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Military dealing with gap in search-and-rescue services due to new procurement delay



OTTAWA — The Royal Canadian Air Force is relocating two aircraft from Winnipeg to Vancouver Island to address a gap in Canada’s search-and-rescue coverage, the result of yet another delay in Canada’s troubled military procurement system.

Air Force commander Lt.-Gen. Al Meinzinger laid out the plan to base two Hercules aircraft at Canadian Forces Base Comox as officials revealed the military’s new Kingfisher search-and-rescue planes won’t be ready for another three years.

The delay combined with the retirement in January of the military’s last six ancient Buffalo aircraft has left the military without enough planes to properly respond to emergencies on Canada’s West Coast.

While the redeployment of two of the four Hercules aircraft currently in Winnipeg will help address the resulting gap until the Kingfishers are ready, Meinzinger acknowledged the move will impact the squadron’s other tasks.


Those include providing air-to-air refuelling to fighter jets tasked with defending North American airspace from Russian bombers and other threats, and transporting troops and equipment around Canada and the world.

“As we sit today, obviously, they’ve got an additional line of task,” he said in an interview. “So it will diminish, logically, their ability to do other tasks.”

The Canadian Armed Forces is facing a growing number of gaps as the military procurement system struggles to deliver new equipment before existing hardware must be taken out of service or retired.

Aside from the Buffaloes, the military has been forced to retire several old naval vessels before replacements are ready. The clock is also ticking on its CF-18 fighter jets and Halifax-class frigates, both of which are already past their expected lifespans.

The government receives about 10,000 distress calls a year, and while most are handled by the provinces or territories, with police and volunteers tasked with responding, the military answers about 750 of the highest-risk calls.

Military search-and-rescue personnel often use specialized airplanes and helicopters to parachute or rappel into remote areas, such as mountains, the High Arctic or one of Canada’s three oceans to respond to plane crashes and sinking ships.

Following more than 15 years of controversy and start-stop effort to buy replacements for the Buffalo and older-model Hercules aircraft used to save Canadians every year, Canada announced in 2016 that it was buying 16 Kingfishers for $2.75 billion after tax.

The deal with European aerospace giant Airbus originally said the aircraft would be operational by 2020. But technical issues and the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the schedule back to 2022, while the total cost has increased to $2.9 billion.

The Defence Department’s procurement chief, assistant deputy minister of materiel Troy Crosby, attributed the latest delay to ongoing testing to ensure the aircraft operates as expected. Airbus is also working on proper manuals for the plane, he added.

While the Kingfisher is based on the Airbus C-295 military transport used by more than a dozen countries around the world, the version that Canada is buying includes about 30 modifications to the basic design.

Some of those modifications were required to meet the Air Force’s mandatory requirements, Crosby said, while others were optional and added by Airbus in an apparent effort to improve its bid.

Concerns about companies over-promising and under-delivering have been raised with other military procurements, most notably the Cyclone maritime helicopters being built by Sikorsky.

While the Cyclones are now in use on the Halifax-class frigates after more than a decade of developmental issues and delays, software problems and tail cracks have led to a number of incidents, including a fatal crash in April 2020.

Crosby defended the government’s process for evaluating bids for new Armed Forces equipment, describing it as a “complex business” given the nature of the technology and hardware and how it must interact with other military systems.

“When we went to sign the contract in 2016, we had assessed the risk of achieving the schedule,” he added. “And we put mitigation strategies in place to try to minimize that risk. Turns out the mitigation strategies weren’t sufficient.”

At the same time, he said the federal government is holding back some of the money owed to Airbus until the company delivers what it promised. Crosby would not comment on whether any legal action was being contemplated or underway.

Airbus spokeswoman Annabelle Duchesne in a statement on Wednesday said the company is “fully committed to improve the situation” and that work is underway to ensure as little impact as possible on Canada’s search-and-rescue services.

While acknowledging the Kingfisher’s delay will stretch the Air Force, Meinzinger added: “We cannot and we’re not going to rush the aircraft. … So it’s about doing that critical work to ensure the aircraft and the people are ready.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 4, 2022.


Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press


India asks Canada to recall several dozen diplomats – Hindustan Times



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Canada secures second place in 2023 Best Country Rankings



Achieving second place might sound like a disappointment. However, the second place means a lot in the global ranking of countries, and Canada has recently secured that spot.

The 2023 Best Countries rankings by US News & World Report placed Canada in second place. In the rankings, Switzerland won the first place and Sweden in third place.

By taking up the second place, Canada toppled Germany since the country earned the second place last year. Consequently, Australia and the US occupied the fourth and fifth place in the rankings.

The ranking system

US News’ Best Countries ranking system is a yearly ranking of the best countries to live in according to several metrics. The annual ranking originally started in 2015, in which the ranking attempts to “examine a country’s merit beyond hard metrics.”


To determine the ranks, the news outlet consults several prominent institutions. They include the global advertising company WPP and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. US News & World Report uses the former’s BAV brand analytics tool and consults with the latter’s professor David Reibstein. Thus far, the news outlet relies on 73 attributes to describe a country and identify its recent successes.

Subsequently, the news outlet distributed the survey from March 17 to June 12 to 17,000 respondents around the world. The survey includes 87 nations, and the respondents will assess the countries’ merits based on their perceptions.

Other than Canada, the top 10 countries in the ranking come from highly developed countries around the world such as Switzerland, Sweden, the United States, Australia, Japan, Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. 

Canada exceeded the score of 90 in agility (94.1), quality of life (92.7), and social purpose (93.4). The following scores are entrepreneurship (84.2), open for business (80.1), cultural influence (55.0), adventure (54.5), power (41.9), and heritage (41.6). 

Canada concluded its ranking by obtaining a score of 17.8 for the Movers metric with attributes such as differentness, distinctiveness, dynamicity, and uniqueness. Of the four, dynamicity occupies the top ranking with a score of 36.8. Distinctiveness takes second place in 26.3, followed by the measly scores of differentness and uniqueness of 5.0 and 9.3, respectively.

Another thing to consider in the Movers category is the recent issues of surging living costs and housing. As Canada’s housing crunch continues, this might have affected people’s perception of the reality of living in the country.

Canada’s strong scores

There are several reasons why Canada managed to snatch the runner-up position in the 2023 Best Countries rankings. Its global connectivity and decent job market, for instance, almost reached a perfect score with 95.5 and 98.4, respectively, thanks to Canada’s reputation as a highly interconnected country with good job prospects. 

According to US News, Canada is a high-tech industrial society with high living standards. After the trade agreements with the US in the 1980s and 1990s, both countries have become each other’s largest trading partners.

In addition, US News also said that Canada owes its economic success to the service sector and export of energy, food, and minerals. With the availability of proven oil reserves, Canada has emerged as the world’s fourth-largest oil producer.

Canada also won the perfect score in the racial equality and religious freedom categories. Thanks to the myriad of ethnic and religious groups in the country, Canada has attained the status of a multicultural society. Despite the post-Christian and secular state of modern Canada, Canada’s multiculturalism allows many religions and beliefs to flourish in the country.

Another reason behind Canada’s high rank in the Best Countries rankings is the near-perfect score of economic stability and hospitality to families. Owing to Canada’s famed reputation as a comfortable country to live in, many people think it’s best to raise families there.

The tourism industry in Canada is also something to behold. Canadian urban and natural tourist spots from British Columbia to Nunavut spoil domestic and foreign tourists with abundant options. Tourists can experience anything from Canada’s natural majesty to urban excellence in any of Canada’s provinces and territories.

The availability of SIM providers such as eSIM United States tourists adds to the convenience of tourists from the US and anywhere else. Various kinds of data plans are also available in Canada, which makes the country a desirable destination for travel aficionados who love to share their journeys online. With these plans, tourists don’t have to worry about internet coverage anymore when they explore Canada.

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India tells Canada to withdraw dozens of diplomatic staff: Report



India has told Canada to withdraw dozens of diplomatic staff amid heightened tensions between the two nations over the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, according to a report published by Financial Times.

People familiar with the matter informed FT that Ottawa has been told by New Delhi that it must repatriate around 40 diplomats by October 10.

Ties between India and Canada have become seriously strained over Canadian suspicion that Indian government agents had a role in the June murder in Canada of a Sikh separatist leader and Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who India had labeled a “terrorist”. India has dismissed the allegation as absurd.

Canada has 62 diplomats in India and India had said that the total should be reduced by 41, the newspaper said.


Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said earlier there was a “climate of violence” and an “atmosphere of intimidation” against Indian diplomats in Canada, where the presence of Sikh separatist groups has frustrated New Delhi.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration urged the Indian government to cooperate with Canada in its investigations into the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

State Department spokesperson Mathew Miller said, “As he made clear then, I’ll reiterate now, we remain in close coordination with our Canadian colleagues on this question.”

“We have engaged with the Indian government on a number of occasions to urge them to cooperate with Canada’s investigation. The secretary had an opportunity to do that in his meeting with the foreign minister on Friday,” he said.

Currently, the United States is in close coordination with Canada on allegations regarding the Indian government’s involvement in the Nijjar killing row.

India has suspended its visa services in Canada, following Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau’s allegations of Indian involvement in the killing.


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