defence observers give Vance credit for negotiating huge budget increases from the Liberal government. Instead of anticipated cuts to defence. Vance and his team were able to successfully advocate for what became the Trudeau Liberals ’Strong Secure Engaged (SSE) policy paper on defence. Although many of those procurement projects are still in their infancy or on the drawing board, SSE reaffirms Canada’s commitment to major shipbuilding programs and to the fighter jet replacement projects.

OPERATION HONOUR

At his very first speech as CDS in 2015, General Vance announced the launch of Operation Honour, an initiative aimed at wiping out sexual misconduct in the ranks. The genesis for this initiative began with a damning series of news media reports back in 2013. Stunning public revelations led to the commissioning of an independent inquiry by former Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps.After a thorough investigation, Deschamps tabled her report which depicted the CAF to be steeped in a highly masculine sexualized culture, wherein military leaders turned a blind eye to misconduct. It was in response to Deschamps’ findings that Vance launched Op Honour.The two-fold objective of Op Honour was to clamp down on any alleged perpetrators while simultaneously establishing a support network for the victims. This Vance-led initiative was initially praised for bringing forward many more reports of sexual misconduct. The official positive ‘spin’ on this phenom was that it indicated a renewed faith in the system to arbitrate justice and properly support the victims. However, the reported incidents just kept coming. As a result, last month the Canadian military launched a new initiative to confront what

Perspectives ... continued on page 46 december 2020 espritdecorps  33

industry watch

4Industry watch Who’s who and what’s what in the defence sector by David Pugliese

Saab Promotes Industrial Benefits, Raytheon Wins Missile Order

Saab is promoting its ability to provide industrial benefits to Canada for the future fighter jet competition. Saab and the Consortium for Research and Innovation in Aerospace in Quebec (CRIAQ) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to leverage the province’s R&D capabilities. The MOU will encourage the development of collaborative research projects between Saab and Canadian industry, as well as universities and research organizations. This collaboration has been formed to support Saab’s future Industrial and Technological Benefit commitments, if the Gripen fighter is selected as Canada’s future fighter to replace the current fleet of CF-18s. The ITB Policy is the government’s main tool for leveraging procurement to create jobs and economic growth in Canada. Saab has submitted an offer of 88 Gripen E fighters for the Canadian future fighter project, and a core element of the Gripen industrial offering includes CAE in Montreal, Quebec who will supply training and mission systems solutions. Saab also announced another MOU for research and development, this one with Mitacs. Mitacs, which has offices in several locations across the country, will match research experts from Canadian academic institutes to advance Saab’s next generation technologies. Saab will provide industry guidance and other in-kind resources, while both will share the financial cost to support these applied 34  Volume 27 Issue 11

Saab is promoting its ability to provide industrial benefits to Canada for the future fighter jet competition by announcing a number of new alliances. (Saab photo)

research and innovation internships. Again, the MOU is linked to Saab’s Industrial and Technological Benefit commitments that the firm has made as part of its bid in the future fighter program. Raytheon will provide new missiles for the new Canadian Surface Combatant fleet. The Canadian government is spending around $650 million to buy 100 Standard Missile 2 Block IIIC missiles and 100 MK 13 Vertical Launch Systems, according to the U.S. government. The total estimated cost of the purchase is $500 million U.S. Raytheon Missiles and Defense of Tucson, Ariz., will build the weapons. Last year the Liberal government signed a deal that would lead to the eventual construction of 15 Canadian Surface Combatant warships. Construction of the first ship isn’t expected to begin until the early 2020s.

“Given the specialized nature of these missiles, and the expected timelines for their production and delivery, we are starting the acquisition process now to ensure they are available in time to meet the test and trials process to support CSC construction timelines,” Department of National Defence spokesman Dan Le Bouthillier told Esprit de Corps. Le Bouthillier said the order still has to be approved by the U.S. Congress. That action would allow the acquisition to move forward. Canada expects an agreement for the purchase to come in the spring of 2021, Le Bouthillier said. Seaspan Shipyards announced Oct. 9 that it had delivered CCGS John Cabot, the third Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel, to the Canadian Coast Guard. The ship is the third OFSV delivered by Seaspan Shipyards in the last 15 months and completes the first full class of large

Industry watch

vessels under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, the firm noted. CCGS John Cabot join sister ships already in service, CCGS Capt. Jacques Cartier and CCGS Sir John Franklin. Seaspan noted that it has delivered three ships in the last 15 months. The CCGS Sir John Franklin was delivered in June 2019 and now stationed in Victoria, BC, and the CCGS Capt. Jacques Cartier, delivered in November 2019 is currently stationed in Dartmouth, NS. Mark Lamarre, Chief Executive Officer, Seaspan Shipyards, pointed out that the delivery is a sign of how the shipbuilding strategy is accelerating industry momentum, enabling the company to build not only ships but also establish a Canadian marine industry supply chain supporting thousands of jobs. The Canadian Space Agency is tapping into industry expertise to find solutions to meet Canada’s growing need for high-quality Earth observation data from space. The CSA has awarded eight contracts of $350,000 each to companies for the development of concepts. The space agency pointed out that Canada’s RADARSAT satellites have been monitoring the country for 25 years, providing high quality imagery for services like ice mapping, maritime surveillance, and disaster response. The companies that received funding include Airbus DS GmbH, Astrocom Associates, C-Core, MDA Systems Ltd., INSARSAT, Polar View Canada, Space Strategies Consulting and UrtheCast Corp. Meanwhile, MDA, Canada’s top space technology company, is rebranding. It has launched a new corporate identity that showcases what it calls “a collaborative, optimistic and ambitious posture as an independent, pure-space-play company that is well positioned for the emerging space economy.” PAL Aerospace announced Oct. 6 the opening of the company’s new hangar facility in Campbell River, BC.

General Dynamics Mission Systems–Canada of Ottawa has been awarded a contract by the Canadian government for in-service support on six Halifax-class combat systems. (DND photo)

It was custom built to support the operations of the Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Fisheries Aerial Surveillance and Enforcement program. The new hangar facility consists of 12,000 square feet of clear hangar space and an additional 6,000 square feet of finished warehouse and office space. General Dynamics Mission Systems– Canada of Ottawa has been awarded a contract by the Canadian government for in-service support on six Halifax-class combat systems. This ISS contract will help ensure the RCN’s HCCS Equipment Group – which largely includes radar systems – are ready for any mission, the company noted. General Dynamics is also upgrading and maintaining underwater sensors on the Halifax-class ships via the Underwater Warfare Suite Upgrade contract. The initial HCCS contract is valued at approximately $182 million over six years. “General Dynamics has a long and proud history of working closely with the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Navy – building on 30 years of support to the Halifax-class ships,” David Ibbetson, vice president and general manager of General Dynamics

Mission Systems–International, said in a statement. “With this contract, we are proud to maintain technology-driven careers from Halifax to Ottawa and Victoria for years to come.” L3Harris Technologies has been awarded a firm-fixed price contract to missionize three new King Air 350ER aircraft for the Canadian Armed Forces’ manned airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (CMAISR) project. The aircraft will be delivered to the Department of National Defence as a Foreign Military Sale managed by the U.S. Army. Modifications will include sensors integration, secure communications and navigation systems, as well as pilot, operator and maintenance training, according to the firm. L3Harris will complete the modifications at its facility in Greenville, Texas, supported by the company’s facility in Mirabel (Quebec), Canada. The aircraft will feature a suite of L3Harris systems, including full-motion video sensors, a mission management system and communication datalinks. The capability upgrades offer increased threat indications and warning, as well as high-accuracy target detection and location, according to the firm.  december 2020 espritdecorps  35

www.thememoryproject.com

Keeping her memories alive

Kay Ruddick (née Douglass) Red Cross Corp Second World War

Kay Ruddick (née Douglass) was born in Moncton, New Brunswick, in 1923. She enlisted in the Red Cross Corps in 1944 and gave up her civilian job in 1946 to go overseas and escort war brides across the Atlantic. In total, the Canadian government transported 43,454 war brides and 20,997 children to Canada. Ruddick herself made 15 crossings. In her testimony for the Memory Project, Ruddick recounts how she helped ferry thousands of war brides over the Atlantic. She shares cautionary tales, reminisces about a memorable crossing aboard the Queen Mary with Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, and reflects on the lifelong friendships she made. She died in 2016. Visit the memoryproject.com to read and listen to testimonies from thousands of Canadian veterans. Testimony: The Red Cross Corps was formed in Moncton and I joined up, hoping to go overseas. In 1946, I went overseas as an escort officer to help bring back the war brides that our Canadian soldiers married. They came from Scotland, Ireland, England and France. There were very few Italians, because when the soldiers were in Italy, they were busy fighting and not in the dance halls meeting the girls. All the brides had to stay overnight in the Mostyn Hostel in London before getting on the trains, whether they were sailing from Liverpool or Southampton. It was very sad to see the parents saying goodbye when the brides boarded the ship. They held their babies in baskets and the Dutch had these great big white baskets that were so attractive. When a draft came in to Mostyn Hostel, Margie Holder and I would look up who was going to Moncton. One lady said that her husband had a ranch in Lakeburn, 36 36   Volume Volume 27 27 Issue Issue 11 11

but there are no ranches in Moncton. Just a few old wartime houses. Her husband didn’t have a ranch – he was lying to her. I used to go up to visit my friend Pat in Scotland. When she married a man named Tom, her mother contacted the mayor of Kirkcaldy to find out if Tom Mitchell was who he said he was. Of course, he was. But it was very easy to do that. Anybody could have done that. Two friends of mine in Moncton who married Canadian officers found out that they were already married; it didn’t just happen to the war brides. We had 1,000 brides and 1,000 children on the Queen Mary. There was a terrific storm in the middle of the night and our digs were up on the top deck and the water was coming in the portholes. It put the ship right out of commission. The water came up and hit the bridge and down into the captain’s quarters.

www.thememoryproject.com

“When I see English ladies married to Canadians who are in their 80s, I always go up and ask them, ‘Are you a war bride? What ship did you come on?’”

were the top brass, army, navy, whatever, wives, they received the exact same treatment as the privates’ wives, and they certainly had marvelous treatment. When I see English ladies married to Canadians who are in their 80s, I always go up and ask them, “Are you a war bride? What ship did you come on?” The only war bride that I am still in touch with lives in Ottawa. She was a Dutch lady and funnily enough, she came and knocked on my door one day in Montreal and said, “I hear you need a cleaning woman.” I just had my fourth baby, and oh, I was so glad to see her. It was a great big part of my life, it really, really was. A marvelous opportunity.  The brides were all incredibly seasick. This was before they had stabilizers on the Queen. The captain told us the next day he was afraid the ship was going to collapse because it was going up and down and sideways with no control whatsoever. Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King was onboard. I have a picture with him in the captain’s cabin. He had been sitting on the bed beside me and a few of us were invited to this cocktail party. Somebody was going to take a picture and they made him get off the bed and sit in a chair. They asked him to make a speech to the brides and he started out his speech by saying, “I’m a fine one to make a speech to brides, I’ve never had one myself.” It was the only way any of the servicemen’s wives could get over to Canada at that time. Whether they

OPPOSITE PAGE, TOP: As an escort officer with the Red Cross, Kay Ruddick (née Douglas) accompanied 48,000 war brides from England to Canada, between January and November 1946. OPPOSITE PAGE, Bottom: Sylvia Power (left) arriving in Halifax, Nova Scotia from England with other War Brides in November 1946. (photograph courtesy of Sylvia Power, the Memory Project) ABOVE: In the Captain’s quarters aboard the Queen Mary August 1, 1946. Kay Ruddick is back row, third from the right, sitting next to Captain Cyril Illingworth. Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King (seated, second from the right) made this transAtlantic trip with 1,000 war brides and 1,000 children.

An initiative of Historica Canada, The Memory Project is a volunteer speakers bureau that arranges for veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members to share their stories of military service at school and community events across the country. Our speakers have reached 3 million Canadians since 2001. The Memory Project Archive houses more than 2,800 testimonials and over 10,000 images from veterans of the First World War, Second World War, the Korean War and peacekeeping missions. While the archive no longer accepts submissions, it remains the largest of its kind in Canada. Canadians can access the interviews, digitized artifacts and book a speaker at www.thememoryproject.com/stories. This project has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada. Excerpts from The Memory Project Archive have been edited for length and clarity.

december 2020 2020 espritdecorps december espritdecorps   37 37

cadet corner

4Youth Leaders

accept the unique challenges of 2020

by Capt Amber Lawson, Public Affairs Officer, Content Management, Cadets and Junior Canadian Rangers This year has brought on a lot of changes, whether it be the way teenagers are able to hang out with their friends, go to school, or participate in events and youth groups. Cadets and Junior Canadian Rangers have a deep rooted sense of citizenship and commitment to remembering important events that shaped Canada. This challenged cadets and JCRs to think out of the box to participate in commemorative activities although the results were not traditional – they were certainly outstanding. Vimy Ridge Memorial

Cadets and Junior Canadian Rangers have always played an important role in remembering Vimy Ridge at monuments and cenotaphs across Canada, and at Vimy Ridge itself. Even in these unprecedented times, Cadets and Junior Canadian Rangers took time to remember. In an initiative started by Capt Billie Sheridan from Williams Lake BC, a challenge started to share your moment of remembrance and tag #RememberVimy in your posts. From coast to coast to coast, Cadets, JCRs, and staff took part in the online vigil and demonstrated that remembrance was an important part of being part of our programs.

Battle of the Atlantic:

Building on the success of the Vimy Ridge Commemoration the Regional Cadet Support Unit Atlantic came up with an idea to have a cadet band perform “eternal Father Full of Grace”, and ask cadets across the country to name the ships that were lost and a solemn ringing of the bell to end the video. The moving tribute

ABOVE RIGHT: The cadets and staff of 75 Barrhaven Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron created artwork to mark Remembrance Day 2020. 38  Volume 27 Issue 11

featured cadets from across Canada and was shared by the Royal Canadian Navy on their social media. In the end with more than 50,000 views by Canadians, the outstanding work of our cadets was clearly demonstrated in acknowledging the significant roles of Canadians in the Battle of the Atlantic.

Battle of Britain:

Being the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain – the Royal Canadian Air Forces approached the CJCR requesting a unique participation of cadets from across the country in their activities. Cadets were asked to read the airmen’s poem, parts of a scripts and do the count down to the ceremony. This was a way to involve cadets from across the country and show that the next generation of leaders are working on solutions to continue to remember important milestones. As we became more agile in

cadet corner

“In collaboration with the Legion Dominion Command it was directed that no cadet or staff members would participate in person at Remembrance Day activities.”

the virtual environment, corps and squadrons began to start their own versions of commemorations throughout the country and participated In local ceremonies virtually and demonstrated to their communities that they were still playing an active role in commemorations.

Remembrance Day:

In collaboration with the Legion Dominion Command it was directed that no cadet or staff members would participate in person at Remembrance Day activities. Working on the experience of the previous events, the CJCR went proactive and provided the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Legion, and other stakeholders with tools and resources to use in their ceremonies. This included a series of videos featuring Cadets and JCRs reciting in Flanders Fields, playing the Last Post, the Lament, the Rouse, and O Canada. The readymade products were featured in services across the country in services.

ABOVE: Junior Canadian Rangers and Canadian Rangers share their moments of remembrance for the #remembervimy campaign. (photo: submitted imagery) ABOVE RIGTH: Sergeant Haley Cassie from 3043 Normal Wells Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps takes a moment to remember during the #RememberVimy commemorative event.

Cadets and JCRs were also given a list of ideas on how mark the solemn occasion while adhering to Public Health Measures. From participating in the Legion’s virtual poppy campaign, to creating presentations for schools and the community groups, they were empowered share their voice without becoming a vector for the further spread of COVID-19. Commodore Kurtz shared, “I am incredibly proud of the small, yet meaningful gestures and actions cadets and JCRs take to show their respect for veterans and their sacrifices. They are clearly demonstrating that the next generation of Canadian Leaders will not forget those who gave their lives to defend the values that define Canada.” As we continue to navigate our ever changing environment, the one thing that has remained consistent is the strong commitment of our youth to demonstrate their citizenship, and keep the memories alive for those we lost.  december 2020 espritdecorps  39

COMMENTARY

4PTSD v. Mefloquine Toxicity

Derek Bodner

As in several countries, rates of PTSD among veterans in Canada have increased dramatically since 2001, an increase that can of course be attributed in large part to the war in Afghanistan. But there is evidence to suggest that rates of PTSD began to increase even earlier than this. What could be the cause? At least one expert is concerned that the alarming number of PTSD cases among recent Canadian veterans may be the result of simple misdiagnosis. According to Dr. Remington Nevin, a Canadian-born physician and epidemiologist, many of these veterans are actually suffering from another disease, the result of being ordered to take a neurotoxic antimalarial drug. Known as mefloquine, otherwise by its brand name, Lariam, the drug is now all but banned by the Canadian Forces after decades of use. Mefloquine was first ordered for largescale use by our troops in Somalia in 1992, and since then, tens of thousands of Canadian soldiers, sailors, and air force personnel have been ordered to take the drug during operations in Africa, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. According to Dr. Nevin, as a result, an as yet unknown number of Canadian veterans now suffer from a disease, which he has termed chronic quinoline encephalopathy, or quinism. Derek Bodner

Visit his blog site at onecalgaryvoter.com. He is also on Facebook and Twitter. He can be reached at: [email protected]

40  Volume 27 Issue 11

Among the most immediate and disturbing adverse effects reported by many taking mefloquine were disturbing and horrific nightmares. Veterans report these nightmares typically beginning upon first starting the drug, often weeks before their deployment, featuring themes and imagery often completely unrelated to combat. Such nightmares are what are known as a prodromal symptom, a possible early

“Canadian soldiers first began taking mefloquine when deployed to Somalia in 1992.”

indication of a disease. According to the drug’s manufacturer and Health Canada, once nightmares or other prodromal symptoms begin to appear, the patient should immediately discontinue use of mefloquine and substitute an alternative antimalarial drug. However, Dr. Nevin notes that over the past decades, Canadian Forces personnel were typically ordered to continue taking the drug, despite the presence of such symptoms. According to Dr. Nevin, often unknown to these veterans, such continued use risked their development of a toxic, drug-induced encephalopathy, or dysfunction of the brain, causing a myriad of debilitating,

lasting, and even permanent psychiatric and neurologic symptoms. According to Dr. Nevin, the lasting psychiatric symptoms of quinism can mimic not only those of PTSD, but of several other disorders. These include the typical nightmares, insomnia, anxiety, depression, paranoia, and aggression commonly attributed to PTSD, as well as symptoms of psychosis, such as hallucinations and delusions, and even suicidal and homicidal ideation. Dr. Nevin notes such symptoms have been linked to a number of murder-suicides in Canada and the United States. For example, according to at least one eyewitness, Lionel Desmond was seen taking mefloquine in Afghanistan. What may help to differentiate quinism from PTSD and other psychiatric illnesses are the neurologic and physical effects that may accompany it. Those with quinism may also suffer from symptoms such as tinnitus (ringing in the ears), vertigo (a sense of spinning or motion), and associated dizziness and balance problems. Dr. Nevin also suspects that because the encephalopathy affects the brainstem. Conventional treatments for PTSD typically include prescription medications, as well as talk therapies, such as traumafocused therapy. For those with quinism, however, Dr. Nevin notes that such treatments risk making their symptoms worse, rather than helping. Dr. Nevin recalls one veteran describing having to “fabricate” a trauma, so as to satisfy their therapist’s insistence they were suffering the effects of an assumed combat stressor.

Bodner

... cont’D on page 46

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In the news

4VETERANS AFFAIRS BACKLOG & WAIT TIMES “A PERFECT STORM” – By Brian Forbes – reprinted with permission from The Hill Times, Oct 14, 2020 edition

The National Council of Veteran Associations in Canada (NCVA) continues to call for dramatic and innovative steps to be taken by Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) to address the current unacceptable backlog and turnaround times experienced with respect to veterans’ disability claims. As Veterans Affairs Deputy Minister Walt Natynczyk stated before the House Veterans Affairs Committee earlier this year, we have indeed reached a “perfect storm” which has only been compounded by the onset of the COVID-19 crisis.

The following represents the core elements of NCVA’s position in relation to this ongoing administrative crisis: The department should adopt the position that veterans’ claims be considered at face value and be based on the reasonable evidence provided by the veteran and his or her family, with the proviso that individual files could be monitored over time and “spot audits” carried out to address any potential abuses. The clear reality that medical reports usually required by VAC to support these applications continues to be almost impossible to obtain at this time must be recognized in assessing this present dilemma. Even though medical offices and therapists’ clinics are starting to re-open, these individual health professionals are simply overwhelmed with their own backlog and rescheduling delayed appointments. The preparation of medical reports to support veterans’ claims is not a priority at this time for these beleaguered physicians and therapists. Unless creative steps are taken, the adjudicative delays and turnaround time dilemmas will not be relieved in the short term given the reality of the extreme difficulty in obtaining these medical and or therapist reports to substantiate individual veterans’ applications. ABOVE Right: Brian Forbes, Chair of the National Council of Veteran Associations and Chair of the Executive Committee of The War Amps. 42  Volume 27 Issue 11

T h e re i s a g e n e r a l consensus among major veteran stakeholders that this administrative and or adjudicative measure leading to a form of fasttracking or automatic entitlement deserves immediate attention. It has been the longstanding view of NCVA that this form of automatic entitlement approach should have been implemented by VAC years ago in regard to seriously disabled veterans, with the objective of expediting these specific claims so as to circumvent governmental “red tape” and in recognition of the fact that nearly all of these cases are ultimately granted entitlement in the end, often following many months of adjudicative delay. It is our considered position that now is clearly the time to extend this thinking to all veterans’ claims. It is noteworthy that the current mandate letter received by the Minister of Veterans Affairs from the Prime Minister contains a specific direction that VAC should implement a form of automatic entitlement with respect to common disabilities suffered by Canadian veterans. It is also extremely significant that many financial assistance programs rolled out this year by federal and provincial governments are premised on the philosophy of “pay now and verify later.” In regard to a number of financial initiatives, the earlier need for medical reports to substantiate entitlement to these programs has been waived by the Government, given the impracticality of accessing any input from the medical profession in Canada at this troubled time.

In the news

“Given the unattainability of medical reports from various health-care providers, the following fundamental question requires an immediate answer: what level of evidence is the department prepared to accept to approve current claims in the backlog?” It is to be noted that the initial reaction of the department to this proposed form of fast-tracking and or automatic entitlement was that this approach could be implemented for benefits that are paid on a monthly basis; however, given the fact in relation to disability awards that the majority of veterans are still opting for lump sums, this would represent a concern for the department. In addressing this concern, it is our recommendation that, as an interim step in granting this form of automatic entitlement, the disability award could be paid as a monthly allowance with a preliminary assessment in the first instance. Ultimately, the department would have the ability to fully assess the extent of the veteran’s disability in order to determine the veteran’s final assessment, at which point the veteran could choose to convert his or her monthly allowance to a lump sum award with the appropriate financial adjustment to consider the monthly amounts already paid. The great advantage in this recommendation is that the veteran’s entitlement would be established early on and the veteran’s concerns surrounding financial security and access to health care and treatment benefits would be addressed in this manner. The old adage that “desperate times call for bold and creative measures” is particularly apt in this situation. The department issued a policy statement in June 2020 in response to this serious concern entitled “Timely disability benefits decisions: Strategic direction for improving wait times” (https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/about-vac/addressingwait-times/wait-time-strategic-direction). This communication piece has been a significant priority for some time, not only for NCVA but also for the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs and many other stakeholder groups. In our considered opinion, this policy document is a statement of good intentions for the mid- to long-term objectives cited in the material, but fails to effectively remedy the present backlog crisis which has only been intensified by the COVID-19 challenge. Although it is somewhat encouraging that the VAC policy statement has adopted a number of our proposals including the prospective employment of automatic entitlement for common disabilities, the utilization of presumptions for certain consequential disabilities, and the lessening of the requirement for medical referrals in specific cases, the department’s report unfortunately concludes that this will take considerable time to implement.

Furthermore, the departmental policy statement places significant weight on the announcement that an approximate $90 million has been approved by the Government for VAC in a supplementary budget estimate to retain new employees to deal with the ongoing backlog. However, this newly acquired departmental staff will face a steep learning curve and will not be operational until January 2021 at the earliest. It is also noteworthy that the Parliamentary Budget Office recently completed an evaluation of the VAC backlog through a financial analysis report issued on September 21, 2020 titled “Disability Benefit Processing at Veterans Affairs Canada” (https://www.pbo-dpb.gc.ca/web/default/files/ Documents/Reports/RP-2021-023-M/RP-2021-023-M_ en.pdf). The PBO concluded that, without further significant increases in government funding to augment VAC staffing resources, the department would not substantially impact turnaround times for veterans’ claims for years into the future, given the current pace of adjudication. The department presented a formal briefing of its policy position on June 30, 2020 to various Ministerial Advisory Groups. As part of the ongoing dialogue surrounding this presentation, NCVA took the strong position that the department needs to accelerate its plan of action through an adoption of the abovecited fast-tracking protocols/automatic entitlement approach for all outstanding veterans’ applications. Given the unattainability of medical reports from various health care providers, the following fundamental question requires an immediate answer: what level of evidence is the department prepared to accept to approve current claims in the backlog? Clearly, individual veterans and/or their advocates who are preparing disability applications must be cognizant of the department’s position in relation to this important subject as to the sufficiency of evidence required for VAC approval. In our judgment, the “approve and verify” philosophy we have espoused for many months is a crucial ingredient to the solution in this context. Rather surprisingly, as part and parcel of our discussions, VAC has indicated through the briefing process that, ostensibly, “higher government authority” is required to implement this form of creative initiative.

In the news ... continued on page 46 december 2020 espritdecorps  43

Publisher

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However before that plan could be initiated, there was a series of much publicized incidents involving CAF members with alleged ties to white supremacy. The propaganda plan was shelved and now it has been exposed. Once the activities were made public in the press, the senior military leadership realized that these attempts to ‘weaponize’ the public affairs branch had in fact backfired. Instead of protecting the CAF’s image with Canadians, Janzen’s public affairs enhancement strategy, as well as the other missteps related to the pandemic propaganda schemes, actually damaged the military’s reputation and credibility. Eye on Industry

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From there, the Maritime Heron was optimized to support naval operations, equipped with maritime search radar, Automatic Identification System (AIS) receiver for ship identification and tracking, EO/IR and Electronic Support Measures (ESM). Using satellite communications to extend missions beyond the horizon, Maritime Herons often deploy on long-range patrols or in support of naval task forces utilizing shipborne forward mission control elements. The Heron has demonstrated its extensive adaptability and payload variety to suit any mission need. The Heron family continues to evolve to meet ever changing and more specific customer needs. The Heron TP is faster, larger, and higher-flying and can be tailored to meet any country’s unique requirements. Powered by a 1,200 hp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turboprop engine, manufactured in Longueuil, Quebec, the Heron TP flies at 220 KTAS, more than twice the speed of the Heron Mk 1. Although it is almost five times heavier, the Heron TP climbs faster—up to a ceiling of 45,000 feet, and can carry over one ton of payload, providing the highest power-to-weight ratio in its class. It combines the attributes of a powerful platform – a beast in the sky – but is also a thing of engineering beauty. The Heron TP introduces a modular building block architecture that makes it readily adaptable to different missions and varying national requirements. The modular architecture provides security separation between the platform and the payload, enabling use by NATO and Five-Eyes (5VEYS) nations. To achieve this, it can be built, integrated, qualified and maintained in a host country thus allowing continuous technological improvements by incorporating advanced C4ISR capabilities as technology progresses. Furthermore, the Heron TP provides ease of operations and maintenance that enables in-country sustainment through its life-cycle support. This modern architecture and enhanced sensor payloads are now used throughout the Heron family. Integration of other assets with the Heron TP is also part of its design, utilizing open architecture, communications protocols and information sharing to allow operation with the BirdEye 650D Small Tactical UAS and the Vertical Takeoff and Landing Panther family. This makes the Heron TP amongst the most

ABOVE RIGHT: The larger more powerful Heron TP can operate up to a ceiling of 45,000 feet. 44  Volume 27 Issue 11

In shutting down this initiative Laurie-Anne Kempton, the Assistant Deputy Minister of Public Affairs – and Janzen’s immediate superior-wrote an email to her staff. “Canadian’s must have absolute confidence in knowing that we completely understand our role in informing the public space of our initiatives and activities” she said, adding. “They must know they are not targets.” Amen to that.

adaptable platforms available. As such, the Heron is designed for interoperability with 5VEYS and NATO standards. Furthermore, as nations such as Germany have discovered, the ability to operate completely sovereign missions ITAR-free, and set and maintain national priorities, is the real strength of the Heron TP platform. There is also the benefit of being part of the aircraft family. With SATCOM communications integrated, IAI Herons can now employ Long Runner to operate remotely in the air and on the ground, requiring minimal ground support at remote operating bases. The Long Runner is part of IAI’s centralized Mission Operation & Intelligence Centre (MOIC), supporting the operation of multiple Heron drones of different types, carrying various payloads, and operating at different distances and directions. MOIC provides an efficient integration of intelligence and situational perception, by flexibly allocating assets to support evolving situations and operational needs. The intelligence processing systems associated with the Heron family are also designed with powerful, semi-automatic target location, classification and designation workflow, optimizing the operator’s efficiency and capacity. In use throughout the world, the Heron family UAS have accumulated over 1,800,000 operational flight hours and have become the partner of choice for governments who need capability, reliability, and adaptability in a UAS platform. “The utilization has increased threefold over past generations,” said Bleser. “Besides the robust and scalable system it provides, the exceptional operational experience and numerous technical variations have evolved to meet changing needs and have defined the Heron family as the undisputed leader in the UAS marketplace.” With a vast territory, three coastlines, a high Arctic region, the Heron TP is an inspired choice to meet any Remotely Piloted Aircraft System needs. 

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Letters

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WEAPONIZED PUBLIC AFFAIRS CHALLENGED

Reference the On Target Publisher’s letter ‘Military Cries “Wolf!” in Nova Scotia’: Being targeted by your own military at a time when people are already stressed out dealing with a very real threat such as Covid 19, strikes me as being extremely dangerous and misguided. To test such a half baked theory, strikes me as being malicious and stupid. We have troops in multiple active positions globally and being trained locally at home. Surely this concept could have been delivered in a more controlled environment, without involving a given civilian community? Charles Merredew (Rogue Poet) Merrickville, ON Michael Blais

2) VAC’s acknowledgement that “one size does not fit all” for its programs, services, benefits and policies is a step in the right direction. Mainstreaming GBA+ throughout the department should go far in addressing the ongoing inequities related to VAC clients’ who hold equity group membership(s). 3) Equity group representation needs to be standard for all VAC advisory and working groups. VAC also needs senior leadership equity group “Champions” to work closely with VAC staff, VAC clients and CAF Champions. Until this is achieved, important issues, like women’s service-related infertility and homelessness, will remain existent but systemically invisible. For more information about these topics, or to watch the WVF sessions, please go to: https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/ about-vac/what-we-do/women-LGBTQ2/office  However, as no charges were laid in this case and since there was no other recriminations, Mr. Stolen Valour soon reinvented himself once more as a member of the Royal Regiment of Canada. He has since lain wreaths on Remembrance day, and even went so far as to participate in a documentary series. The episode never aired yet it was this interview which ultimately proved to be his downfall. Stay safe over the holidays and stay tuned for Stolen Valour part 2, where I shall recount some of my experiences with stolen valour as a national veterans advocate. 

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the senior brass call a ‘wicked problem’ in the form of sexual misconduct within its ranks. This most recent plan is called The Path Towards Dignity and Respect and unlike previous campaigns this one does not promise any short-term success.“There are no quick fixes for achieving culture change. It requires sustained effort and continual assessment to ensure that we remain on track,” wrote General Vance in the foreword to this new plan. Over a half-decade later it appears that Vance now realizes this is not a Derek Bodner

problem that can simply be ordered to disappear. Most tellingly, the new directive states outright that this latest campaign “will have no end date and will remain as an enduring mission for the CAF.” The target will no longer be to react to incidents of sexual misconduct after they occur, but to instead aim to change the very ‘culture’ of the CAF in which members feel such behaviour to be acceptable. In other words, the final chapter of General Jonathan Vance’s legacy as CDS will be written by the future soldiers of the CAF. 

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According to Dr. Nevin, there is as yet no cure or treatment for quinism, however, there are things that can be done that will greatly improve quality of life. Dr. Nevin notes that among the most important things is simply correct diagnosis. Many of our veterans have taken their own lives, not knowing or understanding what was happening to them. Many others continue to suffer in silence. If this sounds like you or, if you In the news

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Mr. Stolen Valour admitted that he had never served, let alone attained the rank of CSM, in The Royal Canadian Regiment. Mr. Stolen valour admitted that he had never served in the Canadian Airborne Regiment. (Nor did he earn the US or Canadians wings he so often boasted about). Mr. Stolen valour admitted that he had never served in Cyprus, and therefore his medals were as bogus as the rest of his cruel hoax. Perspectives

Military WomAn

are the family member or caregiver of a veteran and this seems familiar to you, you are not alone. There may be thousands of others like you across Canada and many, many, more around the world. For more information about quinism, go to the website for the Quinism Foundation at quinism.org. Executive Director Dr. Remington can be reached at remingtonnevin.com. 

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With all due respect, we are somewhat mystified by this prerequisite for government authority, as it has been readily apparent that VAC has determined the overall question of sufficiency of evidence for many decades in adjudicating veterans’ applications. In this context, the impact of the benefit of the doubt/presumptive provisions of veterans’ legislation has been in place for many years. In our experience, this unique set of adjudicative principles gives the department great latitude to reach a constructive resolution in relation 46  Volume 27 Issue 11

to policy amendments to address the present conundrum regarding wait times. In summary, the VAC policy statement contains a number of positive steps to alleviate the backlog and the unacceptable wait-times relevant to veterans’ disability claims. However, the scope and pace of these initiatives require a higher priority from the Government in order to establish a more immediate resolution for veterans and their families who are often facing severe financial insecurity during this COVID-19 crisis. 

december 2020 espritdecorps  47

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Building ships for the Arctic is in our DNA. As we chart a new course with the National Shipbuilding Strategy, we are proud to be Canada’s icebreaker partner committed to delivering the Polar flagship. Learn more at icebreakercentre.ca Follow the excitement 48  Volume 27 Issue 11