Roundup: The annual summer Arctic tour

Stephen Harper is now on his annual summer tour of the Arctic, which he kicked off by slamming the opposition, in an almost verbatim replay of the speech he made at the Calgary Stampede – which could mean we’ll get the same speech for the next two years and throughout the next election, if his propensity for repeated messaging is anything to go by. James Cudmore points out how much politicking goes on during these trips – and one wonders just how much the annual photo that has every element of the Canadian Forces in the same frame will cost us this time – while Michael Den Tandt looks at how much is at stake for Harper, considering that none of his grand plans for the Arctic will come to fruition before the next election. And as part of the Prime Minister’s new social media strategy, in order to try and match Justin Trudeau’s presence, Laureen Harper posts on the PM’s new blog about her Arctic memories. Aww, bless.

The Canadian Army is scrambling to purchase new snowmobiles for its Arctic operations amidst budget freezes, while at the same time spending some $620,000 on test-driving a new “stealth” snowmobile. While the technology is still in development, there are already questions as to why it’s really necessary if there’s nobody going to invade our Arctic borders.

The Royal Canadian Navy has no plans to redeploy any more forces to the Pacific despite the build-up of the Chinese navy, seeing as Middle East and Caribbean operations are still ongoing out of our East Coast base. Meanwhile, the Royal Canadian Air Forces has decided that it doesn’t need the permission of civil aviation authorities to conduct domestic drone flights as they see fit. Apparently this is because we have a lot of uncongested airspace, and we have sufficient air traffic management and collision avoidance systems.

The Office of the Correctional Investigator thinks that Omar Khadr is being unfairly given a maximum-security designation, seeing as he’s not a high-level threat. But – politics!

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin is predicting that the Senate reference question is going to be a fairly tough slog, and that she hopes they’ll get through it quickly, but they won’t really have any idea how long it will take until they’ve digested the submissions.

Also discussed at the Canadian Bar Association conference was the need to boost legal aid funding, as access to justice is becoming increasingly unaffordable for many Canadians who need it.

The incoming new head of the Canadian Medical Association wonders if it’s time that the organisation re-examine its stance on euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide as end-of-life issues become more prevalent in medicine today.

And that call centre that helped the Conservatives with their past few campaigns has had their creditor protection extended by another sixty days, in case you were curious.