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Canada’s military is a ‘top priority,’ Anita Anand says

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Canada’s Defence Minister Anita Anand says boosting and protecting the country’s armed forces is a “top priority” amid a changing global geopolitical landscape, recruitment problems and ongoing efforts to address sexual misconduct in the military.

“I’ve continually said that my top priority is to make sure that all members of our armed forces are protected and respected when they put on a uniform in service of this country,” Anand told CTV’s Your Morning on Friday, during an interview to mark Remembrance Day.

“The world is getting darker for a number of reasons, one of which is Russia’s illegal, further invasion of Ukraine,” Anand said. “I definitely take note of that changing global strategic environment where we have aggressors trying to make their mark against the allied nations, and what we need to continue to do, and will continue to do, is to be unified.”

The Canadian government has been supporting Ukraine with multi-million dollar aid packages, military equipment and training for Ukrainian soldiers, and Anand said that support will continue in the long term.

In the meantime, the Canadian military has been struggling to recruit new members. Earlier this fall, the Canadian Armed Forces sounded the alarm over a severe shortage of recruits to fill thousands of vacant positions. Part of the problem was the fact that military recruitment and training centres were shuttered because of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in only 2,000 people being enrolled in the military in 2020-21 – less than half of what was needed — The Canadian Press reported.

The military has also been grappling with numerous allegations of sexual misconduct, some involving high-ranking officers, which led to calls for an internal culture shift. Anand told Your Morning that since her appointment as defence minister, she has been working to address the issue and that includes bringing in an external monitor, Jocelyne Therrien, to oversee efforts addressing sexual misconduct within the Canadian Armed Forces.

“We’re continuing to make progress by increasing resources for the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre,” Anand said.

Anand was also asked about the more than 23,000 veterans whose disability claims have yet to be processed by Veterans Affairs Canada. She said that addressing the backlog “is extremely important to our government…since 2020, we’ve committed $340 million in an effort to make sure that that backlog is reduced.”

Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay has told The Canadian Press that the initial claims are taking 25 weeks to process. However, that does not take into account how long the paperwork sits before it’s processed.

“By spring/summer 2023, we expect service standards to return to normal,” Anand said.

 

Watch the full interview by clicking the video at the top of this article. 

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Doug Ford once again calls on Bank of Canada to lower interest rates – CP24

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Doug Ford once again calls on Bank of Canada to lower interest rates  CP24

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'Stars are aligning' for Bank of Canada rate cut: economists – CTV News

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‘Stars are aligning’ for Bank of Canada rate cut: economists  CTV News

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Member of Canada Soccer support team detained in France for alleged drone use

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PARIS – The Canadian Olympic Committee says a “non-accredited” member of Canada Soccer’s support team has been detained by French authorities in Saint-Étienne for allegedly using a drone to record New Zealand’s women’s soccer team during practice.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee said in a statement Tuesday that team support members alerted police after a drone was flown over the women’s soccer team’s practice on Monday, leading to the detention.

The NZOC said it registered a complaint with the International Olympic Committee’s integrity unit and asked Canada for a full review.

The COC said in a statement released Tuesday it is “shocked and disappointed” over the allegation and apologized to the NZOC and New Zealand Football.

“The Canadian Olympic Committee stands for fair-play and we are shocked and disappointed,” the statement said. “We offer our heartfelt apologies to New Zealand Football, to all the players affected, and to the New Zealand Olympic Committee.”

Canada, the defending Olympic women’s soccer champion, is scheduled to open its tournament against 28th ranked New Zealand on Friday in Saint-Étienne.

The COC said it is reviewing next steps with the IOC, Paris 2024, Canada Soccer and FIFA. The COC said it will provide an update Wednesday.

“Canada Soccer is working closely and cooperatively with the Canadian Olympic Committee on the matter involving the Women’s National Team,” Canada Soccer communications chief Paulo Senra said it a statement. “Next steps are being reviewed with the IOC, Paris 2024, and FIFA. We will provide an update (Wednesday).”

It’s not the first time a Canadian soccer team has been involved in a drone controversy involving an international rival’s training session.

In 2021 at Toronto, Honduras stopped a training session ahead of its men’s World Cup qualifier against Canada after spotting a drone above the field, according to reports in Honduran media. The teams played to a 1-1 draw.

French security forces guarding Paris 2024 sites are intercepting an average of six drones per day, Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said Tuesday.

Attal added the drones are often operated by “individuals, maybe tourists wanting to take pictures.”

“That’s why it’s important to remind people of the rules. There’s a ban on flying drones,” he said, according to multiple news outlets.

“Systems are in place to allow us to very quickly intercept (drones) and arrest their operators.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 23, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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