The Canadian Forces has tended to be a pretty progressive institution when compared to its counterparts internationally. For example, gays and lesbians have been able to serve openly since 1992, and the culture in the military has largely accepted them. The CF has even paid for the gender reassignment surgery of some of its trans members (though it has been a fight in some cases). Nevertheless, when you look at the fact that “don’t ask, don’t tell” still hasn’t been repealed in the States, we’re quite a ways ahead.
The CF is also far ahead in terms of gender equality – women in Canada can serve openly on the front lines, together aboard submarines, and as of now, they’re also in charge of warships. That’s right – CDR Josee Kurtz is Canada’s first female warship captain, in command of frigate the HMCS Halifax. And she’s got a husband at home taking care of the kids. So score one for Canada and our socially progressive armed forces!
Speaking of the CF, the Canadian Press has obtained the speaking notes that the PMO provided to the former Chief of Defence Staff after he commented that the job of training Afghan soldiers adequately would take ten years – a message that obviously didn’t match the date they’d set. But really, their two messages really didn’t diverge, and they really didn’t tell him what to say. Really.
The Federal Court of Appeal has been granted its own coat of arms, complete with a pair of new mythical beasts, each with the head of a caribou, the wings of a raven, and the tail of a salmon – symbolising the court’s jurisdiction over land, air and sea matters. It sounds odd until you see it – and then you think it’s actually kind of cool. Or maybe it’s just me, and my penchant for things ancient Greek, and their many and varied chimaeric creatures, so this is Canadian chimaera is pretty awesome to me.
So all that drama in the Conservative caucus around the status of Brian Mulroney? Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae are throwing lit matches into that gasoline-soaked situation by openly saying they called Mulroney to wish him a happy 70th birthday, and to talk about respect for the institution and the person – even if they may not agree with his policies.
And finally, it looks like the government is considering a $150 million fund to help the private broadcasters in this country – and probably not the CBC because hey, they already get public money (which is a bit of a farce when you see how subsidised the private broadcasters have been). They’re also still pushing for “fee for carriage” (where they would charge cable companies for regular broadcast signals, which is basically trying to get money for nothing), and to “adjust regulations,” which you can bet means they’ll try to weasel out of their already lax CanCon requirements so that they can basically just simultaneously substitute even more American programming than they already are. But hey, they promise to keep funding local broadcasting and news – really! And while the CBC is being forced to cut a lot of their local content because of budget shortfalls, they’re unlikely to be considered for any additional funds (even though they only asked for bridge loans). Because this Conservative government supports the CBC, don’t you know?