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  • Runway used as Forward Operating Location in Northwest Territories to be modernized, extended

    5 septembre 2019 | Local, Aérospatial

    Runway used as Forward Operating Location in Northwest Territories to be modernized, extended

    The Canadian government will provide the Government of the Northwest Territories with up to $150 million over five years for the extension and modernization of the Inuvik Airport runway. The project will extend the existing runway by 3,000 feet and modernize its lighting, navigational and military aircraft landing systems, according to a news release issued Wednesday by the Department of National Defence. Owned by the Government of the Northwest Territories, Inuvik's Mike Zubko Airport hosts civilian aircraft and acts as a Forward Operating Location for the Royal Canadian Air Force, according to the Department of National Defence. As part of its role as a Forward Operating Location, the airport's 6,000-foot runway is primarily used for CF-18 operations to support Canadian sovereignty in the North and the country's NORAD obligations. This project will be funded through the DND's Capital Assistance Program, which funds shared-use capital projects for DND infrastructure that is shared by the federal government and other levels of government. This project is in the early planning stages and is expected to be tendered in 2020. https://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/runway-used-as-forward-operating-location-in-northwest-territories-to-be-modernized-extended

  • Defence department still wounding anesthetized animals in ‘live tissue training’

    8 janvier 2019 | Local, Sécurité

    Defence department still wounding anesthetized animals in ‘live tissue training’

    David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen The Defence Department has cut down on its use of rodents and pigs for research and experiments but says realistic instruction for its medical personnel still requires live animals to be wounded during training and later killed. In 2018 the department used 882 animals, such as mice, rats and pigs, for training and experimentation, down from the 4,000 animals used in 2009, according to figures provided by the Department of National Defence and government records obtained by Postmedia. The animals are used by Defence Research and Development Canada for assessment of emerging chemical and biological threats and by military personnel for what is known as “live tissue training,” according to a 2016 briefing for Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jon Vance. In such a scenario the animals are anesthetized and then wounded. Military medical staff treat the wounds in order to gain experience. After the training the animals are killed. “The Department of National Defence currently uses live tissue where necessary to provide advanced military medical training for specific operational requirements,” the department stated in an email to Postmedia. But the DND is trying to reduce the use of animals as much as possible by using different experimental techniques and making use of simulators that can replicate a human patient, according to the 2016 briefing note. That has allowed for the drop to 2,000 animals in 2015 from 4,000 in 2009, the documents noted. “The life-saving experiences, confidence and skills acquired by our young medical technicians using live tissue remain critical components of their curriculum,” Vance was told. Various animal rights groups have been trying over the years to convince the DND and Canadian Forces to stop any kind of testing on animals and to use the simulators instead. The Animal Alliance of Canada has an on-going letter-writing campaign to try to convince Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan to put an end to using animals. The organization noted that Canada is one of the few NATO nations that continues to use animals. Most NATO countries are using high-tech simulators which, unlike animals, accurately mimic human physiology and anatomy. In its response to Postmedia the DND stated that it is “actively working to assess and validate the effectiveness of simulation technologies as part of our objective to find equal or superior alternatives to live tissue training in casualty care training.” It noted that Health Canada regulations stipulate that new drugs or medical techniques can't be used on humans without going through pre-clinical trials “that scientifically test their efficacy and toxicity using non-human models.” The Canadian military has a long history of experimenting on animals, exposing them to various chemical and biological warfare agents and more recently developed weapons. In the 1980s the use of animals became controversial after details of a number of military experiments were made public. Monkeys were used at defence facilities in Suffield, Alta., for experiments involving nerve gas antidotes. In 1983 researchers at the University of Ottawa made headlines after their experiments for the DND on dogs became known. Twenty specifically bred beagles were exposed to high levels of radiation to make them vomit. They were then killed and their organs removed for study. The DND research was aimed at finding a cure for nausea. In 2012, Defence Research and Development Canada subcontracted testing of a new taser projectile to a U.S. university. The projectiles were fired at pigs, according to documents obtained by Postmedia outlining experiments on “conducted energy weapons.” That same year, a study in the journal Military Medicine revealed that Canada was only one of six NATO countries still using animals in its experiments. dpugliese@postmedia.com Twitter.com/davidpugliese https://nationalpost.com/news/defence-department-still-experimenting-on-animals-but-numbers-have-been-reduced

  • Business group wants National Shipbuilding Strategy reopened for Quebec shipyard

    16 janvier 2019 | Local, Naval

    Business group wants National Shipbuilding Strategy reopened for Quebec shipyard

    Murray Brewster · CBC News Association puts pressure on Liberals to direct new projects to Davie yard A Quebec-based business association claiming to represent over 1,000 companies inside and outside the province is launching a high-profile campaign to convince the Liberal government to reopen the oft-maligned National Shipbuilding Strategy. The group is demanding the federal government include the Davie shipyard, in Levis, Que., in the policy and plans to make it a major issue in the October federal election. The Association of Davie Shipbuilding Suppliers, which has been around for about a year, represents companies that do business with the shipyard. It plans an online campaign, beginning Thursday, and will lobby chambers of commerce as well as federal and provincial politicians. It is hoping to use its extensive membership and thousands of associated jobs to put pressure on the government in an election year to direct the building of additional coast guard ships exclusively to the Quebec yard, one of the oldest in the country. The shipbuilding strategy, conceived under the previous Conservative government but embraced by the Liberals, has turned into a giant sinkhole for federal cash with little to show for it, Simon Maltais, the association's vice-president, told CBC News. "We can call it a boondoggle," he said. "It has been seven years in the making. At the moment, there is absolutely no operational ship afloat and working for Canada." The Conservatives under former prime minister Stephen Harper chose two shipyards — Irving Shipbuilding of Halifax and Seaspan in Vancouver — as the government's go-to companies for the construction of new warships and civilian vessels. The Davie shipyard was, at the time, emerging from bankruptcy, and under the strategy it only became eligible for repair and refit work on existing vessels and perhaps the construction of smaller vessels. Delays and cost overruns Irving and Seaspan have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in modernizing their yards and have just begun to produce new vessels. The first Arctic offshore patrol ship for the navy is being outfitted in Halifax and others are in various stages of construction. Three offshore fisheries science vessels, constructed in Vancouver for the coast guard, are undergoing repairs after defective welds were discovered last year. The entire program has been beset with delays and rising cost estimates. Last year, Public Services and Procurement Canada refused to release a revised timeline for the delivery of ships from Seaspan, including construction of a heavy icebreaker and the navy's two joint support ships. Politics and shipbuilding Maltais said it makes no sense to keep excluding Davie from full-fledged ship construction work when much of the coast fleet is over three decades old and in dire need of replacement. Refreshing the strategy would insure the federal government gets the ships it needs and Quebec companies "get their fair share" of the program. "We know it's an electoral year and, yes, we want the federal government and the people in the election to talk about it," he said. Maltais clams members of his association have been talking to federal politicians on both sides of the aisle in the province and they support the idea. "They seem to be on the same page as us," he said. Defence analyst Dave Perry, an expert in procurement and the shipbuilding program, said the political campaign has the potential to make the federal government uncomfortable, but he doubts it will achieve the objective of reopening the strategy to add a third shipyard. "That would certainly be a major change in the strategy," he said. "There had been a view of doing something less than that." The proposal being put forward by the association would not take any work from Halifax or Vancouver, but instead direct all new work, on additional icebreakers for example, to the Quebec yard. Just recently, Davie was awarded a contract to convert three civilian icebreakers for coast guard use, but the association argues the need is greater. The federal government did debate an overhaul of the strategy, according to documents obtained and published by CBC News last summer. The size and scope of the "policy refresh" was not made clear in a heavily redacted memo, dated Jan. 23, 2018. So far, nothing has taken place and government officials have insisted they were still committed to the two-yard strategy. During the last election campaign, the Liberals pledged to fix the "broken" procurement system and invest heavily in the navy. https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/business-group-wants-national-shipbuilding-strategy-reopened-for-quebec-shipyard-1.4979592

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