For whom the ship’s bell tolls

Ships’ bells mark the watch, sound alarms, send signals, declare a ship’s presence in foggy weather and even serve as baptismal fonts. Usually engraved, the ship’s bell is often the primary identifying element of an historic wreck, as was the bronze bell from HMS Erebus, explorer John Franklin’s vessel that was found after 168...
  • Sajjan under fire

    May 3, 2017 by Stephen J. Thorne
    Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is under fire for comments he made overstating his role in one of the biggest battles of the war in Afghanistan. But what were his transgressions, really, and what price should he pay, if any? Sajjan apologized quickly and unequivocally for...
  • How independent should an ombudsman be?

    April 25, 2017 by Stephen J. Thorne
    Like his predecessors, military ombudsman Gary Walbourne is engaged in what appears to be a futile battle for independence from his masters at the Department of National Defence and in the Canadian Armed Forces. In his March report, entitled The Case for a Permanent and...
  • The chief of the defence staff has a theory: happy retirees make for more and better recruits. Appearing before the Senate Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs, General Jonathan Vance said recruitment, training and treatment of Canadian Armed Forces personnel is “at a turning point.” It has...
  • Ships and airplanes—for sovereignty’s sake

    April 12, 2017 by Stephen J. Thorne
    Canada’s coastline is the world’s longest. Its landmass is second largest. And its territorial waters are massive. According to the Geological Survey of Canada, the country’s coastline including bays, inlets, islands and the like, runs 243,000 kilometres—almost three times the world’s second-longest shore, Indonesia’s. Its...
  • Canada has reason to be in Latvia

    April 5, 2017 by Stephen J. Thorne
    Recent events on and within the borders of Russia should quell lingering doubt, if any exists, around the wisdom of Canada contributing troops to European security. After 13 years fighting a war in Afghanistan, Canadian soldiers have come full circle, returning to the once-familiar climes...
  • Budget does little to improve veterans benefits

    March 28, 2017 by Stephen J. Thorne
    Bad for the military; not good enough for veterans. That about sums up defence-related elements of the federal budget tabled March 22 by Finance Minister Bill Morneau. Ottawa says it will spend $624 million more on veterans’ programs over the next five years, most of...
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