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Remember this, Newmarket: when soldiers came from across Canada to train

In this week’s column, History Hound Richard MacLeod continues his examination of the pivotal years of 1939 and 1940

Let’s continue our look at the 1939s and 1940s of Newmarket history. When we last stopped by, they were starting construction on the military camp and the first soldiers were about to arrive in Newmarket. You can read the first part here.

Local businesses are starting to reap the benefits of having 3,500 new soldiers in town. The city’s business register indicates that there were approximately 200 active businesses in Newmarket, 99 businesses and trades located on the east side of Main Street and another 91 on the west side of Main Street.

There have been some changes in our council as Dr Boyd has left and Dr L. Dales replaced him as mayor and A. Armstrong replaced Dennis Mungoven on the council. James Sloss was still our chief of police with Kenneth Mount and W. Curtis identified as official agents.

Max Boag is the local customs officer and LP Cane is the postmaster. The local public school board is made up of WH Eves, President, RL Pritchard, Secretary-Treasurer, RE Manning, Dr Charles Edwards, Frank Bothwell and LB Rose.

City records identify 13 municipal properties on the list:

  • Fire Station – Main Street West
  • Clerk’s office – Main Street West
  • Town Hall and Market Square – Botsford Street
  • Police Office – Botsford Street
  • Water and lighting plant – rue Prospect Est.
  • The reservoir, rue Prospect
  • Pumping Station – Srigley Street
  • Agricultural park – Rue des Pins Est
  • Memorial park – Rue D’Arcy
  • Widdifield Park – Water Street
  • Lions Club Park – From the Church to Lorne Avenue
  • York County Hospital – Huron Street (Davis Drive)
  • York County Nursing Residence – Next to York County Hospital on Davis Drive

There were also four government properties listed:

  • The post office – main street
  • York County Registry Office – Main Street
  • York County Industrial House – Yonge and Eagle Street
  • Dominion of Canada Army Training Camp – Fairgrounds

The wartime entertainment scene has started to heat up. In March 1940, Newmarket’s own group Max Boag performed to a full house at the ‘Y’ Theater at Camp Borden with Polly Dobson and Gene McCaffrey as vocal soloists.

The hot thing in June 1940 was the expected increase in tax revenues, as reported by Mr. Mathews, our city clerk.

Economically, however, all was not rosy. Foreign markets for fine leather products forced the Davis Leather Company to lay off men at the local factory. The office specialty had however been asked to increase production on its government contracts and therefore the specialty would increase its staff, absorbing some of those men who were made redundant at the tannery.

Fundraising campaigns through the sale of war savings bonds and rationing of essential items have started in earnest at the local level. In July 1940, it was reported in the local newspaper that $ 235 in savings bonds had been sold at the local Strand Theater on Main Street.

In addition, local musicians have organized performances throughout the region. Local musicians like Jack Arlitt and Mr. Donnie Cribber on cornet, James Bradford and his father on drums and Harold Gadsby, a local vocal soloist and the Art West Band presented performances to benefit the war campaign.

In October 1940, the first class of trainees arrived for the opening of the Newmarket military camp. There were already over 100 officers and staff here, including the lieutenant. Colonel RB Harkness who was the camp commander and Major B. Hanley who was the second in command.

I mentioned in the first episode of this series that the land in the Connaught Gardens development was turned over to the military camp for its use. For the record, there were, at the time, 81 building plots on the books when ownership was transferred to the military camp.

A local newspaper article tells us that Ross Caradonna, a local businessman and proud new Canadian, donated $ 100 to the local Red Cross and $ 25 to the Veterans Comfort Fund. The generosity of the local business community is highlighted in most publications.

The main news of 1940 was, of course, the initial deployment of our local boys, in basic training and then overseas. The newspaper posted their photos weekly, proudly listing where they had been deployed and quite often giving a bit of background on them.

According to those I had the honor to interview, including my own mother, there was a great sense of pride that our people had left to save the world, but there was also an underlying sense of apprehension and fear on everyone’s lips regarding these young men. , the fear that they will not come back safe and sound.

For some of our boys, it actually was. I think that’s why we opened our hearts to those passing through our military camp, we hoped someone would take care of our boys wherever they were and we in turn were determined to take good care of them. these young men who arrived here even for a limited time.

Under the title “Newmarket Boys Help Whallop Hitler,” published December 31, 1940, in the Newmarket Era, we were introduced to some of the local men who had previously been called up for service. The article lists their name, rank and where they are currently serving. I have included this era page with the other photos for your information. I recognize several of the names listed.

Our boys have been deployed to a variety of destinations. Here is a list of the young men who were now serving their country in December 1941. You may recognize several of them. Some of the young men had crossed the ocean before and were now serving in England. They included: Ate. Don Lyall, Pte. Albert Skelton, Pte. Reg. Bell, Pte. Fred Evans, cap. Tom Smith, Pte. Chuck Harrison, Gunners J and G. Harmon, Sdt. Allan McDonald, Pte. Earl and Walter Wrightman, Pte. Percy Myers, Pte. Wilfred Pipher, Driver Percy Lloyd, Pte. Art Brymer, Pte. R. Chappel, Cpl. Gordon Thompson, and Cpl. Ted Robinson.

Still stationed here in Canada, we have Pte. Vic Bridges, Airman A, Rowland, Lieutenant Dr. Bartholomew, Seaman Joe Gladman, Gnr. Howard Brown, Gn. Art Dobbie, Pte. Elias Fairey, Pte. Roy Chant, Pte. Bob Fontaine, Airman Walter Gilroy, Airman JR Eakins, Sgt. Albert Lindenbaum, Pte. Ross Greenwood, Pte. David Tait, Pte. Percy Pemberton, and Pte. Bill Dowling. And in the service of our military camp, we had Captain Dr Edwards.

The names of these men listed above are just a brief example of the parade of local guys who registered in Newmarket from the fall of 1940, and this will continue until the end of the war.

As you can imagine, the fall of 1940 was a turning point in our history for so many of our local families, indeed for the whole community. The war had taken on a fierce reality for the city, and I believe it profoundly changed the very soul of Newmarket. The streets of Newmarket were now populated by young men from across Canada, of all religions, races and ethnicities. He brought the world to our doorstep.

This will continue for the next five or six years. Every six weeks a new group of 3,500 young men would come in and be absorbed into our community. Some would return after the war and settle in Newmarket. Unfortunately, some would never come back. The harsh reality of the war was now upon the town of Newmarket. It tends to change a community, to anchor itself in the very fiber of the city.

I hope you enjoyed this brief look back at the years 1939 and 1940, two years which I believe were defining years in the history of our Newmarket.

Sources: The Memorable Merchants and Trades 1930 to 1950 by Eugene McCaffrey and George Luesby; The Newmarket era

********************

Newmarket resident Richard MacLeod the history dog ​​has been a local historian for over 40 years. He writes a weekly article on the history of our city in partnership with Newmarket Today, organizes local heritage lectures and walking tours, and conducts local oral history interviews.


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Canadian army

A boon in arms and equipment for the Taliban

There are dozens of key bases around Afghanistan which are now in the hands of the Taliban after the withdrawal of the international armed forces.

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As the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, they seized an arsenal of military equipment that in some cases exceeded parts of the inventory of Western armed forces such as the Canadian Forces.

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Taliban fighters staged a victory parade in Kandahar City on Wednesday, showing off dozens of US-made armored vehicles and other weapons they captured in their lightning victory over the Afghan army and police. An American-made Black Hawk helicopter, dragging a Taliban flag, also flew over the city to highlight the insurgents’ ability to use more sophisticated equipment.

As the United States retreated from Afghanistan, it attempted to deactivate at least some of the equipment.

General Kenneth McKenzie, head of the United States Central Command, told reporters that 70 armored vehicles, 27 Humvee trucks and 73 planes were deactivated before the troops left Kabul. “These planes will never fly again,” he said. “They can never be operated on by anyone. “

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Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told CNN that the only usable equipment remaining at the airport included fire trucks and forklifts.

But there are dozens of other key bases around Afghanistan that are now in the hands of the Taliban and, with that, tons of military equipment.

The Afghan army operated more than 600 armored vehicles, similar to the tactical armored patrol vehicles of the Canadian Forces. In contrast, the Canadian Forces have approximately 500 APRTs.

The Afghan army also had over 22,000 Humvee, 150 anti-mine vehicles, 8,000 transport trucks, 160 M113 armored vehicles, over 350,000 assault rifles, 64,000 assorted machine guns, 120,000 pistols and over 170 pieces of artillery, according to various reports. Also left behind 33 transport helicopters, over 30 Black Hawk helicopters and 40 other light helicopters. In addition, there were approximately 65 assorted fixed-wing aircraft. The current state of the arsenal is not known.

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The operating time of this equipment is subject to question. The United States spent more than $ 500 million on 16 military transport planes for the Afghan army. But in 2013, planes were abandoned in Kabul due to a lack of spare parts.

A Department of National Defense official said on Wednesday that there were only limited amounts of Canadian equipment left in Afghanistan and that was years ago. This did not include weapons or large vehicles.

But Canada continued to fund Afghan security forces even after the military’s official departure in 2014, earmarking $ 330 million for the initiative.

Canada's former military installation, Camp Nathan Smith, in Kandahar City, was handed over to Afghan security forces but abandoned in late 2013. DAVID PUGLIESE / Postmedia
Canada’s former military installation, Camp Nathan Smith, in Kandahar City, was handed over to Afghan security forces but abandoned in late 2013. DAVID PUGLIESE / Postmedia Photo by David Pugliese /Postmedia

The Taliban also now control large amounts of infrastructure built and paid for by Western taxpayers. Base Kandahar, which once housed thousands of Canadian troops, was captured intact.

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Canada spent about $ 50 million on the Dahla Dam project which the Canadian government declared a success. The dam is still not functioning properly and needs hundreds of millions of dollars to complete.

The Dahla Dam project was one of Canada’s most controversial aid programs in Afghanistan. Some $ 10 million from the budget went to security provided by an Afghan company whose owner was convicted of drug-related crimes and accused of being an interpreter for the Taliban.

When Canadian soldiers withdrew from Kandahar in 2011, they left Camp Nathan Smith – the former base of Canada’s Provincial Reconstruction Team – to the Americans. A year later, the United States handed it over to the Afghans. At the end of 2013, it was discontinued.

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A similar pattern followed the withdrawal of Russian troops from Afghanistan in 1989. The Soviets embarked on a much more ambitious aid program than the United States and NATO, building thousands of kilometers of roads, tunnels, bridges, schools, buildings and military bases.

But, with the Taliban in charge, much of the infrastructure has fallen into disrepair.

One of the bridges is however still intact. In February 1989, the Soviet Army used the “Friendship Bridge” connecting Afghanistan to Uzbekistan to complete its withdrawal from Afghanistan. Last week, NATO-trained Afghan National Army troops used the same bridge to escape the Taliban.

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“Catastrophe” in Afghanistan: Canada saves only a fraction of the performers, according to an NGO

“As soon as the Canadians leave, the United States will leave, they will be massacred … It’s a disaster”

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Despite repeated government promises that Canada would save endangered interpreters and other Afghans who worked for that country, only a small fraction of them are airlifted out of Kabul, say advocates for local workers.

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About 90 percent of those flown by Ottawa from Afghanistan are Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Afghan origin, said Dave Fraser, a retired army general with the Veterans Transition Network.

Most performers and other ex-Canadian military and government employees are still waiting for a quickly fading opportunity to flee, he said.

“It’s always absolutely chaotic,” said Fraser, who led Canadian troops on Operation Medusa, that country’s most notorious offensive in Afghanistan. “It’s still incredibly dangerous.”

Chris Ecklund, founder of the Canadian Heroes Foundation, said only 100 of the 1,500 former employees and family members his group helps have made it to Canada. He estimates that the interpreters and their relatives represent only 5 to 10% of the evacuees.

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Meanwhile, the Taliban recently killed several former employees of that country, he said. Although he did not provide any details, such targeted assassinations have long been a hallmark of the organization.

“The government is just not interested in this, they never have been,” Ecklund accused. “We are there now, we have one week left. Are we going to take them all out? The math doesn’t make sense. It does not indicate that.

It’s still absolutely chaotic

Most have not received a visa from Canada and face a dangerous trek from privately funded secure homes in central Kabul to the airport, a trip that may include walking a mile down a sewer. in the open, according to defenders.

Other countries, like the British and the French, brought in hundreds of Afghans from the city in bus convoys.

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Although Canadian government officials told reporters that country’s special forces ventured outside the airport to bring people in, private lawyers say they see little evidence of this happening. produce.

As the August 31 deadline approaches for the departure of foreign forces from Afghanistan, desperation is growing among veterans and other Canadians helping ex-employees.

“It’s a nightmare,” said another Canadian NGO volunteer, who works with government officials and asked not to be named. “It is a disaster of epic proportions.”

Spokesmen for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) could not be reached before the deadline for comment – or to describe who exactly is being evacuated.

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But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday that Canada was prepared to stay in Afghanistan to continue evacuation efforts past the August 31 deadline, if possible.

“We will continue to work every day to bring out so many people alongside our allies,” Trudeau told reporters after a virtual meeting of G7 leaders. “The commitment of our G7 colleagues is clear: we will all work together to save as many people as possible.

  1.     In this file photo taken on August 15, 2021, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau holds a press conference at Rideau Hall after asking Governor General Mary Simon to dissolve Parliament.

    Trudeau says Canada is ready to stay in Kabul past August 31 deadline after G7 meeting

  2. British and Canadian soldiers stand guard near a canal as Afghans wait outside the foreign military-controlled portion of Kabul airport, hoping to flee the country on August 22, 2021.

    Former Canadian interpreter fears for his life while awaiting evacuation from Afghanistan

However, US President Joe Biden, who set the deadline, has indicated his country will not stay beyond the end of this month.

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Trudeau also said Canada will continue to pressure the Taliban to allow people to leave the country even after the current phase ends.

Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan said in a tweet that Canada had flown 500 people out of the country just on Monday, adding to several hundred previously.

But Fraser said his group believed that only 11% of the 1,000 former interpreters and their families followed by VTN had received visas to come to Canada.

Even if they do receive a visa, getting into the airport and boarding a Canadian plane is a major challenge.

IRCC officials are telling Afghans to make their own way to the compound, despite the threat posed by huge crowds and Taliban guards, Fraser said.

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An Afghan-Canadian working for a Canadian NGO at the airport said it took people several days to get from the city to the airport. The quickest route takes them for three hours through an open sewer, where they then have to wait while Canadian authorities check their papers, said the man, who asked not to be named to avoid conflicts with government officials.

A friend who managed to cross and board a plane said he had traveled for several days as his children were injured by barbed wire and then had to wade through the sewers, he said by phone from Kabul.

A Canadian soldier walks through an evacuation checkpoint during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 24, 2021.
A Canadian soldier walks through an evacuation checkpoint during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 24, 2021. Photo by Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla / US Marine Corps / Document via Reuters

The NGO worker estimated that about 95 percent of those who board Canadian planes are citizens or permanent residents. Most of the interpreters he knows have not even received a visa.

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Once they make contact with Canadian authorities, the fleeing Afghans face another obstacle. IRCC staff categorically reject any family member – including in one case the widowed mother of a former employee – who does not themselves have a visa, the airport worker and a lawyer said based in Canada.

A former Canadian military interpreter in Kandahar province who immigrated to Canada in 2010 argued that Afghan nationals and their families should in fact be given priority over Canadian citizens. They do not have passports that would allow them to leave the country after the departure of foreign forces, he said.

Khan, who asked that his last name not be released to avoid reprisals against his family in Afghanistan, said the policy should extend to relatives of performers like him who have already settled in Canada, as those relatives are at increased risk of retaliation by the Taliban.

There are over 200 ex-performers in Canada and so far no family member in Afghanistan has made it, he said.

“As soon as the Canadians leave, the United States will leave, they will be slaughtered,” Khan predicted. “It’s a disaster.”

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Canadian army

Victory is not always on the battlefield, says father whose son was killed in Afghanistan

“The Taliban are not afraid of guns and bombs; they are afraid of school children with textbooks. That’s why (Kevin) left, ”says Fred McKay

BARRIE – With Afghanistan now under Taliban rule, Canada’s involvement in this war-torn country is being commemorated, celebrated and questioned.

Perhaps more than by the Silver Cross mothers and fathers of fallen soldiers who served with honor.

When the Canadian soldier and native of the Barrie region Pte. Kevin McKay was killed in action in Afghanistan on May 13, 2010, he died knowing he had made a difference in a country that needed all the help it could get.

“The reason Kevin wanted to go to Afghanistan was so the kids could go to school,” says his father, Fred McKay. Barrie today in a telephone interview from Perth in the Ottawa area. “He wanted them to at least have a glimpse of what life could be like if they could go to school and reject the ideology of the Taliban.

“The Taliban are not afraid of guns and bombs; they are afraid of school children with textbooks. That’s why he left. “

Kevin McKay, who grew up in the Horseshoe Valley of Oro-Medonte Township and attended WR Best Public School and Barrie’s Eastview Secondary School, was 24 when he was killed by an improvised explosive device during of his last night patrol, just two days before the end of his tour of duty.

Fred McKay (pronounced “mac-eye”) says the village his son was assigned to at one time was a hotbed of Taliban activity.

“When our troops reached the village and were able to tell the elders that it was safe for the children to return to school, Kevin volunteered for the first patrol which started in the morning at 6 a.m. He said. “He wanted to do the first patrol because he wanted to see the smiles on the children’s faces when they returned to school after a long absence, or for the first time.

“It is the key to the future in Afghanistan, it is to give an education to the children. He had this little personal victory and could see the smiles on the children’s faces, and this magical moment of feeling of accomplishment and mission accomplished.

As distant as they seem now, there have been some victories, and others not so small.

“The Canadian military has built 55 schools and most Canadians don’t know it,” says McKay. “They built clinics and helped farmers with pumps and generators and a bit of know-how. That’s how they conquered the people, but you can’t keep the soldiers there forever.

So what kind of legacy is left?

“It’s not just Kevin, it’s the Canadian military and all NATO troops,” McKay says. “They have had this country 20 years of education for children. It’s a generation.

“See it all go down now when the troops have retreated …” he said with a pause. “My question for the Canadian government, the Afghan government and NATO is, ‘What did you think was going to happen?’

“Donald Trump wanted to be the great peacemaker, so he made a deal with the devil (the Taliban as opposed to the Afghan government) I think… and he muddied the waters.”

Before Trump, however, there were years of NATO-led training of Afghan soldiers.

“Our soldiers did their best to train the Afghan army. They had 300,000 trained and equipped soldiers, but they stopped engaging with the Taliban, ”McKay said. “They are afraid of the Taliban because they are ruthless.

“But if they are not going to fight for their country, then I don’t think it is appropriate that we fight for their country for them,” he adds. “We taught them how to do it and we equipped them. You can lead a horse to the watering hole, but you cannot force it to drink. They trained the Afghan army and I think it was the Afghan government that dropped the ball. They did not take advantage of this training and the education that the children received.

Recognizing that coalition forces could not stay in the country forever, McKay says he maybe like many, many other Canadians I would have liked to see a different result.

“They should have stayed until the job was done,” he said of the coalition forces. “They are soldiers. They wanted to be there. Kevin wanted to be there. They went there to help, not to hurt.

“They were crippled by the rules of engagement where they weren’t allowed to search and destroy the enemy,” McKay adds. “Instead, they did other things. Better things, in fact.

Does he think Kevin died in vain?

“Not for a second. We are very proud of what Kevin and all the soldiers have done. It was because he wanted to see the looks of those Afghan children when they returned to school that he went there, ”McKay says. “As we know, there will be no victory day in Afghanistan when the enemy is defeated and the good guys have won. It’s just going to go on and on.

“But at least for a while then there were a lot of kids going to school. So it was a victory. “


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Edmonton women scramble to save brother from hiding in Afghanistan

Two Edmonton sisters were unable to sleep or eat as they hope their family will be selected under an Afghan resettlement program announced by the federal government last week.

CBC News has agreed to identify them only by first name for the safety of their families.

Malali and Maska say their brother worked for NATO and the US military, which now puts him and the rest of the family at risk.

According to Malali, they have been in hiding for about two weeks.

“The whole family – my brother and my mother and my two sisters and four brothers – they all live in the same house. And all of their lives are in danger because of this brother who worked with the US military,” he said. she declared.

“The 20,000 Afghan refugees they announced they would bring, I want my family to be one of those 20,000.”

Malali, a woman from Edmonton, became emotional as she spoke of the danger her family currently faces in Afghanistan. (Jamie McCannel / CBC)

The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan last week as the United States and its allies withdrew their troops after a 20-year war.

The sisters have appealed to the Canadian and US governments for help, they said on Sunday. They received no response.

The women say they feel helpless to be so far away, knowing how their families in Afghanistan are struggling and knowing that supplies are running out – for their families and in the country in general.

“He risked his life for seven years for these people and they left him behind,” said Malali. “Without any help or anything. He is very desperate. The situation is very desperate. We don’t know what to do.”

Federal ministers provided an update on the situation in Afghanistan on Sunday.

Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said the government understands how desperate Afghans are to flee the country and Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino has vowed to speed up resettlements.

The Canadian military airlifted about 1,100 people – mostly Afghans – out of the country, Mendicino said. So far, 12 flights have left the country.


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Victory is not always on the battlefield, says father whose son was killed in Afghanistan

“The Taliban are not afraid of guns and bombs; they are afraid of school children with textbooks. That’s why (Kevin) left, ”says Fred McKay

With Afghanistan now under Taliban rule, Canada’s involvement in this war-torn country is commemorated, celebrated and questioned.

Perhaps more than by the Silver Cross mothers and fathers of fallen soldiers who served with honor.

When the Canadian soldier and native of the Barrie region Pte. Kevin McKay was killed in action in Afghanistan on May 13, 2010, he died knowing he had made a difference in a country that needed all the help it could get.

“The reason Kevin wanted to go to Afghanistan was so the kids could go to school,” says his father, Fred McKay. Barrie today in a telephone interview from Perth in the Ottawa area. “He wanted them to at least have a glimpse of what life could be like if they could go to school and reject Taliban ideology.

“The Taliban are not afraid of guns and bombs; they are afraid of school children with textbooks. That’s why he left. “

Kevin McKay, who grew up in the Horseshoe Valley of Oro-Medonte Township and attended WR Best Public School and Barrie’s Eastview Secondary School, was 24 when he was killed by an improvised explosive device during of his last night patrol, just two days before the end of his tour of duty.

Fred McKay (pronounced “mac-eye”) says the village his son was assigned to at one time was a hotbed of Taliban activity.

“When our troops reached the village and were able to tell the elders that it was safe for the children to return to school, Kevin volunteered for the first patrol which started in the morning at 6 a.m. He said. “He wanted to do the first patrol because he wanted to see the smiles on the children’s faces when they returned to school after a long absence, or for the first time.

“It is the key to the future in Afghanistan, it is to give an education to the children. He had this little personal victory and could see the smiles on the children’s faces, and this magical moment of feeling of accomplishment and mission accomplished.

As distant as they seem now, there have been some victories, and others not so small.

“The Canadian military has built 55 schools and most Canadians don’t know it,” says McKay. “They built clinics and helped farmers with pumps and generators and a bit of know-how. That’s how they conquered the people, but you can’t keep the soldiers there forever.

So what kind of legacy is left?

“It’s not just Kevin, it’s the Canadian military and all NATO troops,” McKay says. “They got this country 20 years of education for children. It’s a generation.

“See it all go down now when the troops have retreated …” he said with a pause. “My question for the Canadian government, the Afghan government and NATO is, ‘What did you think was going to happen?’

“Donald Trump wanted to be the great peacemaker, so he made a deal with the devil (the Taliban as opposed to the Afghan government) I think… and he covered his tracks.”

Before Trump, however, there were years of NATO-led training of Afghan soldiers.

“Our soldiers did their best to train the Afghan army. They had 300,000 trained and equipped soldiers, but they stopped engaging with the Taliban, ”McKay said. “They are afraid of the Taliban because they are ruthless.

“But if they are not going to fight for their country, then I don’t think it is appropriate that we fight for their country for them,” he adds. “We taught them how to do it and we equipped them. You can lead a horse to the watering hole, but you cannot force it to drink. They trained the Afghan army and I think it was the Afghan government that dropped the ball. They did not take advantage of this training and the education that the children received.

Recognizing that coalition forces could not stay in the country forever, McKay says he maybe like many, many other Canadians I would have liked to see a different result.

“They should have stayed until the job was done,” he said of the coalition forces. “They are soldiers. They wanted to be there. Kevin wanted to be there. They went there to help, not to hurt.

“They were crippled by the rules of engagement where they weren’t allowed to search and destroy the enemy,” McKay adds. “Instead, they did other things. Better things, in fact.

Does he think Kevin died in vain?

“Not for a second. We are very proud of what Kevin and all the soldiers have done. It was because he wanted to see the looks of those Afghan children when they returned to school that he went there, ”McKay says. “As we know, there will be no victory day in Afghanistan when the enemy is defeated and the good guys have won. It’s just going to go on and on.

“But at least for a while then there were a lot of kids going to school. So it was a victory. “


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Canadian army

Victory is not always on the battlefield, says father whose son was killed in Afghanistan

“The Taliban are not afraid of guns and bombs; they are afraid of school children with textbooks. That’s why (Kevin) left, ”says Fred McKay

With Afghanistan now under Taliban rule, Canada’s involvement in this war-torn country is commemorated, celebrated and questioned.

Perhaps more than by the Silver Cross mothers and fathers of fallen soldiers who served with honor.

When the Canadian soldier and native of the Barrie region Pte. Kevin McKay was killed in action in Afghanistan on May 13, 2010, he died knowing he had made a difference in a country that needed all the help it could get.

“The reason Kevin wanted to go to Afghanistan was so the kids could go to school,” says his father, Fred McKay. in a telephone interview from Perth in the Ottawa area. “He wanted them to at least have a glimpse of what life could be like if they could go to school and reject Taliban ideology.

“The Taliban are not afraid of guns and bombs; they are afraid of school children with textbooks. That’s why he left. “

Kevin McKay, who grew up in the Horseshoe Valley of Oro-Medonte Township and attended WR Best Public School and Barrie’s Eastview Secondary School, was 24 when he was killed by an improvised explosive device during of his last night patrol, just two days before the end of his tour of duty.

Fred McKay (pronounced “mac-eye”) says the village his son was assigned to at one time was a hotbed of Taliban activity.

“When our troops reached the village and were able to tell the elders that it was safe for the children to return to school, Kevin volunteered for the first patrol which started in the morning at 6 a.m. He said. “He wanted to do the first patrol because he wanted to see the smiles on the children’s faces when they returned to school after a long absence, or for the first time.

“It is the key to the future in Afghanistan, it is to give an education to the children. He had this little personal victory and could see the smiles on the children’s faces, and this magical moment of feeling of accomplishment and mission accomplished.

As distant as they seem now, there have been some victories, and others not so small.

“The Canadian military has built 55 schools and most Canadians don’t know it,” says McKay. “They built clinics and helped farmers with pumps and generators and a bit of know-how. That’s how they conquered the people, but you can’t keep the soldiers there forever.

So what kind of legacy is left?

“It’s not just Kevin, it’s the Canadian military and all NATO troops,” McKay says. “They got this country 20 years of education for children. It’s a generation.

“See it all go down now when the troops have retreated …” he said with a pause. “My question for the Canadian government, the Afghan government and NATO is, ‘What did you think was going to happen?’

“Donald Trump wanted to be the great peacemaker, so he made a deal with the devil (the Taliban as opposed to the Afghan government) I think… and he covered his tracks.”

Before Trump, however, there were years of NATO-led training of Afghan soldiers.

“Our soldiers did their best to train the Afghan army. They had 300,000 trained and equipped soldiers, but they stopped engaging with the Taliban, ”McKay said. “They are afraid of the Taliban because they are ruthless.

“But if they are not going to fight for their country, then I don’t think it is appropriate that we fight for their country for them,” he adds. “We taught them how to do it and we equipped them. You can lead a horse to the watering hole, but you cannot force it to drink. They trained the Afghan army and I think it was the Afghan government that dropped the ball. They did not take advantage of this training and the education that the children received.

Recognizing that coalition forces could not stay in the country forever, McKay says he maybe like many, many other Canadians I would have liked to see a different result.

“They should have stayed until the job was done,” he said of the coalition forces. “They are soldiers. They wanted to be there. Kevin wanted to be there. They went there to help, not to hurt.

“They were crippled by the rules of engagement where they weren’t allowed to search and destroy the enemy,” McKay adds. “Instead, they did other things. Better things, in fact.

Does he think Kevin died in vain?

“Not for a second. We are very proud of what Kevin and all the soldiers have done. It was because he wanted to see the looks of those Afghan children when they returned to school that he went there, ”McKay says. “As we know, there will be no victory day in Afghanistan when the enemy is defeated and the good guys have won. It’s just going to go on and on.

“But at least for a while then there were a lot of kids going to school. So it was a victory. “


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World News Roundup: Trudeau Sentences 11-Year Chinese Court in Canada’s Espionage Case; Iranian Raisi appoints anti-Western hard line as new foreign minister, more

Here is a summary of the news in the world.

Trudeau condemns Chinese court’s 11-year sentence in Canadian spy case

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday that a Chinese court’s sentencing of Canadian businessman Michael Spavor to 11 years in prison for espionage was “absolutely unacceptable” and called for his immediate release. The US Embassy in Beijing also condemned the conviction in a statement, saying the prosecution of Spavor and another Canadian accused of espionage was an attempt to “use human beings as a bargaining chip.”

Iranian Raisi appoints anti-Western hard line as new foreign minister

New President Ebrahim Raisi on Wednesday appointed an anti-Western diplomat as foreign minister as Iran and six world powers seek to restore their 2015 nuclear deal. Raisi, a hardline supporter under Western sanctions for allegations of human rights violations while a judge, was sworn in on August 5 with religious leaders in the Islamic Republic facing growing crises at home and abroad.

Taliban could take Afghan capital in 90 days – US intelligence

Taliban fighters could isolate the Afghan capital in 30 days and possibly take control of it in 90 days, a US defense official told Reuters on Wednesday citing US intelligence as militants took control of an eighth Afghan provincial capital. The Taliban now control 65% of Afghanistan and have captured or are threatening to take 11 provincial capitals, a senior EU official said on Tuesday.

Ramaphosa de S. Africa says he tried to resist corruption as deputy to ex-president Zuma

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, testifying in a corruption probe on Wednesday, said he chose to “stay but resist” rather than resign as vice president when allegations of widespread corruption surfaced. surfaced under his predecessor Jacob Zuma. Ramaphosa, Zuma’s number two from May 2014 to February 2018, made anti-corruption a mainstay of his presidency, although opposition parties criticized him for not doing enough to stop the rot during his tenure of deputy.

Germany arrests Briton suspected of spying for Russia

German police have arrested a Briton who worked at the British embassy in Berlin on suspicion of passing documents on to Russian intelligence services in exchange for cash, prosecutors said on Wednesday. German prosecutors said the apartment and workplace of the man, identified only as David S., had been searched and he would be brought before an investigating judge later on Wednesday.

North Korea warns of “security crisis” if US, South Korea escalate tensions

North Korea said on Wednesday that South Korea and the United States had missed an opportunity to improve relations and risked a “serious security crisis” by choosing to escalate tensions as they conduct joint military exercises . Kim Yong Chol, a general and politician who played a leading role in historic summits between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and former US President Donald Trump, criticized South Korea and the United States for responding to Pyongyang’s goodwill with “hostile acts”.

Belarus calls on US to cut embassy staff by September 1, RIA says

Belarus has called on the United States to cut staff at its embassy in Minsk and revoked its consent to the appointment of Julie Fisher as ambassador in response to the latest Washington sanctions, Russian news agency RIA reported on Wednesday. RIA quoted a spokesperson for the Belarusian Foreign Ministry as saying that Minsk wanted the embassy staff to be reduced to five by September 1.

At least 65 dead in forest fires in Algeria

Forest fires that ravaged forest areas in northern Algeria have left at least 65 dead, state television reported on Wednesday, as some of the most destructive fires in the country’s history continued to rage . The government has deployed the military to help fight the fires, which have ravaged the mountainous region of Kabylia the hardest, and 28 of the dead are soldiers, with 12 others seriously injured from burns.

Analysis-Brazil Bolsonaro deploys tanks to cover weak position

Clouds of black exhaust fumes spewing aging tanks and amphibious vehicles passing far-right President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday were a bad smokescreen for a leader whose political support is crumbling and whose re-election is in trouble. Politicians and analysts said this week’s unusual military display outside the Presidential Palace https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/brazil-military-parade-presidential-palace-rattles-politicians-2021- 08-10 in Brasilia had not revealed the strength but rather the political weakness of a president on the ropes for not having taken Brazil out of the coronavirus pandemic and an economic crisis.

Greece says EU “is not ready for another migration crisis”

The European Union is unable to cope with another migration crisis like the one in 2015 and must act to try to prevent people from fleeing the growing conflict in Afghanistan, Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said on Wednesday. . Mitararchi, who last week co-signed a letter with ministers from five other EU countries saying deportations of failed asylum seekers should continue despite the fighting, said ending such returns “would send a bad message ”and would encourage more Afghans to try to reach Europe.

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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Afghanistan will sanction Pakistan? Vice-President Saleh reacts to ex-Canadian call for “invasion”

Responding to a tweet from former Canadian politician and diplomat Chris Alexander, Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh described the current period as a “period of shock” and has flooded confidence as he recovered. The Canadian diplomat spoke of the “Pakistan invasion of Afghanistan” and how it should be treated. With the hashtag “Sanction Pakistan”, the Canadian politician blasted Pakistan for its alleged involvement in the violence in Afghanistan.

“It’s on its way. The Afghan route,” the vice president wrote amid fierce fighting with Taliban forces.

Demonstration of the Afghan vice-president against Pakistan

As Afghanistan is in the throes of war, the country’s first vice president, Amrullah Saleh, joined a civil protest against the Taliban and Pakistan last week. As he marched through the streets of Kabul on August 3, the Afghan First Vice President was seen chanting Allah-o-Akbar and criticized Pakistan for supporting the Islamist movement Deobandi and the organization. military. The former director of the National Security Directorate, who has consistently spoken out against Pakistan’s support for the Taliban, took to the microblogging site and called the protest a “historic moment” against Tablian terrorists and their supporters.

25 Pakistani fighters killed by Afghan forces

According to reports, 25 Pakistani terrorists have been killed by Afghan forces so far in Nijrab, located 100 kilometers from Kabul. Among them, five are said to be Pakistani army commandos dressed as Taliban terrorists. The major revelation came as evidence regarding Afghanistan’s claims of Pakistani involvement on its soil. Reports further indicated that one of the commandos fighting alongside the Taliban had been ambushed by Afghan forces. After the assault, Afghan forces returned the bodies of Pakistani commandos through the Red Cross.

Imran Khan calls Taliban “normal civilians”

Anger against Pakistan escalated after a shocking statement was recently adopted by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in which he described the Taliban as not in military dress, but “normal civilians”. In an interview, Khan asked how Pakistan was supposed to hunt down the Taliban as it hosts three million Afghan refugees, the majority of whom are Pashtuns, the same ethnic group as the Taliban fighters. Khan has also denied claims about the Taliban’s alleged safe havens on Pakistani soil and has repeatedly shifted his argument in favor of the three million refugees in the country.


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Military will likely need more help with natural disaster response, DND says

With wildfires and flooding raging across the country this summer, hundreds of members of the Canadian Armed Forces have been called in to help with provincial emergencies – but they will likely need help to keep it going. do, a spokesperson for the Department of National Defense told iPolitics this week..

“WWe expect requests for assistance to increase, depending on the availability of provincial emergency resources, ”the spokesperson said in an email response. “This is consistent with the increase in the frequency and severity of natural disasters, both at home and abroad.”

Provincial emergency management organizations are the first to respond, but they can call in the military if they are overwhelmed.

“WWe expect that the need for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) support for missions (Operation Lentus) will continue to increase at a constant rate in the medium to long term, which will result in an increased need for resources, ”he said. declared the spokesperson.

Operation Lentus is the CAF’s mission to respond to natural disasters.

While the military expects more deployments to require more resources, it is difficult to know when and how.

As the nature of the missions (of Operation Lentus) is unpredictable, there is no way to say exactly how or when this might impact our resources, ”the spokesperson said. “CAF’s requests for assistance are not predictable and therefore no amount is planned or set aside in advance. “

The cost of disaster relief has fluctuated wildly since 2013, according to figures provided to iPolitics by the Department of National Defense (DND).

In fiscal year 2017-18, thousands of troops and hundreds of vehicles were sent across the country to help six provinces deal with ice storms, floods and wildfires, according to a ministry. breakdown. DND spent $ 14 million on incremental costs, which are costs attributable to a specific mission.

In fiscal year 2014-2015, however, natural disaster relief cost the ministry just under $ 150,000.

While DND cannot predict with certainty how much future deployments will cost, it anticipates “more cyclical events,” the spokesperson said. These include the seasons of fires and floods, said Jonathan Vance, former Chief of the Defense Staff, speaking to the House Defense Committee in 2018.

The CAF plans for cyclical events, such as floods and forest fires, including such things as forecasting critical areas and assessing capacity gaps, ”the spokesperson said.

This planning includes “the identification, preparation and pre-positioning of Forces, facilitators and reserves (who) would be required to respond to fire, flood, natural disaster and the routing of goods.” humanitarian aid ”, as well as“ computer simulations, planning conferences, teleconferences, tabletop exercises, field simulations, etc. “Said the spokesperson.

The use of the military for more and more natural disasters is a source of concern, said Lt. Gen. Wayne Eyre, acting chief of staff, talk to the canadian press Last year. If this continues to be commonplace, which the ministry said it expects, it could hamper the military’s combat readiness, Eyre said.

Despite the expected increase and four deployments to date in 2021, the CAF is still ready to fight, the spokesperson said..

Although the increase in natural disasters has had an impact on the number of missions (Operation Lentus) performed by the CAF, it has not yet affected our combat readiness, ”they said.

“Mincentives are always in place to ensure that CAF support on the international stage, both for combat and non-combat missions, never suffers, ”the spokesperson said.

“This includes relying more heavily on the Reserve Force for domestic operations, at times, or working with federal and provincial partners to ensure the most efficient use of CAF resources here at home. “

The more frequent use of reserves has not changed the structure of the reserve forces, “nor the way they train or are employed, but simply the frequency with which they are called,” said the spokesperson.

The military response to more natural disasters is also of concern to Adam MacDonald, member of the International Council of Canada, who wrote a test on the subject for the Institute of the Conference of Defense Associations.

There is a “growing trend for the military (increasingly responding to national and) localized environmental disasters, which are expected to increase, given climate change,” he told iPolitics.

MacDonald worries “that this is already built into what the military was going to do in the future, without really thinking politically about whether or not we want the military to do it,” he said. declared.

As climate change continues to cause large-scale natural disasters and the military expects the military to continue to assist, MacDonald has suggested two solutions, without explicitly arguing for either. ‘other.

The first is that army reserves play a more active role in emergency management.

“I don’t think it’s realistic for a number of reasons,” he said. “Number 1 is that the reserve is a force of volunteers,” and volunteers might not want to fight fires or other disasters.

The second is that reserves are trained to do the same job as regular forces, so playing a more active role in emergency management could take time compared to training to replace regular forces when deployed overseas. , did he declare.

The other option is to create a new department, similar to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the United States, which is explicitly responsible for responding to disasters.

“This is the question, ‘do we need to build capacity and expertise to (deal with) the increasing likelihood of natural disasters and other national problems? ”Said MacDonald.

“This is where the FEMA structure could work, but it could be a bit difficult, given that each province has their own emergency management organization, so there could be (battles) over who is in charge. enough to.”

Helping provinces deal with natural disasters is a core function of the CAF, as defined in the 2017 Defense Ministry report. policy document, “Strong, secure and committed”.

The use of CAF members to help provinces is increasingly common, says analysis by military experts Christian Leuprecht and Peter Kasurak for the Center for International Governance Innovation.

From 1996 to 2006, the CAF was deployed on 12 weather-related missions. Between 2007 and 2016, this number rose to 20.

From 2017 to 2019 alone, the CAF was mobilized for 15 missions.

In a mission last year dubbed Operation Laser, the CAF even helped long-term care homes in Quebec and Ontario that were overwhelmed by COVID. Other than this effort, the CAF has only been deployed to the provinces once: to help Newfoundland and Labrador weather a major snowstorm in January 2020.

In 2021, the army has so far been deployed in Manitoba, Ontario and British Columbia to fight forest fires, and in the Yukon to help protect against flooding.

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