The Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced Canada new peacekeeping mission in Ottawa on March 19th. It has taken 2 years and a Vancouver summit to get to this point of making a commitment to peace operations. It remains unclear when the Canadian Forces will actually deploy.

Corporal Lionel Desmond served his country proudly, and for that, Canada is grateful – but the national commitment does not end with a medical discharge, and must not end at his death.

With the wide variety of marine activity in the waters around Vancouver and Victoria, it is easy to see why the Canadian Coast Guard decision to cancel its only rescue diving program came as a shock.

In the present world of social media, instantaneous communication, and the 24 hour news cycle, the words of the University of Toronto’s Prof. Harold Innis’ former student, Marshall McClellan, spring to mind: “the medium is the message”. In the past decade, during the reign of the Harper government, we had a lot of photo ops and tough talk about Canada being a warrior on the world stage. It often seemed more effort was spent promoting the government than on the actual mission.

The sinking last month of the Newfoundland Fishing Vessel Atlantic Charger, a new state-of-the-art dragger at the entrance of Hudson Strait in Canada’s Arctic waters, raises questions about Canada’s Arctic search and rescue capability. Brad Watkins, the vessel owner and member of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, told reporters the crew had asked him “where was the damn chopper”.