Tuesday, 1 July 2014

A Nation Mourns

A Nation Mourns   July 1st 2014

Eyal Yifrach,19,  Gilad Shaar,16, and Naftali Fraenkel,16,  were laid to rest today.   These citizens of Israel had their whole lives ahead of them.   The lives of their families will forever be crippled by their kidnapping and murder.

The media must get, it that there is no equivalence between innocent students and terrorists, and no ethical journalist would draw any kind of parallel; too many do.

The situation for the kidnappings and murders comes from a culture where parents are proud, if their children murder their neighbours.   The Palestinian indoctrination is bold and overt in their school materials.   This culture abuses the minds of their children.

Failure of the media to report on this culture of hate is a failure to cover the most important force blocking coexistence and peace in the whole region.

Read the article by Bret Stephens (The Wall Street Journal)

Where are the Palestinian Mothers?
A culture that celebrates kidnapping is not fit for statehood.

In March 2004 a Palestinian teenager named Hussam Abdo was spotted by Israeli soldiers behaving suspiciously as he approached the Hawara checkpoint in the West Bank. Ordered at gunpoint to raise his sweater, the startled boy exposed a suicide vest loaded with nearly 20 pounds of explosives and metal scraps, constructed to maximize carnage. A video taken by a journalist at the checkpoint captured the scene as Abdo was given scissors to cut himself free of the vest, which had been strapped tight to his body in the expectation that it wouldn't have to come off. He's been in an Israeli prison ever since.

Abdo provided a portrait of a suicide bomber as a young man. He had an intellectual disability. He was bullied by classmates who called him "the ugly dwarf." He came from a comparatively well-off family. He had been lured into the bombing only the night before, with the promise of sex in the afterlife. His family was outraged that he had been recruited for martyrdom.

"I blame those who gave him the explosive belt," his mother, Tamam, told the Jerusalem Post, of which I was then the editor. "He's a small child who can't even look after himself."

Yet asked how she would have felt if her son had been a bit older, she added this: "If he was over 18, that would have been possible, and I might have even encouraged him to do it." In the West, most mothers would be relieved if their children merely refrained from getting a bad tattoo before turning 18.

I've often thought about Mrs. Abdo, and I'm thinking about her today on the news that the bodies of three Jewish teenagers, kidnapped on June 12, have been found near the city of Hebron "under a pile of rocks in an open field," as an Israeli military spokesman put it. Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16, had their whole lives ahead of them. The lives of their families will forever be wounded, or crippled, by heartbreak.

What about their killers? The Israeli government has identified two prime suspects, Amer Abu Aysha, 33, and Marwan Qawasmeh, 29, both of them Hamas activists. They are entitled to a presumption of innocence. Less innocent was the view offered by Mr. Abu Aysha's mother.

"They're throwing the guilt on him by accusing him of kidnapping," she told Israel's Channel 10 news. "If he did the kidnapping, I'll be proud of him."

It's the same sentiment I heard expressed in 2005 in the Jabalya refugee camp near Gaza City by a woman named Umm Iyad. A week earlier, her son, Fadi Abu Qamar, had been killed in an attack on the Erez border crossing to Israel. She was dressed in mourning but her mood was joyful as she celebrated her son's "martyrdom operation." He was just 21.

Here's my question: What kind of society produces such mothers? Whence the women who cheer on their boys to blow themselves up or murder the children of their neighbors?

Well-intentioned Western liberals may prefer not to ask, because at least some of the conceivable answers may upset the comforting cliché that all human beings can relate on some level, whatever the cultural differences. Or they may accuse me of picking a few stray anecdotes and treating them as dispositive, as if I'm the only Western journalist to encounter the unsettling reality of a society sunk into a culture of hate. Or they can claim that I am ignoring the suffering of Palestinian women whose innocent children have died at Israeli hands.

But I'm not ignoring that suffering. To kill innocent people deliberately is odious, to kill them accidentally or "collaterally" is, at a minimum, tragic. I just have yet to meet the Israeli mother who wants to raise her boys to become kidnappers and murderers—and who isn't afraid of saying as much to visiting journalists.

Because everything that happens in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is bound to be the subject of political speculation and news analysis, it's easy to lose sight of the raw human dimension. So it is with the murder of the boys: How far will Israel go in its retaliation? What does it mean for the future of the Fatah-Hamas coalition? What about the peace process, such as it is?

These questions are a distraction from what ought to be the main point. Three boys went missing one night, and now we know they are gone. If nothing else, their families will have a sense of finality and a place to mourn. And Israelis will know they are a nation that leaves no stone unturned to find its missing children.

As for the Palestinians and their inveterate sympathizers in the West, perhaps they should note that a culture that too often openly celebrates martyrdom and murder is not fit for statehood, and that making excuses for that culture only makes it more unfit. Postwar Germany put itself through a process of moral rehabilitation that began with a recognition of what it had done. Palestinians who want a state should do the same, starting with the mothers.
Bret Stephens

Canada Day 2014

Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on Canada Day

July 1, 2014   Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark Canada Day:

“One hundred and fifty years ago in Charlottetown and QuébecCity, our Fathers of Confederation first dreamed of a united Canada, prosperous, strong and free.

“As we mark the 147th anniversary of Confederation, we can proudly say that their great national dream has indeed come to fruition.

“Today, as we celebrate with family and loved ones, let’s remember what makes our Canada the best country in the world.

“It’s the moms and dads who pass on to their children Canadian values: working hard, doing what’s right, and determination to be our best.

“All Canadians cheered as we saw these values drive our athletes to victory at the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

“These values are also represented by our men and women in uniform who keep our streets and loved ones safe, and by those proud members of the Canadian Armed Forces who vigorously defend our rare and precious way of life.

“The members of our military have always been willing to give their lives to protect our freedom, promote our values and pursue peace.

“This year they mark special milestones: the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Second, and the end of Canada’s military mission to Afghanistan, which we honoured across the country in May.

“Let their legacy in service of Canada inspire us to work harder than ever to continue to build our true North, strong and free.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada and from my family to yours, happy Canada Day everyone.”

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Ottawa terrorism

Terrorism, and its culture of ideas which breeds violence, is not somewhere else but here in Canada.

Noting Iran’s rising “anti-Canada rhetoric,” intelligence officials have been monitoring Iran as a terrorist threat to the Ottawa area.   The report from the Integrated Terrorist Assessment Centre, does not describe the specific threat Tehran poses to the Ottawa region.   In the past Iran has paid for Hezbollah make attacks internationally.

There was an Iran connection to last year’s plot to derail a Toronto-bound passenger train.   The conspiracy was directed by Al Qaeda figures operating out of Iran.

Foreign Minister John Baird continues to urge caution about Iran.   He said the Iranian political leadership had failed to fulfill promises of reform.   

Iran continues to terrorize its own population with Islamic-Nazism, with public hangings, kidnapping and extortion of families, unaccountable religious police, and denial basic freedoms such as religion, the media, or open political discourse.   The Iranian population are captives in the grip of an evil regime.   Since the Iranian leadership kills their own people, there is no restraining ideology not to continue to finance world-wide terrorism, and kill whenever it pleases them.  Canada is not immune from terrorism.

Previous attacks on Ottawa

There have been at least a dozen political attacks and plots in the Ottawa area in recent decades:

2011 Libyan Embassy: Seven young men were arrested after gaining access to the Libyan embassy in Ottawa and assaulting a diplomat.

2010 Royal Bank of Canada: An RBC branch in downtown Ottawa was the target of a firebomb attack by domestic extremists.

2010 Project Samosa: Three men were arrested in Ottawa for preparing to build IEDs for attacks in Ottawa and other Canadian cities.

2006 Toronto 18: Police arrested 18 individuals for plotting attacks at locations across Ontario, including Parliament Hill.

1991 Sudanese dignitary assaulted: Dr. Hassan Abdallah Al-Turabi was assaulted at Ottawa International Airport by a Sudanese refugee who was a martial arts expert.

1989 Bus hijacked on Parliament Hill: An armed man of Lebanese origin hijacked a Greyhound bus from Montreal to Ottawa citing political grievances.

1985, Canadians experienced the worst terrorist attack in our history when a bomb on Air India Flight 182 killed all 329 passengers and crew members aboard, most of them Canadian.

1985 Turkish Embassy: Armenian terrorists stormed the Turkish embassy, killing one Canadian guard.  The Turkish ambassador was seriously wounded when he tried to escape from an upstairs window.

1982 Turkish diplomat assassinated: Colonel Atilla Altikat was shot and killed in Ottawa while his car idled at a stoplight on the Western Parkway.

1982 Turkish Embassy: Armenian gunmen opened fire on Turkish commercial attaché Kani Gungor as he entered the garage of his apartment complex.  The victim was left paralyzed.

1977 Indian High Commission: The Indian High Commission (Embassy) in Ottawa was lightly damaged by a Molotov cocktail, by the Ananda Marga Yoga Society seeking the release of one of its leaders in India.

1972 Israeli diplomats: Six letter bombs sent to Israeli officials in Ottawa were intercepted and dismantled.

Canada cut off relations with Iran in September 2012, when Mr. Baird designated Iran a state sponsor of terrorism, closed its embassy in Ottawa and expelled its diplomats.   The measures were meant to pressure Iran over its poor human rights abuses, rogue nuclear program, support for terrorism, and backing of Syria President Bashar Al Assad.

Three months later, Canada outlawed the clandestine Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Canada has pushed for tighter sanctions against the Islamic republic.   Recently, the Ontario courts handed millions of dollars worth of Iranian government assets in Canada to victims of the Iran-sponsored terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah.

Tehran’s anti-Canada rhetoric continues and is well-documented.   Through its propaganda channels, the Iranian regime threatened Canada with “swift retaliation” and labeled the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper “racist,” “radical,” “extremist,” etc.

In the meantime, we call on the international community to follow Canada’s principled example and unequivocally condemn Hamas’ recent kidnapping of innocent Israeli teenagers.   Hamas has had a long history of terrorist attacks targeting Israeli civilians.   This organization, which bases itself on its extreme Islamic ideology, takes great pride in celebrating its countless suicide bombings, rocket attacks and other acts of callous terror.   These attacks, which have resulted in the slaughter of thousands of victims are morally deplorable.

Today’s religious terrorists have no redeeming ideological belief system that is sane or understandable.


Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism

June 23, 2014 

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism:

“On this day, we pause to remember those who have lost their lives due to acts of terrorism, both here in Canada and around the world.

“On June 23, 1985, Canadians experienced the worst terrorist attack in our history when a bomb on Air India Flight 182 killed all 329 passengers and crew members aboard, most of them Canadian.

“On this somber anniversary, we stand in solidarity with all families who have been affected by terrorist acts and honour the memory of those targeted by these hateful crimes.

“Our Government has taken action to fight terrorism in all of its forms, from our actions in Afghanistan to efforts here at home. Recent domestic initiatives include the adoption of Canada’s Counter-terrorism Strategy, the listing of several new terrorist entities under the Criminal Code, the 2013 Royal Assent of the Nuclear Terrorism Act and the Combating Terrorism Act, and the 2011 Kanishka Project – a five-year national initiative to improve our ability to counter terrorism and keep Canadians safe – all of which will help law enforcement and intelligence agencies to disrupt plans and preparations for terrorist attacks and investigate past acts of terrorism. Of particular importance is the passing of the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act in 2012, which allows victims of terrorism to sue perpetrators and supporters of terrorism.

“Global terrorist activity in recent weeks has reminded us of the threat posed by terrorism and the pain and suffering it brings to victims. The numerous memorials and days of remembrance around the world bring us together to honour innocent lives that have been lost to terrorism, as well as provide us with the opportunity to reflect on the need for continued vigilance against the perpetrators of these heinous acts.

Canada will not allow terrorism to undermine our way of life or that of others around the world. Canadians reject the use of terrorist violence, no matter where it takes place. Our defense of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law will keep us strong. Our continued vigilance will keep us safe.”

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Honourable Greg Rickford - Northern Gateway

The front page headline in the Newspaper just said in bold letters “APPROVED”  Protesters blocked Georgia St for a few minutes.   Some speakers made irresponsible statements on a platform repeated on TV, that a war is now on, as they advocated acts of terrorist behaviours against workers who do any kind of prep work on the ground.   The Media hyped for all it worth, as they yelled “where are the MPs ?”.   

But what actually happened that is not reported ?    The Minister merely issued a Press Release as part of a long process.   Others are trying to make it into something that it is not.   Lets look at what was actually was done, rather than the hype, and then lets all calm down.   As an extra, the Province of BC has its own approval process including its five hurdles announcement.   The Pipeline has not been finally approved, as there is just another step in a process.

Ottawa June 17, 2014
Natural Resources Canada

The Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, today issued the following statement outlining the Government of Canada’s decision after the Joint Review Panel’s independent review of the Northern Gateway Pipelines proposal to construct and operate two parallel pipelines to transport crude oil between Bruderheim, Alberta and Kitimat, British Columbia, and a marine terminal at the port of Kitimat.   The proposal was submitted by Northern Gateway Pipelines Limited Partnership to the National Energy Board (NEB) for an environmental assessment and regulatory examination in 2010.   This constituted the beginning of the regulatory process.

The Joint Review Panel for the Northern Gateway Project was an independent body established by the Minister of the Environment and the National Energy Board to review the project.   The Panel’s rigorous science-based review included feedback from over 1,450 participants in 21 different communities, reviewing over 175,000 pages of evidence and receiving 9,000 letters of comment.   The NEB is responsible for regulating some 73,000 kilometres of pipelines transporting crude oil, natural gas and petroleum products across Canada.

“In December 2013, the Joint Review Panel found that construction and operation of the Northern Gateway Pipelines project is in the public interest, subject to 209 conditions being met by the proponent.   After carefully reviewing the report, the Government accepts the independent Panel’s recommendation to impose 209 conditions on Northern Gateway Pipelines’ proposal.

“Today constitutes another step in the process.   Moving forward, the proponent must demonstrate to the independent regulator, the NEB, how it will meet the 209 conditions.   It will also have to apply for regulatory permits and authorizations from federal and provincial governments.   In addition, consultations with Aboriginal communities are required under many of the 209 conditions that have been established and as part of the process for regulatory authorizations and permits.   The proponent clearly has more work to do in order to fulfill the public commitment it has made to engage with Aboriginal groups and local communities along the route.”

The National Energy Board will now issue Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Nation Building

Every once in awhile there is a speech that goes beyond daily politics, and must be remembered long after Parliaments have moved on to new issues, and leaders have been replaced.   Such was the occasion and speech by our Prime Minister on May 30, 2014.  

Read the full text, then copy it and pass it onto school children and the younger generation who may not be aware of Canada’s heritage which forms who we are today.    
I recommend this speech !  PF
Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada in Toronto

May 30, 2014 Toronto, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today delivered the following remarks at the Tribute to Liberty Dinner in Toronto:

“Distinguished guests, colleagues from the Parliament of Canada, ladies and gentlemen.

“We know the reason why we’re gathered together this evening, but let me briefly share with you the how.

“In 2008, Tribute to Liberty approached our Government with an idea and a question.

“First, the idea: to help construct a monument in our Nation’s Capital that would honour for all time the hundreds of millions of men, women and children who have struggled and continue to struggle against the tyranny of communism, those who lived and those who, tragically, did not.

“And second: would our Government work with them in carrying out this vision.

“Now you already know our answer.

“In 2010 in the Speech from the Throne, our Government made known our strong and clear support for Tribute to Liberty’s vision of a memorial to those who have suffered under communism.

“Let me take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to Tribute to Liberty, in particular, to you, Board Chair Klimkowski, to current Treasurer, past Chair Forstmanis, to the entire board, to all of the donors.

“The goal you have been working towards is important to Canadians, past and present, but it is especially so for future generations.

“For they must be forever reminded – forever – that the freedom and peace they stand to inherit was earned through struggle and sacrifice, and must always be cherished as a precious and unique thing.

“There are others who also deserve – some of my colleagues I know who also deserve – special thanks: Jason Kenney and the members of his team who have been invested in this project from the very beginning, John Baird, Shelly Glover, Senator Linda Frum, certainly Senator Yonah Kim-Martin, Senator Ngo, and of course my thanks to each and every one of you, because I know each and every one here has been a supporter.

“Thank you for your generous and ongoing support.

“And give all the organizers a very big hand for what they’ve done.

“Now friends, our work is nearly done.

“In fact, the Jury will be selecting the winning monument design team in a matter of months.

“And so, as they – as you – carry out this noble task, know that you have the admiration and appreciation of Canadians.

“For you mark a chapter in human history that is truly harrowing.

“During the 20th century, communism’s poisonous ideology and ruthless practice slowly bled into countries all around the world, on almost every continent.

“The result was nothing short of catastrophic.

“More than one hundred million souls were lost, an almost incomprehensible number.

“We must never forget that these are not numbers, they are not statistics.

“They were mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, friends and neighbours.

“Their futures, their potential, their hopes and dreams, were stolen from them.

“Our hearts break for those who suffered and we mourn for those who were crushed.

“In Canada, we feel this pain so acutely because nearly one quarter of all Canadians were either held captive by communism’s chains or are the sons and daughters of those who were.

“Indeed, throughout the 20th century, Canada became a haven for those fleeing communist governments, as Robert described to us, and a new home to those who wanted to live in freedom.

“And so, over nearly 100 years they came – your grandparents, mothers and fathers, uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters – you came, from Russia, Estonia, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Cambodia, the former Czechoslovakia, the former Yugoslavia, the former East Germany – I could go on – Vietnam, China, North Korea, Cuba, Albania and others.

“And when these freedom-seekers arrived, many having risked their lives to get here, instead of communism’s oppression, they found Canadian safety.

“Instead of communism’s restrictions, they found Canadian freedom.

“Instead of communism’s grim determinism, they found Canadian opportunity.

“Instead of communism’s fear, they found Canadian hope.

“Safety, freedom, opportunity, hope.

“That was Canada.

“And that is still our Canada today.

“Now since arriving here – once again I love the story Robert told us – but since arriving here these men and women worked hard.

“They raised strong families.

“They’ve upheld and promoted Canadian values.

“And through their innumerable contributions from coast to coast to coast, they have helped make Canada a better country.

“And friends, just as Canada combated communism at home by serving as a safe-haven for hundreds of thousands of immigrants and refugees, abroad, we vigorously defended freedom wherever it was threatened.

“Canadians know that the dangers and difficulties of the world do not go away simply by closing our eyes to them.

“And so with open eyes and a desire to do what is right and good, Canadians have led.

“During the Cold war, Canada was there on the frontier between East and West Germany.

“During those challenging years of one of my predecessors, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, stood shoulder to shoulder with the giants, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, President Ronald Reagan, and Pope, now Saint John Paul II, until the Cold War was successfully and decisively concluded.

“We threw our support and strength behind the people of the Baltic republics for 50 years, refusing to recognize their illegal annexation by the Soviet Union until they were finally liberated, as were the other captive nations of Eastern and Central Europe.

“Canada was a refuge for tens of thousands of Chinese fleeing the horrors of the Cultural Revolution.

“We welcomed more than sixty thousand Vietnamese refugees - the boat people - after the Fall of Saigon, as already been said including our first member of the Upper House of Vietnamese decent, Senator Ngo.

“We spoke out in those days against anti-Semitism in the Communist world, against the expulsion of Jewish citizens and against the horrific mass deportation of Crimean Tatars, the 70th anniversary of which we mark with sorrow, and with reminders unfortunately, this very month.

“Canada offered shelter to the Czech writer, Josef Skvorecky, and of course, to the Soviet defector Igor Gouzenko, who gave the west one of the very first warnings of the dangers to come in the Cold War, and who actually lived just a few blocks south of Parliament Hill.

“Canada was there in 1991 as the first western country to recognize a newly independent Ukraine and friends, Canada is still there for the people of Ukraine.

“In fact, there is no western country that has been closer and had closer ties to Ukraine than Canada, and you must know that we are all fiercely proud of that.

“Since the late 19thCentury, we received with open arms hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian settlers.

“We called the Holodomor what it was, a mass genocide by starvation.

“And in 2008, at the initiative of my colleague James Bezan who’s here tonight, we passed an Act of Parliament declaring the fourth Saturday of November to be Holodomor Memorial Day in this country.

“Now ladies and gentlemen, I’m going to return to Ukraine in just a moment, because the current situation there has serious and far-reaching implications for peoples everywhere.

“But before I do, let me explain why it is that Canadians vigorously promote freedom, why so many Canadians have been willing to give their lives defending it.

“It’s simple, really.

“Freedom, for everyone, is at the heart of what it means to be Canadian.

“Canadians have a long history of guarding our freedoms at home.

“And we have an equally proud history of defending freedom abroad.

“Another one of my predecessors, Prime Minister St. Laurent, who served in the early post-war years, put it well when he said, and I quote: ‘The vigour and liberty of our national way of life are the foundations for playing our role in the Cold War.’

“A statement, I would add, that applies equally to virtually all of Canada’s historic military engagements abroad.

“Now I must pause here, however, with immense regret to note that Canada has not always lived up to these high aspirations.

“There have been times when we’ve fallen short, heeded the calls of those who preferred to see Canada sidelined, to see Canada serve as a neutral bystander instead of a principled actor.

“Those who preached moral-equivalency and who said that Canada should learn to accept totalitarian communism as just another option.

“They were the people who showed blindness to the unparalleled crimes of Maoism in China.

“Indifference in the face of the communist coup against Poland’s Solidarity in 1981 and who pushed the so-called Peace Initiative of 1984, not long before the Warsaw Pact collapsed.

“Friends, our Government has learned from the past and we have used these Canadian examples and experiences – both proud and shameful – to guide our present actions and shape our foreign policies.

“Today, our foreign policies are informed by our highest values.

“Canada defends and promotes the basic freedoms that are crucial to maintaining human society and we oppose those everywhere who threaten those values.

“Under our Government, Canada has cut support for terrorist-led governments.

“We’ve condemned human rights abuses.

“And, ladies and gentlemen, Canada proudly, resolutely, unequivocally stands with the people of Ukraine.

“Now I just want to add something: I was told a couple of weeks ago that Mr. Putin made some comments.

“He said he didn’t understand why Harper and Canada cared so much about Ukraine; it’s a long way away, he says.

“The fact that he doesn’t get it tells you there’s a problem.

“Freedom, democracy, justice: that’s what it’s all about for the people of Ukraine.

“A couple of months ago I travelled to Ukraine as some of you know, the first G-7 leader to do so.

“During my visit I had the pleasure of meeting with Prime Minister Yatsenyuk.

“And when we met I shared with him – as I continue to share with my counterparts in the G-7 and beyond – that what is happening today to the millions in Ukraine is both a wake-up call and a call to action.

“Over the last several months, indeed years, the world has watched as President Putin has grown more comfortable with confrontation.

“His boldness has increased since Russian troops first made an open grab for power in Crimea.

“The impact of the Putin regime’s expansionism and militarism extends beyond Ukraine.

“It threatens the security of our Eastern European allies and, by extension, the stability and security of the world.

“Now friends, I cannot predict what these next few months or years hold for Ukraine, for Europe, or for Canada.

“But I do know this: Canadians have always supported freedom and democracy for all people and we will not hold back that support now from the people of Ukraine.

“Canada will do what we have always tried to do, the right thing.

“Now let me just close with this.

“Pope, now Saint, John Paul II referred to the 20thCentury as the century of tears.

“And, for countless tens of millions of people, he was right.

“In the course of that century, its great evils – militarism, fascism and communism – snuffed out the lights and the lives of freedom, democracy and justice.

“But just as stars shine more brightly as darkness claims the sky at night, so I believe Canada, the North Star, stood out as these shadows fell across the globe.

“Now those of us who have lived long enough will know that evil comes in many forms and seems to reinvent itself time and again.

“But whatever it calls itself - Nazism, Marxist-Leninism, today, terrorism - they all have one thing in common: the destruction, the end, of human liberty.

“My fear is this: as we move further into the 21st century, Canadians, especially new generations, will forget or will not be taught the lessons hard learned and the victories hard earned over the last 100 years.

“That they will fall even further in love with ease and convenience.

“And that they will not understand that their rights and their advantages, their peace and their security, were won by people willing to live and die for what is good and right.

“That they will not appreciate how precious and rare our way of life here in Canada today truly is.

“And that they will not recognize these grave threats when they re-appear.

“What history has taught us is one clear thing: that the political ideologies that promise utopia lead to the opposite, hell on earth.

“That’s why Canada needs this monument, and why we are so grateful to the work of Tribute of Liberty that reminds us of the names and the stories of those lost to one of the deadliest ideological plagues ever spread, to communism.

“This monument is part of marking our path as a nation, and, thus, helping to ensure that we do not lose our way.

“Thank you very much.”

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Canada National Day of Honour

Canada National Day of Honour

May 9, 2014   Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement after participating in events marking the National Day of Honour, which recognized Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan:

“Throughout our history, Canadians have fought tyranny and evil around the world because it was the right thing to do.”

“Much has changed since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Towers on 9/11.   In response to those attacks, which killed thousands of civilians including 24 Canadians, the Government of Canada stood steadfast beside our Allies and responded to these acts of terrorism."

“For the last 12 years, more than 40,000 brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces, along with hundreds of courageous Canadian civilians, have fought to help Afghans make their country a more stable, secure and self-reliant place to live, free from the yoke of terrorists and oppressors.”

“Our Canadian Armed Forces fought extremely well in Kandahar, arguably the most dangerous province in Afghanistan.   The ingenuity, spirit and strength of our men and women has made a difference in one of the most violent and dangerous parts of the world.   Their accomplishments and attributes have given Afghans the opportunity to build on the work of these brave Canadians in order to build a better life for themselves.   Their contributions are celebrated by Afghans, by our Allies, and of course by Canadians here at home.”

“Too often in the past our Armed Forces have returned to Canada from their trials with little fanfare.   Not so today.   Canadians across the country came out in force, united in appreciation, to honour the bravery, heroism, strength and sacrifice of those who fought for freedom and security in Afghanistan.”

“The entire country watched with tremendous pride as the Veterans of this mission marched in the Commemoration Parade.   We honoured those wounded by lining up in communities throughout Ontario and in Gatineau, Quebec, to watch the Soldier On Afghanistan Relay, and we were somber during the two minutes of silence marking a special tribute to the fallen and their families.”

“I had the honour of paying tribute to the Families of the Fallen in a private ceremony and to hear first-hand how these remarkable individuals touched their families, friends and the entire country.”

“When the last Canadian flag that flew at NATO’s International Security Assistance Force headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, was handed to me, it was a deeply emotional moment.   It reminded me of the blood, sweat, tears and sacrifice that Canadians had endured to make Afghanistan a better place; a place where a little girl could go to school, a place where a mother might have medicine for her child, and a place where a woman could vote.”

“Most importantly, the entire day, with its outpouring of love and affection for our troops, reminded me that a loving and proud nation was welcoming its military home, with open arms, after a job so well done.”

“To ensure that their contributions are forever in the hearts and minds of Canadians, the Government recently announced that we will create a national memorial to those who served in Afghanistan, in addition to making a new inscription to commemorate the mission onto our existing National War Memorial.   We will also be renaming ‘La Promenade Building’ in Ottawa to ‘The Valour Building’ in honour of their strength and service.   I am also pleased to be announcing today that eligible units of the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Special Operations Forces who played key roles in Afghanistan have been bestowed with the Arabian Sea or the Afghanistan Theatre Honour.”

“It is a testimony to the national effort that characterized this mission that every major Canadian Army regular and reserve infantry and armoured regiment that sent soldiers to Afghanistan has been awarded the Afghanistan Theatre Honour.   As they have done in so many previous conflicts, all of these units have defended Canada and served their country and fellow citizens well.”

“God Bless the Canadian Armed Forces and their families and keep them safe.”

       *       *       *       *       *       *       *      

Background  -  Canada’s accomplishments in Afghanistan

May 9, 2014   Ottawa, Ontario

On September 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 people from many different countries, including Canada, were killed in coordinated terrorist attacks on the United States.   Following these events, Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) began a defining chapter in Canadian history, joining our international allies and partners to disrupt Al-Qaeda’s ability to launch further attacks, and to remove the support and protection provided to them by Afghanistan’s Taliban regime.

After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Canada and our allies participated in efforts to combat terrorism, stabilize the country and rebuild Afghanistan’s capacity to provide its own security.   Today, thanks to these efforts, Afghanistan has been given an opportunity to seize a more positive future for its people.

Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan lasted over 12 years.   More than 40,000 CAF members served in Afghanistan and supporting locations between October 2001 and March 2014, making it the largest deployment of CAF personnel since the Second World War.   They were part of one of the largest coalitions in modern history, bringing together 28 NATO allies and 22 partners representing more than a quarter of the countries on the planet.

Canadian operations were conducted in a number of different roles involving air, land and sea.   Activities included combat, security, supporting development efforts, and training operations in varying capacities and regions of Afghanistan.

At the same time, Canada deployed more than 650 civilian experts (including civilian police officers) with specialized skills to help Afghans build their capacity in key areas, most notably in democratic governance and the delivery of basic services; education and training; health care; human rights and the rule of law including policing, corrections and the judiciary; humanitarian assistance; and border management and security.

In Afghanistan, progress in strengthening security, governance and development has always been hard won.   The successes and lessons learned from Canada’s whole-of-government effort – in Kandahar and nationally – are all the more remarkable because of the nature of the task in Afghanistan.

Despite the challenges of working in a complex security environment, Afghanistan is far from being what it was in 2001.   Since then, significant progress has been achieved in the areas of security, diplomacy, human rights and development, including:

Afghanistan is no longer a base for terrorism directed against the international community.

More than 7.7 million Afghan children, 39 per cent of whom are girls, are enrolled in formal and community-based schools.   In contrast, less than one million boys - and only boys - were enrolled in formal schools in 2001.

More Afghans are being trained as teachers and provided with vocational and literacy skills, in particular women and girls.

The country now has a constitution in place.
Free elections were held for the first time in the country’s history in 2004 and its most recent Presidential election held in April 2014, marks the first time that presidential power will be democratically transferred in the country.

Women in Afghanistan today can vote and now actively take part in political life and debate. A remarkable 36 per cent of the nearly seven million Afghans who voted in the April 2014 elections were women.

Since 2007, Canada has been the largest donor to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), which has helped to establish the only Afghan body with the mandate and capacity to promote and protect human rights in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan now has a vibrant and independent media, and a diverse and increasingly strong civil society has developed. Improvements have been made in provincial and district governance, basic human rights and freedoms, and the rule of law.

Afghans have greater access to higher quality medical care, with more than 9,000 health professionals including doctors, nurses, midwives and community health workers trained.

Maternal mortality has been drastically reduced to by over 70 per cent in the last decade, while child mortality has been reduced by more than 50 per cent in the same time period.

Through ongoing vaccination campaigns, more than 8 million children are being vaccinated against polio. Since 2011, there has been a significant decrease in the number of confirmed polio cases (in 2011, there were 80 cases, and to date three in 2014).

The agriculture sector is growing because of Canada’s investments in the Dahla Dam and Arghandab irrigation system.

Vital physical infrastructure is being built to support the delivery of basic services such as drinking water supply and sanitation, electricity and health care.

The development of a viable economy is being supported through the construction of roads and government buildings.

The CAF’s activities were aimed at establishing the security needed to promote development and an environment conducive to the improvement of Afghan life. The nature of the operational and tactical fighting demanded that the CAF learn new capabilities and enhance its understanding of the modern battle-space and information environment. 

These accomplishments came at the price of Canadian lives, including 158 CAF personnel, one diplomat and a number of civilians.   Thousands of others were injured in the line of duty.   Their sacrifices and the sacrifices of their loved ones will not be forgotten.

Canada’s contributions and the results of these efforts over the past decade have been considerable, but this is not the end of Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan.   A shared goal of Canada and its allies is to enable the Afghan authorities to provide effective security across the country and ensure that the country can never again be a safe haven for terrorists. Between 2014 and 2017, Canada has committed $227 million in development assistance.   Starting in 2015, Canada will provide $110 million per year for three years to help sustain the Afghan National Security Forces. Canada’s continuing efforts support the long-term objectives both of Afghanistan and the international community, enabling the country’s leadership in governing and securing their people’s future.

Source -  Prime Minister's Office - Communications