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Canada FIRST READING: Canada left out of an Anglosphere defence pact (uh, again)

14:51  07 april  2022
14:51  07 april  2022 Source:   nationalpost.com

FIRST READING: Ottawa's pointless odyssey to replace the F-35 with the F-35

  FIRST READING: Ottawa's pointless odyssey to replace the F-35 with the F-35 First Reading is a daily newsletter keeping you posted on the travails of Canadian politicos, all curated by the National Post’s own Tristin Hopper. To get an early version sent direct to your inbox every Monday to Thursday at 6 p.m. ET (and 9 a.m. on Saturdays), sign up here. TOP STORY The year is 2010 . The iPad has not yet made its storied debut, the terrorist group ISIS is still years away from its ignominious rise, and the Canadian federal government has just announced plans to replace its aging fleet of CF-18 fighters with 65 Lockheed Martin F-35s costing $9 billion . If all goes according to schedule, the first Canadian F-35s will be in the sky by 2016 .

First Reading is a daily newsletter keeping you posted on the travails of Canadian politicos, all curated by the National Post’s own Tristin Hopper. To get an early version sent direct to your inbox every Monday to Thursday at 6 p.m. ET (and 9 a.m. on Saturdays), sign up here.

A hypersonic weapon pictured during a test at Edwards Air Force Base. The U.S., Australia and the U.K. just teamed up to build hypersonic weapons, and Canada wasn't invited. © Provided by National Post A hypersonic weapon pictured during a test at Edwards Air Force Base. The U.S., Australia and the U.K. just teamed up to build hypersonic weapons, and Canada wasn't invited.

TOP STORY

Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom all agreed this week to work together on developing hypersonic weapons (which are kind of like ballistic missiles, except they can zig-zag to their target to avoid radar defences). Conspicuously left out of the agreement is Canada , which  happens to share either a border or a head of state with the three participants.

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This isn’t the first time that the Aussies, Brits and Americans have gotten together to do military things without inviting Canada . The hypersonic arrangement is an extension of the AUKUS agreement inked last year under which the same three countries also agreed to build more nuclear submarines to counter China. At the time, Paul T. Mitchell, a defence studies professor at Canadian Forces College, surmised that Canada wasn’t invited to AUKUS for the simple reason that our military is so desiccated that it wouldn’t really be able to contribute anything.

Speaking of military equipment, Canada’s Department of Defence stripped its warehouses pretty bare in attempting to scare up military equipment for Ukraine (we literally sent them a planeload consisting of random small arms we had lying around). But there is still something in Canadian stores that the Ukrainians could desperately use: Harpoon anti-ship missiles . According to the National Post’s John Ivison, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has even specifically requested the weapons (of which Canada has 200) in phone calls to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. While the U.K. and U.S. are reportedly up for sending some of their Harpoons to Ukraine, the request has remained strenuously ignored by Canada.

Canadian Forces in desperate need of new spending, procurement follow-through, experts say

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 Thursday marks the unveiling of the federal budget, so on Wednesday Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland had to undergo the bizarre Canadian tradition of purchasing new “Budget Day” shoes while the news media looked on. © REUTERS/Blair Gable Thursday marks the unveiling of the federal budget, so on Wednesday Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland had to undergo the bizarre Canadian tradition of purchasing new “Budget Day” shoes while the news media looked on.

IN OTHER NEWS

After evidence emerged that Russian soldiers had been indiscriminately killing civilians in occupied areas of Ukraine , the immediate response of many European countries was to order a mass-expulsion of Russian diplomats. But Canada has refused to follow suit, citing the risk of retaliation from Moscow.

Meanwhile, if you’re wondering what Russia’s Ottawa embassy has been up to lately, they just finished firing out a string of tweets claiming that the burned, maimed and rotting corpses found in the streets of Bucha, Ukraine are actually all just a neo-Nazi hoax .

Thursday’s new federal budget promises to shower cash on the Canadian Armed Forces, particularly in the realm of Arctic defence, where Canada is technically at the front lines of Russian expansionism. But Canada’s top soldier Wayne Eyre said this week that it would be foolish to assume that Canada could ever hope to match Russia’s Arctic presence , and should instead settle on simply being able to scramble stuff into the north as quickly as possible. While Canada has no real permanent presence in the Arctic beyond some signals intelligence bases and the part-time Canadian Rangers, Russia has a whole fleet of armed icebreakers and year-round, garrisoned air bases.

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 Montreal entrepreneur Mark Pathy, second from left, is a member of history’s first fully private space crew, which is soon set to launch to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The ISS has been a little awkward lately given that it has Russian cosmonauts in close quarters with astronauts from Western nation whose governments are working strenuously to isolate Russia from the world economy due to its invasion of Ukraine. © Axiom Space Montreal entrepreneur Mark Pathy, second from left, is a member of history’s first fully private space crew, which is soon set to launch to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The ISS has been a little awkward lately given that it has Russian cosmonauts in close quarters with astronauts from Western nation whose governments are working strenuously to isolate Russia from the world economy due to its invasion of Ukraine.

The City of Calgary is currently embroiled in a fight with its own police department over the issue of uniform patches . Specifically, a black-and-white Canadian flag featuring a horizontal blue stripe – a reference to the concept of police as a “thin blue line” protecting society from the forces of chaos.  Last month, the Calgary Police Commission ordered officers to remove the patch, citing it as a “known hate symbol.” Police have refused , with Police Chief Mark Neufeld saying that on top of a “tired” workforce and low morale, the city’s attempt to “vilify” the symbol was a bridge too far.

John Ivison: Ukraine asked us for missiles. We sent words

  John Ivison: Ukraine asked us for missiles. We sent words On March 22, Defence Minister Anita Anand received a proposal from a group of industry executives aimed at helping Ukraine defend the Odessa region from a Russian amphibious assault. The plan, laid out in a briefing note obtained by the National Post, advocated giving Ukraine Harpoon Block 11 anti-ship missiles from the Royal Canadian Navy’s inventory to help with coastal defence. The executives urged the minister to move quickly so the missiles could be sent “in days, not weeks.” The logic certainly appeals to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who told ministers this week that he wants to arm the Ukrainians with Harpoon missiles to help protect Odessa.

 A Winnipeg Police officer seen wearing the patch in 2021. © Winnipeg Sun/Chris Procaylo A Winnipeg Police officer seen wearing the patch in 2021.

Starting on Saturday, Alberta’s United Conservative Party will begin voting on whether to retain Premier Jason Kenney as their leader. In advance of the review, UCP members this week received a rather odd open letter from 19 former MLAs claiming that they should continue supporting Kenney even if they hate him, because the only alternative is NDP victory . Against an NDP that is “disciplined, organized, and well-funded,” the letter asks that “party members, even those unhappy with Premier Kenney, should think long and hard about what that will look like.”

 Alberta is now so beset by invasive wild boars that the province has authorized a bounty of $75 for each pair of boar ears brought in by hunters. Said hunters also benefit from some delicious free-range wild boar meat. © Derek Ruttan/Postmedia Alberta is now so beset by invasive wild boars that the province has authorized a bounty of $75 for each pair of boar ears brought in by hunters. Said hunters also benefit from some delicious free-range wild boar meat.

Meanwhile, Kenney remains the only provincial leader in Canada whose caucus will soon contain someone who has openly vowed to destroy him . On Thursday, the Alberta Legislative Assembly is expected to swear in Brian Jean, a longtime Kenney rival who won a byelection last month on an explicit promise to topple his party’s leader.

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COMMENTARY: Budget 2022 comes ‘nowhere close’ the Liberals’ lofty rhetoric on defence spending .
Despite the Liberal government's earlier hints of a funding boost, Budget 2022 means Canada's defence spending will be only 1.5% of GDP by later this decade, Jeffrey Collins says. The rhetorical flourish during the lead-up to Thursday's federal budget was more ambitious than the actual announcement. It will be recalled that Russia’s unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February upended global stability and forced many of Canada’s allies, especially those in the 30-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization, to confront the very real prospect of nuclear war and years of violent instability on the European continent.

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