EP 58: CAF ready to fight wildfires in BC and Canada’s military mission in Iraq extended

In the show today, Marcello Sukhdeo talks about the Canadian Forces readiness to fight wildfires in British Columbia, the extension of Canada’s military mission in Iraq and the RCN deploys a team to SEA BREEZE 2017.

Wildfires in BC

For the first time since 2003, members of the Canadian Forces are in British Columbia getting ready to battle wildfires.

Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said on Sunday that Ottawa had received and approved a request for help battling the hundreds of wildfires that have prompted a state of emergency in the province.

He said that they will be on standby and ready to support provincial efforts, whatever that ask may be.

BC Chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said that at this point they would first utilize their partner agencies from around Canada for trained wildfire staff before they would turn to support from the armed forces in terms of a front line fire suppression role.

Shifting weather patterns are raising concerns in the B.C. Interior where firefighters continue to battle hundreds of wildfires that have already forced over 14,000 people to flee their homes. Wind and lightning could make conditions much worse, sparking new fires and spreading them further.

Iraqi mission extended

The Liberal government has extended Canada’s military mission in Iraq until March 31, 2019. In a news release, the government says that Canada will be providing over $371 million over the next two years to support the cost of this renewed contribution to the Global Coalition against ISIS.

This extension includes the authority to provide training for new potential partners within the Iraqi security forces and a CC-130J Hercules aircraft for tactical airlift.

Critics are saying that the Liberals extended the mission without Parliamentary debate and that this type of situation should prompt a full debate in Parliament.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan told journalists on Thursday that the original mission was already debated in the House of Commons.

SEA BREEZE 2017

A team of 14 divers, support staff and staff officers from Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic and Maritime Forces Atlantic has been deployed by the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) to SEA BREEZE 2017.

Being led by the United States and Ukraine Navies, SEA BREEZE 2017 (SB17) is a multinational training event that is taking place in Odessa, Ukraine from July 10 to 21. This event will focus on training and exercise in maritime operations support information sharing and awareness of the maritime domain, according to a release from National Defence.

SB17 provides an invaluable opportunity for the Canadian Armed Forces to build and strengthen interoperability skills between Canada’s international maritime allies. These skills when finely honed “are remarkably exportable to achieve higher levels of security in the international setting,” said Rear-Admiral John Newton.

Author: Marcello Sukhdeo

Marcello is the managing editor of Vanguard, IT in Canada and Canadian Government Executive and the host of Vanguard Radio and WRLWND Radio podcasts. He is an avid technology and security enthusiast, who has worked on content leadership strategies for a number of industries including the public sector, life science, technology and defence.

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