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The official website of Paul Franklin: a father, veteran, activist, motivational speaker, and proud Canadian.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Kayakers snap photo of England’s version of the ‘Loch Ness Monster’

Lake Windermere monster
Lake Windermere monster
Nothing puts a damper on a serene afternoon's kayaking like the sight of a primeval sea monster.
That was the rude lesson for Tom Pickles and Sarah Harrington, who'd taken their watercraft out on the foggy waters of Lake Windermere, only to encounter what appeared to be "an enormous snake" swimming by.
"It was petrifying and we paddled back to the shore straight away. At first I thought it was a dog and then saw it was much bigger and moving really quickly at about 10 mph," the 24-year-old Pickles told The Telegraph. "Each hump was moving in a rippling motion and it was swimming fast. Its skin was like a seal's but its shape was completely abnormal—it's not like any animal I've ever seen before."
But what did Pickles and Harrington expect? Didn't they know that Lake Windermere is reputedly the home of the British version of the Loch Ness monster? In the past five years, sojourners on the lake have reported eight sightings of a Nessie-like serpent.
But the kayaking couple rallied from their shock and snapped the clearest photo of the Windermere "monster" since the sightings began. A journalism professor and his wife inaugurated the recent spate of Nessie-esque encounters on the lake back in 2006 reporting they had seen a "giant eel" somewhere between 15-20 feet long.
Ever since then, researchers have set out upon the lake with sonar equipment, in pursuit of "Bow-Nessie," as the creature's British compatriots like to call it. But so far, their efforts haven't borne fruit.
Of course, people in Scotland have reported sightings of the Loch Ness Monster since 1933, and even with dramatic advance sonar and video technology, Loch Ness research teams have likewise been unable to turn up any credible scientific evidence of its existence. Even its most noted hunter, Robert Rines, recently gave up his quest to find the beast after trying for nearly 40 years. "Unfortunately, I'm running out of age," the 85 year-old Rines said last year when he announced he was calling it quits.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ian Winfield, a lake ecologist at the University of Lancaster, told The Sun he thinks the mysterious appartition people are seeing in Lake Windermere is merely a really big catfish. But all of this speculation overlooks the central mystery in the latest sighting: Why on earth would a couple go kayaking on an English lake in the middle of February?

TEMA Conference

I will be one of the keynote speaker at the Halifax conference and it will be hopefully as good as the one that happened in Toronto.
Welcome to tema.ca
We help those who spend their lives helping you.
  • It is estimated that 8% of Canadians suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • Our research indicates that this number is two to three times higher within the emergency services sectors. 
  • 16% to 24% of our emergency services personnel suffer with Post Trauatic Stress Disorder.
  • We also estimate this number to be low due to the stigma associated with seeking and accepting help!

Sometimes those who save lives need to heal!
The men and women of our emergency and military services see tragic events every day.  They witness human suffering up close and it sometimes becomes very difficult to cope with the aftermath.

Smells, sounds and reliving witnessed events create lasting painful memories that haunt these men and women for life.  It is their legacy for helping others in times of human suffering.

The Tema Conter Memorial Trust was established to end the silence and ease the suffering.

Through research, education, training, and through the provision of peer and psychological support, we aim to help these men and women when they need it most.
Help us, help them. 

"Emergency services and military personnel witness traumatic events as part of their daily routine.  Yet they continue to perform their essential duty of saving lives -- often in the face of unspeakable tragedy. 

So unspeakable, in fact, that many of these heroic individuals struggle quietly with the physical, psychological and emotional effects of their jobs.

The Tema Conter Memorial Trust was established to end the silence and ease the suffering. The charity was founded by Mr. Vince Savoia, an attending paramedic at the murder scene of Ms. Tema Conter in 1988. 

Upon coping with post-traumatic stress as a result of this horrible episode, Mr. Savoia created the Tema Conter Memorial Trust.

The trusts purpose is two-fold: to honour the memory of Ms. Tema Conter and call attention to the psychological trauma encountered by emergency services and military personnel.  These courageous and compassionate individuals are haunted by the scenes they encounter on a regular basis, and they need our help."

Because heroes are human.

The date for the Halifax Gala is Thursday, May 19, 2011.  

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Canadians to lead in instructing the Afghan Army

This is a good news story out of Kandahar as the Canadian Forces can help bring their ideals of leadership, discipline and the profession of arms to a new generation of Afghan Soldiers.

A program likes this honours the wounded and fallen and all those that have served in helping free the Afghan people from tyranny.

Afghan Commander speaks with Canadian soldiers
Lt-Col Sakhi Barriz, 2 Kandak Afghan National Army Commanding Officer points out the axis of advance during Operation SHER II, the biggest-ever ANA lead operation partnered with Canadian Forces

Matthew Fisher, Postmedia News · Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Two senior Canadian generals are to oversee critical multi-billion dollar training programs that NATO hopes will lead to Afghan security forces taking over the lead from alliance forces by the end of 2014.
“That is an incredible compliment to Canada,” one of the officers, Maj-Gen. Stu Beare, said in a telephone interview from his police training headquarters in Kabul.
Maj-Gen. Beare has run police training for the alliance since last fall. Some time in April or May he is to be joined on the army side of NATO’s training house by Maj.-Gen. Mike Day, who until a few days ago oversaw Canada’s secretive special forces.
Maj.-Gen. Day will wear two hats as he will also lead a contingent of as many as 950 Canadian soldiers that Prime Minister Stephen Harper decided last November will continue Ottawa’s military participation in Afghanistan as trainers to assist Afghan forces in the north of the country.
Those Canadian trainers are to replace a much larger combat force that is leaving Kandahar in five months. Unlike those fighting troops, the trainers will not be operating ‘outside the wire.’ They are to be embedded alongside trainers from 33 countries within existing training centres and academies run by NATO, at Afghanistan’s security ministries and army and police headquarters and at the alliance’s training headquarters in Kabul.
There have been few details released yet about Canada’s new mission and when it might begin. Although the timeline had not yet been decided, Maj.-Gen. Beare said “we are hoping it is sooner rather than later. They are urgently needed.”
Asked why it was taking so long to clarify what Canadian trainers would be doing and where, he replied: “It is a lot easier to find places for a dozen (soldiers) than for 900 plus ... They will be doing many different missions. Some will be in one place. Some will be in more than one place. It will have a lot of different components.”
A group from National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa visited Kabul last month to learn what NATO’s specific requirements were. They have given their recommendations to senior commanders who were now in the process of “developing options to present to the government,” Maj.-Gen. Beare said.
“We (NATO) have shown people what we need across the board. There is a huge need in the army and a significant need in the police.”
Whatever formation the Harper cabinet approved, the career artillery officer said that he was “pretty confident ... we will be able to implement it as soon as Canada can generate the troops. We have needs that are immediate. We will accommodate anything. We’ll adapt. This is a good problem because we will be getting high quality in big numbers.”
Canada is set to become the second largest contributor to the training mission after the United States, in a move that will boost the number of military trainers to nearly 5,000.
“Bringing 900 more professionals is a huge uplift,” Beare said. “It will give us much more capacity. And the Canadians are second to none. The impact that they are going to have is huge ...”
“The vast majority will be from the army and will be put in with the army.”
All NATO’s training programmes had “gaps” that Canada could help fill, he said.
“The requirement is often for specialties. There are positions at headquarters to install communications (as well as for) combat engineers, aviation techs, doctors, financial officers, infantry. During the last year we were infantry-centric. We also now need logistics, signals and finance people who can teach how to sustain an army in the field.”
While the U.S. directed 30,000 troops into Afghanistan last year, Afghan security forces had grown by 77,000 during the same period, Beare noted.
The Afghan police were on target to have 134,000 members by November, he said, adding that by the end of the year 4,000 more policemen were to be deployed in Kandahar and neighbouring Helmand province.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sunken ship of 'Moby-Dick' captain found

I always love when history, fiction and archaeology meet.
Divers explore the debris field left by the 1823 sinking of the Two Brothers whaling ship, off French Frigate Shoals.
Divers explore the debris field left by the 1823 sinking of the Two Brothers whaling ship, off French Frigate Shoals
(CNN) -- In an instance of truth being stranger than fiction, American author Herman Melville turned to a horrifying ordeal as inspiration for his 19th-century classic "Moby-Dick."
In 1820, the Nantucket, Massachusetts, whaling vessel Essex was rammed and sunk in the South Pacific by a sperm whale.

George Pollard Jr. and his surviving crew, initially using three small boats that were aboard the Essex, resorted to cannibalism while they drifted in the open ocean for more than two months before being picked up by other vessels.

The sea truly must have been Pollard's mistress, for he took command of another whaler. The captain and Two Brothers were off Hawaii on February 11, 1823, when the ship hit a shallow reef. The terrified crew, clinging to small boats, was rescued the next day by a fellow whaler.
Some 188 years later, maritime heritage archaeologists, working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found the Two Brothers shipwreck nearly 600 miles northwest of Honolulu, the agency said in a statement Friday.

"This rare archaeological discovery is the first discovery of a wrecked whaling ship from Nantucket, Mass., the birthplace of America's whaling industry," the agency said.
Whaling ships, part of America's expansion into the Pacific Ocean, explored portions of the Indian Ocean and the polar regions.

Expeditions from 2008 to 2010 yielded a large anchor of Two Brothers, cast-iron pots for melting whale blubber, bricks, whaling lances, harpoon tips, glass, ceramics and remains of the ship's rigging, NOAA said. Research and accounts from crew members helped verify the find.
The shipwreck lies off French Frigate Shoals in the blue waters of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in Hawaii.

Melville completed "Moby-Dick" in 1851, drawing on an Essex crew member's account of the remarkable event.

The twice-cursed Pollard retired from whaling, became a watchman and lived to be almost 80. Melville met him in Nantucket shortly after completing "Moby-Dick."
Author Nathaniel Philbrick wrote about Two Brothers and the Essex in "In the Heart of the Sea."
While the Essex story is linked to "Moby-Dick," Pollard must not have been the inspiration for its mercurial Captain Ahab.

"To the islanders he was a nobody," Melville said of Pollard, according to the Nantucket Historical Association. "To me, the most impressive man, tho' wholly unassuming, even humble -- that I ever encountered."

Migrant released after 3 months

Will the migrant actually show up for his refugee hearing after going to this length to come to Canada?
It seems unfair to the people who go through the regular process and this guy sneaks into the country.
I love the idea of immigration and without it we would never be the country we are today.....do we need this guy?

This combination photo, from a Canada Border Services Intelligence Alert obtained by CNN, shows a young man who CNN reports disguised himself as an elderly man on a flight from Hong Kong to Vancouver aboard Air Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ HO - CNN- CBSA
Masked man used a disguise and fake ID to come to Canada
VANCOUVER - A Chinese man who entered Canada disguised in a mask as an old Caucasian man was ordered released after more than three months of being detained.
Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator Anita Merai-Schwartz ordered the migrant released Thursday on condition he post a $5,000 bond and report weekly to the Canada Border Services Agency.
In coming to the decision to release the migrant, Merai-Schwartz said that he paid for entering Canada using money from his parents.
"Eight individuals apparently associated with this operation have been arrested in Hong Kong. Thus I do make the finding that in this regard you did use a human smuggling operation to get to Canada," Merai-Schwartz said.
The migrant's identity is protected by a publication ban.
Merai-Schwartz noted the man has remained in detention because of concerns that his large debt either to the smugglers or his parents could motivate him not to appear at his next refugee hearing.
"Additionally, you were found to be a flight risk due to evidence that you were vulnerable to and malleable by the snakeheads," Merai-Schwartz said
But lawyer Daniel McLeod, who is representing the migrant, said a Chinese-Canadian closely linked to the young man's family has agreed to post the bond and provide accommodation in Toronto.
Canada Border Services Agency has continually argued that the migrant is a flight risk, based on the fashion in which he arrived in Canada.
According to previous hearings, the man boarded an Air Canada flight from Hong Kong last October wearing an elaborate latex mask similar to ones used in Hollywood movies. He removed it during the flight, prompting a warning from the Canada Border Services Agency that was later leaked to the media. He was arrested at the Vancouver International Airport.
His case attracted world-wide attention after CNN broadcast his picture next to the picture of him in his disguise.
Canada's refugee and immigration laws mean the migrant cannot be prosecuted for entering Canada illegally since he has claimed asylum.
Merai-Schwartz said the person who put up the bond for the migrant is integral and his influence on the young migrant would outweigh that of the snakeheads.
"Though you did use a smuggling operation to get to Canada, your debt to them appears to have been paid. There is no evidence that you would continue to be vulnerable to them in this regard," Merai-Schwartz said
As a condition of his release, he must report within a week to the CBSA office in Toronto where he will reside with the family friend. After that he must report weekly to CBSA. As a refugee claimant he is able to apply for a work permit.
"I find no reason that you cannot now be influenced in a positive way specially by the person who has not only come to your aid and has a connection to your father, and he has given you his trust based upon his connection without any familial obligation to do so," Merai-Schwartz said.
The migrant did not appear in the hearing but was listening to the translation through telephone.
According to his lawyer, he will likely travel to Toronto this weekend where he will begin the lengthy refugee application process that can take as many as two years.

Monday, February 7, 2011

When do you kill a Child Soldier?

A case in eastern Afghan shows the problems with Child soldiers as well as the problem as what does a western Army do?  
Could this death had been prevented by simply having boots on the ground? 
 Was the Apache helicopter under direct enemy threat?
Detail of the receiver of a Kalashnikov assault rifle collected by soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division on Jan .11. The rifle had been slung across the handlebars of a bicycle.
C.J. Chivers/The New York Times.Detail of the receiver of a Kalashnikov assault rifle collected by soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division on Jan .11. The rifle had been slung across the handlebars of a bicycle.
FORWARD OPERATING BASE ANDAR, Afghanistan — Sometimes examining captured rifles can lead to unexpected places, as was the case with the Kalashnikov assault rifle shown in the photograph above. It was among a batch of weapons recently taken from Taliban fighters in Ghazni Province by soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry, part of the 101st Airborne Division.  Look at the rifle closely. Its receiver is smeared with blood.
The brief chronicle of how this rifle came into American military possession begins like many accounts of fighting in Afghanistan. Ultimately it reveals a grim side of counterinsurgency war and raises a set of questions about the Taliban, and how and why they fight.
Late in the morning on Jan. 11, soldiers from the American battalion spotted three Afghan gunmen riding motorcycles down a dirt road in the province’s Andar District, an area between Kabul and Kandahar that is under strong Taliban influence. The gunmen were out of range and moving quickly, according to military reports and interviews with participants in what happened next.
The soldiers called for what is known in military jargon as an Air Weapons Team. Soon heavily armed Apache attack helicopters were flying over the district’s fields.
For conventional soldiers engaged in a frustrating unconventional war, this sort of moment — catching unmistakably armed fighters in the open in daylight, and with attack helicopters nearby — is both welcome and rare. It is one of those moments when everything can seem clear.
Shortly after 11 a.m., the pilots spotted the same gunmen. At 11:06 they fired on them with a Hellfire missile and their aircraft’s 30-mm chain gun. One of the gunmen was knocked from his motorcycle and killed, according to the official account. The two others survived. They scrambled away.
Over the course of 42 minutes, the pilots flew back and forth over the area, flushing out the surviving fighters and killing them both, according to the reports.
Then something unexpected happened.
At 11:48 a.m., a fourth Afghan appeared, pedaling on a bicycle toward the first of the dead fighters. He reached the dead man, picked up his assault rifle, slung it over his bicycle’s handle bars and began to pedal away, according to the reports.
One of the Apache crews saw him with the rifle. Under the rules of engagement that guide when and how American troops can use lethal force, the cyclist was now considered a combatant under arms. This made him a justifiable target. The aircraft opened fire with the chain gun, striking the cyclist in the head. The shooting was now over.
U.S. Army
By this time an American ground patrol had been ordered to the area to retrieve the Taliban bodies and equipment and carry them back to an American base, where the bodies would later be turned over to villagers.
The patrol scoured the fields, gathering the rifles, several hand grenades, Kalashnikov magazines, the broken motorcycles and other items.
When the soldiers reached the bicycle, they discovered that the Afghan man on the bicycle was not a man. He was a boy who they estimated was somewhere between the age of 11 and 14. The 30-millimeter round from the Apache had struck his head squarely, killing him instantly. Along with the bodies of the three fighters, his remains were driven to this base.
Descriptions of how the Taliban organizes and fights vary in their many tellings. There are credible accounts of the movement requiring local villages to provide manpower, and of the forced conscription of teenagers and young men from rural Afghan households. Other accounts tell of the Taliban fleshing out its ranks by paying wages to Afghans who fight part-time, the so-called “five-dollars-a-day” crews. There are also many credible descriptions of the movement enjoying deep popular support in districts and villages, and of young men and teenagers eagerly volunteering to help.
But no one description can capture the full range of reasons that Afghan men and teenagers, or boys, end up joining the Taliban’s long fight. The reasons certainly vary and overlap — depending on the local Taliban commanders, the prevailing sentiments of a given village or household, the conduct of the nearby Afghan and American units, the attitude of the person considering becoming a fighter, and other factors.
So what of this bicyclist, at the edge of puberty, who had pedaled under the watching helicopters toward the smoldering motorcycles, and tried to pick up the rifle and flee?
His name, according to the battalion’s intelligence section, was Muhammad Sharif, the son of Haji Khial Muhammad from the village of Metar Godale.
There are any number of reactions one might have to his killing, each with merit of arguable degrees.
A soldier on the ground might say: He was clearly a combatant.
Someone removed from the decision might venture that Muhammad Sharif was coerced by older Afghans to rush into the open and try to seize the rifle before the Americans did. He would be, in this view, a victim of both sides — the Afghans who ordered him into danger and the pilots who killed him once he touched the slain fighter’s rifle.
Those who have not flown low to the ground in a helicopter at more than 100 miles an hour might say that the pilots should have held their fire. The fact that at the speeds and ranges involved, a 12- or 14-year-old boy with a rifle can be indistinguishable from someone with a rifle who is 17 or 28 can be interpreted as either exculpatory details or as an another example of the counterproductive perils of air power.
But this is not just a question of air power. At a range of a few hundred yards, if an infantryman saw someone quickly enter a live engagement area and pick up a weapon, that infantryman might fire, too.
These are the shapes that war between a conventional and unconventional force can often take. Then there is the question of time. The minute or two that it took for you to read the preceding paragraph were longer than the time the pilots had to decide what to do on Jan. 11. So who is to blame? Is anyone? Again, answers might say more about a respondent’s point of view than settle the argument to the satisfaction of all hands.
What is clear is that decisions in this kind of fighting, often made swiftly, are almost invariably easy to second-guess.
The distraught villagers who came for Muhammad Sharif’s body claimed, variously, that the boy was innocent, that he had been ordered into the field by a Taliban fighter, or that he simply wanted the rifle to sell.
Whatever the real motivations behind his dash on a bicycle into the kill zone, the officers and intelligence analysts who puzzle over incidents like this are left wonder: What propelled him there? He was a legally justifiable target. But was he really a fighter? Child soldiers have long been a fact of war in Afghanistan. When the Taliban fields them, what does it say of the movement? Was Muhammad Sharif’s sudden appearance in the field a sign of Taliban weakness, or is it a sign of Taliban strength?"

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Myths of the CF 35


By Paul Manson and Angus Watt, Citizen Special January 24, 2011
The federal government’s decision to replace Canada’s aging fleet of CF-18 fighter aircraft with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has generated a lively debate, not all of it based on reality. There is a lot of mythology out there about the F-35 program. This is not surprising, given the complexity of the technology, the uncertain strategic threats facing Canada and her allies, and the cost of the acquisition. Canadians need to be able to see through the many misconceptions that surround the F-35 acquisition, which is a vital element in the securing of our nation’s future. Here are 10 myths in particular that need to be debunked, together with a more realistic view of each.
Myth No. 1: The F-35 is unsafe because it has a single engine.
Reality: Modern jet engines are so reliable that there is little safety advantage, if any, in a twinengined configuration. Two engines also mean more complexity and higher cost.
Myth No. 2: We are buying the F-35 to protect Arctic sovereignty.
Reality: Tracking Russian bombers around the Arctic is only part of the requirement. Many potential threats, global and domestic, face Canada in the coming decades. The rational approach is to replace the CF-18 with a modern multi-role fighter capable of deterring and opposing a variety of threats to our security and prosperity for many years to come.
Myth No. 3: Canada could do with a less capable fighter, or even none at all.
Reality: Arguments that we could get along with less-advanced fighter aircraft are naively based on the presumption of a benign future security environment. Even more far-fetched are suggestions that all we need are drones, or that we don’t need fighters at all. As threats emerge through to mid-century, so must Canada’s ability to respond. The F-35, with its remarkable flexibility and adaptability, was designed to cope with a wide range of future challenges, including combat. There are certain inviolable responsibilities that come with nationhood. Protecting security and contributing to international stability are two of the most important. Without a top-notch fighter aircraft, Canada could not meet the test, and would in effect turn over those responsibilities to others.
Myth No. 4: The F-35 is slower, has less range, is less manoeuvrable, etc., than other fighters.
Reality: The F-35 is the best multi-role fighter available to Canada, combining excellent capabilities in all of the needed fighter missions. Top speed was important in the Second World War, but today it is the missiles that do the high-speed work. Dogfighting is a thing of the past. Electronic systems are dominant today, and the F-35 is unmatched in this regard.

Demonstrators in Ottawa  protest Canada's plan to buy F-35 stealth fighters in October. Far  from sinister, the jets will ensure pilot safety and operational  effectiveness, say Paul Manson and Angus Watt.

Demonstrators in Ottawa protest Canada's plan to buy F-35 stealth fighters in October. Far from sinister, the jets will ensure pilot safety and operational effectiveness, say Paul Manson and Angus Watt.

Photograph by: Jean Levac, Ottawa Citizen, Citizen Special

Myth No. 5: Stealth is somehow sinister and unnecessary.
Reality: Stealth is simply a means of improving pilot survivability and operational effectiveness, by making the aircraft very difficult to detect visually, by radar or by other enemy sensors.
Myth No. 6: The F-35 is too expensive.
Reality: It is an expensive program, as was the comparably priced (in today’s dollars) CF-18 acquisition 40 years ago. But the $9-billion purchase cost will be spread over the next 12 years or so, while the in-service support cost — not yet known, but estimated to be about $7 billion — will be expended over 20 years from first delivery. Taken together, these two expenditures will amount to approximately three per cent of the defence budget. It is important to recognize that the expenditure will give our nation the ability to make a vital contribution to national and collective security for at least 30 years.
Myth No. 7: A competition is called for.
Reality: Competitive procurement is preferable in most cases, but not for this program. A true competition requires at least two viable contenders. The F-35 stands alone in its ability to meet Canada’s requirements, so a forced competition for essentially political reasons would be time consuming, costly and a sham. Furthermore, to switch to competitive bidding at this critical stage, Canada would have to withdraw from the nine-nation Joint Strike Fighter program, thereby giving up its preferred place on the production line and the favourable pricing that goes with it, while losing special access to the JSF’s massive industrial benefits from the manufacture and maintenance of thousands of F-35s.
Myth No. 8: The stealth fighter project could actually cost Canada more jobs than it will create.
Reality: The history of industrial regional benefits from aircraft acquisitions has demonstrated time and again that guaranteed offsets don’t often produce long-term, high-quality benefits for Canadian industry. Mandated work on 65 aircraft doesn’t come close to the value of competitively earned contracts for work on many thousands of F-35s. The Canadian aerospace industry is a world leader, and doesn’t need artificial protection to thrive in the F-35 program.
Myth No. 9: The F-35 development program is in serious trouble.
Reality: Headlines claiming that the F-35 has been put on “probation” are inaccurate. This story refers to the F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing model being developed for the U.S. Marine Corps, a version which has run into numerous technical problems due to its complex propulsion system. This is not the aircraft Canada is purchasing. Ours is the conventional takeoff/landing version. While some problems have shown up in the course of the development and testing of this particular model (not at all unusual for a new fighter aircraft), there is a high degree of confidence that they will be routinely resolved.
Myth No. 10: Canada’s acquisition of the F-35 should be put on hold pending a review.
Reality: Little or nothing would be gained from such a review, and it would introduce some serious risks. The inevitable delay could jeopardize Canada’s place in the multinational JSF program, affect our relationship with the other consortium members, and hinder the timely and efficient replacement of the CF-18, whose end-life is due in the 2018-2020 period.
Gen (Ret’d) Paul Manson is a former chief of the defence staff. Earlier in his military career he was program manager for the CF-18 acquisition. Lt.-Gen (Ret’d) Angus Watt retired in 2009 as the chief of the air staff and commander of Canada’s air force.

Here is a really cool website on the CF35 Lightning II:     http://f-35.ca

Our warlord is better than their warlords

The Canadian Forces have always been pragmatic in who it uses to help the CF in places like Kandahar.
White western forces are at a disadvantage in a place where it is incredibly difficult to know who is on first.
That's why warlords and those on the ground are the way to ensure peace.  Their troubled past will not make these people go away and in fact Col Toorjan is well known as the protector of the Provincial Reconstruction Team.
My own experience working closely with Turjoon and his soldiers allowed the PRT of 2005 to be largely incident free due to his power within the vacuum of Kandahar's politics after the Taliban left in 2001.   When Glyn Berry the Canadian diplomat died in a suicide attack on the 15 January 2006 his troops went door to door and ensured that the leader of the suicide bombing cell was arrested.  Unfortunately in a story that's all too common Pir Muhammad was released soon after due to his connections with another Kandahar heavy hitter named Mullah Naqib the warlord of Arghandab.  He once fought valiantly against the Soviets during the war in 1979 to 1989 and then solidified his own position as warlord until the Taliban took over in 1994.  He arranged a surrender of over 3000 Taliban fighters in the US led invasion of 2001 and was an enemy of Gul Agha Sherzai the Governor of Kandahar Province (a ally of Col Turjoon).  His ability to switch sides was noticed that although he arranged for the only person to be arrested in Glyn Berry's death he met just a few weeks later with PM Harper in a room named after the senior diplomat.  Before his death he even warned of Canadian Forces planned withdrawal and was a huge supporter of the International Security Afghanistan Force, at least on the surface.
Mullah Naqib meeting Prime Minister Harper in 2006 outside the conference room named after Glyn Berry
 Pir Mohamed was then arrested a second time after several months living in the open and placed into a Kabul jail where he once again walked out the door.  He even did an interview with CTV claiming his innocence.
Pir Muhammad head of the suicide bombing cell that killed Diplomat Glyn Berry
All of that story would never have come out and the death of a Canadian diplomat would have been left unsolved had it not been to the soldiers of Col Turjoon.  Mullah Naqib died of a heart attack after his convoy was attacked in Oct 2007.  Pir Muhammad has not been seen since his release and its is well assumed by many that he has been killed.
When fighting in the third world there are times when third world skill sets are needed.  If our goal is to ensure that Afghans fight Afghans problems then people like Col Turjoon are the ones to do the dirty work.
Gul Agha Sherzai and Hamid Karzai
A Kandahar warlord, with links to former governor Gul Agha Sherzai, earned $2.5 million since 2008 providing security outside of the provincial reconstruction base.
Col. Haji Toorjan employed a 40-man militia. But there are questions about how much was spent for his service because the documents tabled in the House of Commons are not consistent with access-to-information records and published reports that show he was on the payroll in 2007.
The NDP's foreign-affairs critic said it's appalling Ottawa had no mechanism to govern hired guns and charged that what the country tried to accomplish in terms of rule of law in Kandahar has suffered.
"It undermines our credibility," said Paul Dewar. "Afghans are not stupid. They see these people. They see what they're doing and they know who is paying them."
Dewar questioned why contractors were needed in the first place. But a defence expert, who has written extensively on the use of hired guns in war zones, said they are fact of life in the age of all-volunteer armies.
The contractors, usually ex-soldiers, are most often used in a defensive manner, taking up guard duties that free combat troops, said researcher Dave Perry in Ottawa.
He also cautioned that moral outrage over unsavoury alliances with local warlords should be tempered.
In conflict zones "I think it would be hard to find somebody who could provide credible security force that did not have something in their past that somebody could point to and say that they've done something inappropriate," said Perry.
Complete article is here:

Gul Agha Sherzai's new mansion in Jalalabad