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Defence Conference Hears Of Canada’s Role In Afghanistan

Prime Minister Stephen Harper used the annual seminar of the Conference of Defence Associations Institute in Ottawa to announce a compromise with the Opposition Liberals to extend Canada’s mission to Afghanistan until 2011. The proposed extension came as the government’s reaction to the report of the Independent Panel on Canada’s Future Role in Afghanistan chaired by former foreign affairs minister John Manley. The Liberals had put forward a number of amendments to the government motion. Harper’s surprise move was to withdraw the original motion and put forward a new motion which strongly reflected the intention of the Liberal amendments. “We have examined the details of their position very carefully. We are pleased that there is some fundamental common ground. We both agree that Can...
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New Money For Survivors A Patchwork Policy, Says Legion

More widows and other survivors of Canadian veterans will be eligible to receive benefits under the Veterans Independence Program with a $282 million boost announced by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in his Feb. 26 budget. VIP is a national home-care program that helps low-income veterans with disabilities and their spouses remain healthy and independent in their own homes instead of moving into a costly, less friendly, long-term care facility. The Royal Canadian Legion and other veterans groups have succeeded in getting Veterans Affairs Canada to extend housekeeping and grounds maintenance benefits to the survivors of veterans who were already receiving VIP benefits. However, those survivors whose spouse was not receiving benefits have not been eligible. This included many survivors ...
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Saskatchewan And Quebec Battle For Curling Title

The outcome of the 2008 Royal Canadian Legion Dominion Curling Championships turned out to hinge on the luck of the draw. When curlers and supporters gathered in the comfortable and bright Parkland Recreation Complex in Dauphin, Man., on the last day of play, everyone was looking forward to an afternoon tiebreaker. Saskatchewan and Quebec were tied with records of five wins and one loss. Given performance over the previous three days of skip Rob Maclean, Danny Belliveau, Allan Jones, Greg Wilson and fifth John Burgess of Hudson, Que., Branch and skip Andrew Hay, Rick Middleton, Les Kun and Darren Clancy of Nutana Branch in Saskatoon, Sask., everyone was looking forward to a game of precision and finesse. But luck did not last, though there was plenty to go round early in the week...
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Dominion Convention To Vote On New Structure

Members of Dominion Executive Council were asked in February to put aside personal feelings, regional concerns as well as branch and command loyalties to consider what’s best for the Legion as a whole as they heard results of the first substantive structural review of The Royal Canadian Legion since its inception in 1926. Resolutions were passed that—if ratified at dominion convention in June—would begin a restructuring that will affect every command and branch across the country. “I cannot stress too much the importance of this study for the future of the Legion and the future of those who are serving in the Forces today,” said Honorary Grand President Charles Belzile in his opening statement during the Feb. 23-24 meeting at Legion House in Kanata, Ont. “The latter will continue to ...
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Keeping Busy At The Wascana Centre

Ask what makes this place home, and easy smiles steal across the faces of the veterans enjoying a soft drink or brew at Happy Hour on one of the veterans’ units at Wascana Rehabilitation Centre (WRC) in Regina. “What makes it home to me is the people around me,” says Fletcher Peterson. “It’s a wonderful bunch of people.” One by one the men sharing the table chime in. For new resident Vic Lappa, it’s being able to continue his swim routine: 10 laps every Tuesday. For Vernon Kramer it’s the trips out for meals or entertainment. For 86-year-old Simon Hitcherick, who’s been there four years, it’s that everyone is treated the same. “That’s the way it should be. I don’t care if he was a boot captain or a general—everybody’s the same when he gets here.” It seems there’s something to occu...
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Helping To Buy Shoes For Afghan Children

Life is hard in Afghanistan, a country which ranks among the very poorest in the world. While cities like Kabul and Kandahar are relatively modern with their paved streets and concrete buildings, many of the smaller cities and villages probably haven’t changed a great deal in the last 1,000 years—food is scarce, the buildings are often made of mud, and clothing is rudimentary at best. Seeing these living conditions first-hand can be quite a shock for the Canadian soldiers deployed to Afghanistan and understandably many of them want to help in whatever way possible. When Major Pierre Huet, a reconnaissance squadron commander with the 12th Armoured Regiment, arrived in Spin Boldak, a dusty Afghan town situated on the Pakistan border, there was one thing in particular that struck him ab...
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