Three distinguished, former task force commanders from Canada’s war in Afghanistan have written an urgent appeal to the immigration minister to restart a resettlement program for local interpreters who worked alongside soldiers and diplomats.
Retired major-generals Denis Thompson, Dean Milner and Dave Fraser penned an open letter in which they warned as many as 115 former translators and their families, still in the war-ravaged country, are in danger following significant gains by the Taliban.
“If and when they are found they will likely be imprisoned or worse, for their service in support of our mission,” said the letter, released late Thursday, a copy of which was obtained by CBC News.
“Many Canadian veterans are in contact with the Afghans who served alongside them and their stories are harrowing. These people are considered ‘comrades-in-arms’ and their plight is affecting these veterans — as it should all Canadians.”
The letter was sent to Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino and comes just days after a key district in the Afghan province of Kandahar, where Canadians did most of their fighting, fell to the Taliban.
All three generals served as commanders of the Canadian ground campaign at various points between 2006 and 2011 — the year in which the then-Conservative government withdrew combat forces and concentrated the military effort on training Afghan troops and police.
The generals noted that under a previous resettlement program which ran from 2009 to 2011, 780 Afghan translators and their families were brought to Canada.
That program, however, had restrictive criteria, which meant two-thirds of the Afghans who applied for refuge were turned away, according to figures compiled by The Canadian Press at the time the initiative was closed out.
The applicants were required to demonstrate they faced extraordinary risk as a result of their work with Canadians. Being a local “terp” — as they were called — was, without question, a dangerous job. They face threatening phone calls and letters promising to visit death and disfigurement on their families. There were stories of abductions, even hangings.
To qualify under the old programs, the advisers had to demonstrate they worked for Canadian troops, diplomats or contractors for 12 consecutive months between October 2007 and July 2011. That excluded a wide range of interpreters. Canada first deployed special forces troops to Afghanistan in the fall of 2001; followed it up with a battle group in 2002; and then a mission in Kabul before returning to Kandahar in 2006.
WATCH | End of U.S. mission looms in Afghanistan:
The Taliban have made significant gains since the U.S. and NATO withdrew the bulk of their forces over the last month, including the emptying of the major American base at Bagram, outside of Kabul.
In an interview with CBC News, Milner said the situation is dire for those who served with Western forces, including Canada.
“The Afghans are fighting, but it just does not seem like the government has an answer for beating the Taliban,” said Milner, who was the last task force commander in 2011 before going on to lead the Canadian component of the military training mission in Kabul.
“The Taliban has money. It has the fear factor and they are convincing Afghans to join them. And right now, they have momentum.”
Milner says he’s convinced the Afghan army will be able to hold back insurgents in some, but not all areas of the country and that’s why restarting the resettlement program must become an urgent priority for the Liberal government.
“All the other NATO countries are doing this,” said Milner. “The Americans are doing it. The Australians are doing it and they are being successful bringing interpreters out. I know this for a fact. I think Canada needs to step up to the plate and do the same.”
The Liberal government demonstrated both compassion and how swiftly it could move in the resettlement of Syrian refugees and later White Helmet volunteers, he added.
“I don’t think we can wait much longer.” Milner said.
The appeal from the former generals follows a similar plea from other Canadian veterans who went public last weekend with their concerns.
Prime Minister Trudeau pledges more aid and loans to Ukraine at G7 summit
SCHLOSS ELMAU, GERMANY — Canada is looking at developing new infrastructure to help other countries transition away from Russian oil and coal, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday at the conclusion of the G7 summit in Germany focused on the conflict in Ukraine.
In their final communique for the meeting, the G7 leaders said they are working to make sure Russia does not exploit its position as an energy producer to profit from its aggression at the expense of vulnerable countries.
The conflict has squeezed energy markets in Europe and the security of the supply around the world.
Over the course of the three-day summit, the leaders agreed to consider a cap on the price of crude oil and petroleum from Russia, and even a comprehensive ban on Russian oil and coal.
“Canada obviously as an oil and gas producer is ensuring that in the short term we’re doing what we can to alleviate pressures,” Trudeau said at a news conference at the close of the summit.
“We’re also looking medium term at expanding some infrastructure, but in a way that hits that medium -term and -long-term goal of accelerating transition, not just off Russian oil and gas, but off of all our dependence on fossil fuels.”
The leaders agreed compromising on climate and biodiversity goals was not on the table to address the growing energy crisis.
The idea to ban Russian oil is still only in discussions, and would need to be implemented careful to mitigate the potential fallout for vulnerable countries that rely on Russia for power.
Trudeau said Canada remains determined to support Ukraine as it defends its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“It’s important that the world doesn’t lose its attention and focus over what’s happening in Ukraine, we must and we will remain committed until Ukraine and democracy prevail,” Trudeau told a news conference.
He announced more money for Ukraine on Tuesday, including a $200-million loan through the International Monetary Fund.
In addition to the loan to the Ukrainian government, Canada is giving $75 million in humanitarian assistance to help with operations in Ukraine and in the neighbouring countries. The aid will include the provision of in-kind food assistance, emergency cash and vouchers, protection, shelter and health services.
Earlier in the summit, Trudeau announced $52 million in agricultural aid including mobile grain storage equipment to increase grain storage capacity as well as help to provide speedy diagnostic testing and monitoring of animal diseases to allow for export certification.
“Our farmers typically face big challenges and have been proven to be inventive and creative. So we’ll bring this expertise to Ukraine to help as much as we can,” Trudeau said.
Canada is also contributing $15 million to help fund demining efforts and $9.7 million for those tracking human rights violations in Ukraine.
The leaders have also agreed to intensify their efforts to mitigate rising food prices and scarcity, which have been exacerbated as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
They plan to expand their resettlement programs to accommodate the millions of Ukrainian refugees who have been displaced by the conflict.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 28, 2022.
Laura Osman, The Canadian Press
More than half of Canadians oppose Oath of Allegiance to the Queen
OTTAWA — Most people in Canada do not think people should have to swear an Oath of Allegiance to the Queen, according to a poll ahead of Canada Day.
A Leger poll for the Association of Canadian Studies found that 56 per cent of respondents did not agree with swearing allegiance to the Queen.
New Canadians have to swear an oath to the monarchy at citizenship ceremonies including a pledge to “be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, her heirs and successors.”
Jack Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadian Studies, said most people born in Canada were probably unaware that new Canadians had to swear an oath to be faithful to the Royal Family.
“If you ask Canadians about their identity, few would mention the monarchy,” he said.
The poll of 2,118 people earlier this month cannot be assigned a margin of error because online panels are not considered truly random samples.
While 58 per cent of those who responded are positively disposed toward the Queen, with only 28 per cent negatively disposed, Canadians are evenly divided — 40 per cent positively and 40 per cent negatively — in their view of the monarchy overall.
The poll asked whether, “as a Canadian, we should all agree to be faithful and bear true allegiance” to the Queen and her heirs.
Those who are very favourable toward the monarchy were more likely to approve of pledging allegiance.
Sixty per cent of men and 52 per cent of women who did the survey answered no. Opposition was stronger among Canadians aged 18-34 than those over the age of 55.
Almost three-quarters of people living in Quebec opposed the oath, compared to only 47 per cent in Alberta.
A large proportion of those polled — including 20 per cent of women — said they had no view or did not want to answer.
Canada is a constitutional monarchy, with the Queen as the head of state. She is represented federally by Gov. Gen. Mary Simon, and at a provincial level by lieutenant-governors.
Any change to the position of the Queen or her representatives in Canada would need the unanimous consent of the House of Commons, the Senate and provincial legislatures.
Taking an oath of citizenship is the final step in becoming a Canadian citizen. Ceremonies take place across the country, with special ceremonies on Canada Day.
New Canadians must also promise to faithfully observe the laws of Canada.
Earlier this month, the Queen celebrated her platinum jubilee with celebrations in Canada, the U.K. and across the Commonwealth. She ascended the throne at age 27 in 1952 and is England’s longest-serving monarch.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 28, 2022.
Marie Woolf, The Canadian Press
How to play online casinos with minimal investment
If you walk into a traditional brick-and-mortar casino, you have to buy a minimum number of chips. Similarly, in online casinos, you need to deposit a minimum amount to begin playing. Some casinos have a minimum low deposit, known as the minimum deposit casinos that remain on top of the players’ list. A minimum deposit casino is the one that charges less than 10 units of any currency, be it euro (€), dollar ($), or pound (£).
Minimum deposit casinos are increasing in popularity as these allow players to experience the full benefits of high deposit casinos but at a lower risk. The gamers can experience new games without risking much money.
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Busting the myths
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The risk of loss remains the same
The risk of loss remains the same, whether you are playing for high stakes or low stakes. Similarly, the house edge, or the risk of losing in different casinos remains the same for different staking amounts. For example, the classic blackjack game carries a risk of 0.05. So, if you play blackjack on a C$1 minimum deposit casino, such as Caxino, you stand to win C$0.95 for a stake of $1. On the other hand, if you play blackjack for a higher stake in a high deposit casino, you will win C$95 for a stake of C$100.
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Best for the new games and new gamers
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