Month: July 2017

No boost for defence spending
Defence Today

No boost for defence spending

When Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivered the Liberal government’s 2017-18 budget in March, the surprise to many observers (and incurable optimists) was that there was, fundamentally, nothing new for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. Despite some fuzzy hints from the defence minister and friendly meetings between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump that suggested a willingness of the government to increase defence readiness, there was nothing. In fact, there was less than nothing. The Trudeau government removed some $8.5 billion set aside to build defence capital equipment and infrastructure and shifted it from six to about 20 years down the road. The finance minister gave hints that his document may not be the last word on th...
Assault on Hill 70
Army, Remembrance

Assault on Hill 70

The year is 1917 and the place is northern France. The meticulously prepared Canadians sweep up the commanding heights in the face of determined German resistance and win the day. Sound familiar? No, it’s not Vimy Ridge, Canada’s most celebrated battle, but rather the attack on Hill 70, near the northern edge of the French coal mining town of Lens, barely 10 kilometres up the road from Vimy. The name Hill 70 refers to the feature’s height in metres above sea level. In 1917, it was a gradually rising, chalky, treeless slope about half Vimy’s height and less than half its length. It had been in German hands since 1914 and it was well fortified. The fight for Hill 70 in August 1917 was a large-scale and shockingly grisly battle, considered an epic Canadian victory by contemporaries. Yet,...
“Everything works half”
Health

“Everything works half”

“I’m trying to differentiate myself not as the injured ex-military guy,” says Christian Maranda. “I’m trying different things. It makes me feel alive.” Story and photography by Stephen J. Thorne A bomb had just gone off near Kandahar, Afghanistan. No one was hurt, and Captain Christian Maranda was ruminating about the paperwork all of this would spawn—when all hell broke loose. It was Aug. 1, 2009, and Maranda’s platoon was escorting a convoy supplying a Royal 22nd Regiment team mentoring a group of Afghan National Army recruits at a strongpoint west of the city. Coming off 18 months of intense training and three years of officer training before that, Maranda had arrived in Afghanistan on April 3. Two days later, he was in his first firefight. By mid-May, the poppies were h...
Images with impact
Front Lines

Images with impact

For 60 of the past 62 years, the World Press Photo competition has been holding a mirror to the world we live in, and it’s not, so to speak, a pretty picture. For all but two years since 1955, when a shortage of funding shut it down, World Press Photo has been the arbiter of what is best in photojournalism, and what is best has most often been what is worst in humankind. War, violence, starvation, poverty, cruelty, ignorance and corruption have always been an integral part of the imagery featured in the annual competition, the subsequent exhibition and the book. Now, as World Press Photo’s annual exhibition begins its Canadian tour at the country’s national war museum, the question remains, more than ever: does it all make any difference? Many photojournalists have declared the...
Besieged
Health

Besieged

Fred Caron’s nightmares started on his first night back in camp after the siege Story and photography by Stephen J. Thorne The one thing about physical wounds is you know when they happen. You know the precise moment you’ve been shot in the shoulder or lost your leg to a landmine. Your life may be changed forever, and you can point to exactly when it happened and why. Furthermore, the damage is evident and treatment is prompt. Psychological wounds aren’t usually like that. They tend to creep up on you. They gain an advantage over time, eroding or chipping away at your psyche until it can no longer hold up. You may hide it well so few can see the war you are waging inside, but the wounds still do their work and they’ll eventually get the best of you. That wasn’t how it ...

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