Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

Archive for the ‘Canada’ Category

Interesting Post on Politics of the Future

Posted by K.E. White on July 4, 2011

From Mcleans.ca’s Paul Well, blogging on the NDP-charged parliamentary Canada Post filibuster, on the difficulty of smart economic policy and electoral politics:

This simple notion—the world changes, it’s not like it used to be—does not come naturally to either of the main parties in the new Parliament. Layton’s NDP and Harper’s Conservatives are preoccupied with arguing about the allocation of wealth and advantage, not its creation. They are wage-earners’ parties with competing ideas about what wage-earners want. But it’s not fat-cat bosses or ivory-tower elites that are shutting HMV and Blockbuster down. It’s new ideas and technologies. This week an Industry Canada panel released a report saying Canada is mediocre, and getting worse, at producing those ideas and technologies. The feisty new Parliament, having shown off its ability to fight yesterday’s fights, was no longer around to discuss the report. Maybe this autumn. Maybe.

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Tensions in NATO’s Afghanistan Mission: Canada Wants More Troops, US Paints Dire Picture, Germany on the Fence

Posted by K.E. White on January 30, 2008

Canada—who heads up NATO operations in Afghanistan—is becoming a bit antsy about its peacekeeping role. Earlier this month, a review of Canada’s military operations in Afghanistan—chaired by John Manley—demanded more NATO troops be sent or Canada should terminate its mission there.

Canada’s departure from the NATO mission could be a major blow to the alliance. From Canada.com:

“I think if NATO can’t come through with that help, then I think, frankly, NATO’s own reputation and future will be in jeopardy,” Harper told reporters after endorsing that recommendation from a panel headed by former Liberal cabinet minister John Manley.

Canada, with roughly 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, has lost 78 soldiers and one diplomat. All three opposition parties are pressuring Harper’s Conservatives to end Canada’s combat mission by no later than February 2009, with the NDP and Bloc Quebecois demanding an immediate withdrawal.

 

 

The response from other NATO countries? Not fantastic. From Spiegel Online:

 

Meanwhile, Germany‘s Green Party warned on Wednesday that the deployment of combat troops to northern Afghanistan could lead to the spread of the German mission to the volatile south of the country. Party defense spokesman Winfried Nachtwei told the Leipziger Volkszeitung that the Quick Reaction Force should not “open the door for the Bundeswehr in the south,” and that the government should “guarantee that the limits of the mandate up to now are maintained.” Nachtwei insisted that the combat troops should only be allowed to support troops in the north and not be sent to fight the insurgency.

The German media on Wednesday looked at the implications of the NATO request, which could see Germany further embroiled in Afghanistan.

How coalition partners react to the deteriorating situation is critical to American security. The Afghan-Pakistan border is a terrorist hotbed: threatening not only Afghanistan’s security, but that of the volatile–and nuclear armed–regime in Pakistan.

 

President Bush pledged to send additional American troops to Afghanistan during his State of the Union address:

“In Afghanistan, America, our 25 NATO allies and 15 partner nations are helping the Afghan people defend their freedom and rebuild their country. Thanks to the courage of these military and civilian personnel, a nation that was once a safe haven for al-Qaida is now a young democracy where boys and girls are going to school, new roads and hospitals are being built, and people are looking to the future with new hope.

“These successes must continue, so we are adding 3,200 Marines to our forces in Afghanistan, where they will fight the terrorists and train the Afghan army and police. Defeating the Taliban and al-Qaida is critical to our security, and I thank the Congress for supporting America‘s vital mission in Afghanistan.”

A report released today paints a bleak picture in Afghanistan. From BBC.com:

The study by former UN ambassador Thomas Pickering and retired Marine Corps General James Jones is due to be released later on Wednesday.

“The progress achieved after six years of international engagement is under serious threat from resurgent violence, weakening international resolve, mounting regional challenges and a growing lack of confidence on the part of the Afghan people about the future direction of their country,” it says.

Posted in Afghanistan, Canada, Foreign Policy, international relations, Manley, NATO | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Chalk River Nuclear ‘Dust Up’ Embroils Canada

Posted by K.E. White on January 17, 2008

Stephen Harper

An argument over shutting down an aging nuclear reactor has put the minority Conservative government of Stephen Harper in am embarrassing position. Canadian Prime Minister Harper now stands accused of bullying the bureaucratic entity that safeguardsLinda Keen Canada’s nuclear power infrastructure.

The fight pitted Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper against Linda Keen, President of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). The two disagreed over shutting down a nuclear reactor, a debate that carried global consequences—as The Star describes:

The Chalk River reactor, run by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., was shut down on Nov. 18 for routine maintenance, but an inspection by the regulatory staff found that mandatory safety upgrades – connecting vital cooling pumps to an emergency power supply that would work even if the area was hit with an earthquake – had not been done.

That put the reactor in violation of its operating licence (sic) and AECL opted to keep it shut.

The result was a worldwide shortage of radioisotopes used for medical diagnosis and treatment, prompting the government to pass legislation ordering the start-up of the reactor.

As would be expected, Keen was removed and now sits as only a CNSC board member. Michael Binder now serves as CNSC president.

The problem: Harper’s government cannot seem to offer up an objective deficiency in Keen’s performance, besides her contention that the Chalk River reactor did not meet Canadian safety standards.Chalk River Nuclear Facility

The Chalk River facility is a key component of Canada’s nuclear industry, and boasts its own Nobel Prize story:

Chalk River is the site where 1994 Nobel Prize winner, NRC’s Bertram Brockhouse, laid the foundation for the field of neutron scattering. It is also here that one of Canada‘s most productive science facilities is located – the National Research Universal (NRU) reactor.

Unlike most nuclear reactors which were dedicated to energy or military applications, the NRU was designed solely for research and development – which keeps the facility buzzing with activity year round. The neutrons supplied by the NRU reactor can accommodate users from a diverse range of scientific, academic and industrial sectors; making the facility a hotbed for cutting-edge research.

Owned and operated by NRC’s largest spin-off, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, the NRU is a nuclear facility that provides scientists with opportunities to conduct research using neutron beams. Beyond its historical contributions – establishing Canada‘s first operational nuclear facility (1945) and spinning out AECL (1952) – NRC still has a key presence in Chalk River, the NRC Canadian Neutron Beam Centre (NRC-CNBC).

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