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Chinese balloon flew through ‘radar gaps’ during journey over Canada: Norad



Senior Canadian military officers at the North American Aerospace Defence Command say a suspected Chinese spy balloon passed near several military bases and through “radar gaps” during its flight over Canada.

Canadian and American officials won’t know exactly what the balloon was capable of — and what information it captured — until it is analyzed.

But Maj.-Gen. Paul Prevost of the Canadian Armed Forces strategic joint staff said it did not pass over particularly sensitive sites in Canada.

“It came down pretty much from Alaska down into Yukon and into central B.C.,” Prevost said.


“So pretty much between the border of Alberta and the coast. There was no Canadian Forces infrastructure of significance along its path.

Prevost made the comments before the House of Commons defence committee on Friday while appearing alongside the deputy commander of Norad, Lt.-Gen. Alain Pelletier.

It was the first opportunity parliamentarians have had to question senior military officers about the Chinese balloon and three other objects that have been shot from the skies over North America since Feb. 4.

That includes one shot down over central Yukon last Saturday, which Pelletier described as a “suspected balloon,” and another taken down over Lake Huron on Sunday.

Searches for those two objects as well as a third shot down off the coast of Alaska on Feb. 10 were launched, with the RCMP, Canadian military and Canadian Coast Guard all tapped to help. The search in Lake Huron has since been suspended.

Pelletier confirmed that the Chinese balloon, which was first detected entering Alaskan airspace on Jan. 28, travelled through Canada on Jan. 30 and 31 before re-entering the U.S., where its presence was publicly revealed.

“Norad monitored the flight path of the balloon for most of its flight path over Canada,” he said.

He added there were “some radar gaps throughout some of its flight path. … The high-altitude surveillance balloon of (the People’s Republic of China) came in proximity to some of the Canadian bases, but I cannot speak of the actual response of those Canadian bases.”

Canada has several military bases in Alberta and B.C., including one of its main fighter jet wings in Cold Lake, Alta. However, Prevost downplayed any security breach, saying: “There was no Canadian Forces infrastructure of significance along its path.”

Pelletier said the Canadian and American militaries are nonetheless keen to find out more about the balloon’s capabilities, including not only its ability to gather information but whether it could be used for other purposes.

The two senior Canadian military officers were also grilled about the other three objects taken down after the Chinese balloon, and whether Canada’s aging CF-18s were capable of destroying them.

U.S. President Joe Biden suggested on Thursday the three objects shot down over Alaska, Yukon and Lake Huron did not pose a threat to national security.

Pelletier and Prevost did not offer much in the way of additional details, and instead emphasized the importance of finding those objects to determine what they were. At the same time, they appeared to concede that those searches will come up empty.

The RCMP announced Thursday that it was suspending its search in Lake Huron, blaming deteriorating weather conditions and a low probability of success. Meanwhile, Prevost described the search in Yukon as trying to find “a needle in a snow bank.”

“The one in Yukon specifically landed in mountainous terrain with about a metre to a metre and a half of snow,” he said. “Picture an object falling from 20,000 feet into that snow.”

However, Prevost said whatever they were, “what we know is those objects were unauthorized and unwanted.”

Prevost also told committee members that an American F-22 destroyed the suspected balloon over Yukon instead of a Canadian CF-18 because of timing, saying two Canadian jets scrambled to the area were about five minutes away when the shot was taken.

“The F-18s had been scrambled,” he said. “The F-18s had a good chance of taking an engagement there. But we liked to go with the first opportunity, which was the F-22 just as it crossed the border.”

Some have questioned whether Canada’s aging fighter jets had the capability to destroy a small, slow-moving balloon at high altitude, particularly as their combat sensors and weapons are outdated and have yet to be upgraded.

Prevost said the CF-18s were carrying an older version of the type of missile that the F-22 used to destroy the balloon over Yukon, and that tests would have been conducted before a shot was taken.

“The F-18, we thought on that object, would have been able to attempt it,” he said. “It was going to be the first attempt from an F-18. And before taking that shot, there’s a few tests we would have been able to see if we had a good shot on it.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 17, 2023.

This is a corrected story. A previous version erroneously attributed remarks that the balloon did not pass over particularly sensitive sites in Canada to Norad deputy commander Lt.-Gen. Alain Pelletier.


The Losani Family Foundation celebrates 10 years of giving back



This year, the Losani Family Foundation is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. Over the past decade, the Foundation has made a significant impact on the communities it serves in three major core areas:

  • support for vulnerable women,
  • support for children,
  • support for food banks.

As the foundation’s parent company, Losani Homes is a leading developer operating in the Hamilton/GTA area, with a long-standing history of supporting charitable causes. Losani Homes’ charitable initiatives have been active in the local community for over 40 years, ever since the Losani family first immigrated to Canada. Some early initiatives included supporting children’s programs through an emphasis on physical activity, literacy programs, and hospital facilities.

By 2013, the Losani Family formalized their commitment to local communities by founding the Losani Family Foundation, which has been making a sizable impact on charitable organizations, locally and internationally, donating over $1.6 million since its inception in 2013.

CEO of Losani Homes, Fred Losani, has been the driving force behind corporate and family philanthropy over the last decade. With a deep sense of care and stewardship in support of local and international communities, Fred and the company’s employees have worked tirelessly to support housing, clean water, health, and numerous other important causes.


The Losani Family Foundation has supported multiple organizations over the years, including but not limited to: Good Shepherd, St. Matthew’s House, and Hamilton Food Share. The Losani Family Foundation’s passion for giving back has also inspired many business associates in the local community.

In 2006, Fred and five other Hamilton business leaders raised a staggering $1.5 million for local children and families by trekking to the North Pole, and again in 2008, where they trekked to the South Pole. They even completed the entire length of the Bruce Trail in 2012. These achievements were the spark that led to the Foundation’s inception, and they have continued to make a difference in countless lives since.

In 2017, Losani Homes and the Losani Family Foundation received the Gold Award for Building Community Spirit at the National Association of Home Builders Awards (NAHB).

At that time, Fred Losani stated: “We are honoured to receive this special recognition for our efforts at both the local and international levels. We are fortunate that we have achieved great success in our home and land development business. We take this responsibility seriously, but we are equally committed to and proud of the work done through the Losani Family Foundation.”

The Losani Family Foundation has consistently professed that food is an essential element of life, is at the heart of any family gathering and is a core value of the Foundation. The Losani Family Foundation has worked with numerous food banks over the years, one of the closest relationships being with Hamilton Food Share, enabling the team to support vulnerable people in the community. The Losani Family Foundation has worked closely with Hamilton Food Share to support families at risk of facing food insecurity issues. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been donated by the Losani Family Foundation to this vital Hamilton organization.

In 2022, the Losani Family Foundation further supported families facing poverty by contributing $9,500 to Food4Kidz to establish a relationship with the organization to address the issue of food insecurity for children in close to 70 Hamilton schools. The Losani team also visited CityKidz, another non-profit organization close to the Foundation’s heart. Team members worked on packing family care kids and assembling boxes for meal kits. Along with their volunteer labour, the Losani Family Foundation donated $25,000 to help improve the lives of local children by supporting the work of CityKidz. To date, the Losani Family Foundation has donated well over $200,000 to CityKidz.

Looking towards 2023 and beyond, the Losani Family Foundation will be supporting these and numerous other charitable initiatives. Their aim is to provide significant financial support to grassroots charities in local communities.

In 2023, the team at Losani Homes will embark on multiple visits to support our community partners in Hamilton, Stoney Creek, Brantford, Paris, Grimsby, and Beamsville.

The Losani Family Foundation continues to set a high standard for philanthropy and remains steadfast in its commitment to making a difference in our local communities.

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Vancouver park board offers tips on how to ‘respect’ city’s coyotes



VANCOUVER — Now that coyote denning season is in full swing, the Vancouver park board is offering some tips for “peaceful coexistence” between the animals and humans.

Their pups are born in the spring, and the board says that makes coyotes more active as they protect their dens and seek food for their young.

Normally they’re only seen at dawn and dusk, but the board says that behaviour changes in spring, when they’re spotted in the daytime and they become bolder or stand their ground if they perceive a threat.

Coyotes are found across Vancouver and prefer sheltered, wooded areas to raise their families, so the board says it will occasionally close trails in high-traffic locations like Stanley Park where they are known to frequent.


Its tips for living without conflict with the animals include to never leave or offer food — punishable by a $500 fine if offenders are caught — keep pets on a leash, give wildlife space and if you see a coyote, slowly back away.

There have been a number of high-profile coyote attacks in the city over the years, including dozens in spring and summer of 2021 in Stanley Park, some involving children bitten while with their families.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 21, 2023.


The Canadian Press

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Military expecting to save $30M per year with targeted housing benefit for troops



OTTAWA — The Canadian Armed Forces is rolling out a new housing benefit that a senior commander says will better help troops struggling to find affordable accommodations while saving millions of dollars every year.

The Canadian Forces Housing Differential will supplement the incomes of members who have to live and work in areas of the country with high rental costs.

That includes Canadian Forces Base Comox on Vancouver Island, where some members were recently told they could contact Habitat for Humanity if they were having trouble finding a place to live.

The benefit is set to come into effect on July 1 and will replace an existing allowance called the post living differential, or PLD, that sought to offset the cost of living and working in particularly expensive communities.


Unlike that allowance, whose rates have been frozen since 2009, the new housing benefit will be tied to salary to help those who need it most, said Brig.-Gen. Virginia Tattersall, the military’s director general of compensation and benefits.

The result is that thousands of members who don’t currently qualify for the PLD allowance will start to receive the housing benefit, while thousands of others will see their PLD cash cut off — at a net savings of about $30 million per year.

“This benefit is about us being equitable,” Tattersall said in an interview. “It is truly trying to look after those who need it the most. So hence why it is more the junior ranks that will benefit from this than it is the senior ranks.”

She added the aim is to ensure no member is forced to spend more than between 25 per cent and 35 per cent of their monthly salary on rent. An outside company has been hired to assess average rental prices near bases.

Online forums catering to military personnel are rife with stories and complaints from Armed Forces members about the lack of affordable housing near military bases where they are required to work.

The problem is exacerbated by the cyclical nature of military postings, as troops are routinely forced to relocate from one part of the country to another due to operational demands and career progression.

Younger and more junior members face an especially hard time in certain communities such as Comox, Victoria and Halifax, where housing is extremely limited or expensive.

There is also a critical shortage of housing on bases, with thousands of military members and their families currently on wait-lists while promises to build new accommodations largely stuck in neutral.

To ease the problem, the local base commander at CFB Esquimalt near Victoria has started letting new sailors live in their training quarters for months after their initial training is finished.

The focus on housing rather than overall cost-of-living reflects the main cost disparity of living in different parts of the country, Tattersall said, unlike in the past when cost variances were far greater.

“Cost of living per se is relatively equal across the country, the one thing that does stand out is that cost of housing, or that affordability of housing,” she said.

“And so that’s why we’ve focused the benefit in on that issue, because that more seems to be the real challenge for our members.”

Tying the new housing benefit to salary will ensure those who are really struggling get the help they need while cutting down on spending, she added. Armed Forces members living in military housing will also not qualify.

The new housing benefit will cost about $150 million per year, compared to $180 million for the PLD allowance.

“And so part of finding that sweet spot in terms of something that looked after members was also ensuring that we brought ourselves back within the envelope of funding that had been authorized,” she said.

The military estimates that about 28,000 Armed Forces members will qualify for the new housing benefit, which represents about 6,300 more than currently receive the PLD.

However, about 7,700 members who have been receiving the existing allowance will be cut off. While the military says most of those already live in military housing or have higher salaries, the move is likely to spark complaints.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 21, 2023.


Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

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