By Ken MacQueen - Monday, January 7, 2013 - 0 Comments
The former soldier survived an axe attack in Afghanistan, now he’s defying the limits of science in his recovery
It has been 25 years since Trevor Greene gave up competitive rowing for other pursuits: journalism, travel, soldiering, fatherhood, marriage. But today, at age 48, sitting in a wheelchair in his Nanaimo, B.C., home, the forcibly retired army captain is rowing as hard as he’s trained for any event in his life.
Today he rows only in his mind, where he also visualizes walking. The frustrations are enormous for a man once thought of as invincible. He used to be part of the men’s eight crew at King’s College in Halifax, and at the elite club level, pulling until his muscles screamed and the callouses were thick on his hands. Now he makes perfect strokes with his mind, the neurons firing along a familiar course as he stirs up long-remembered sensations: the feel of oar in hand and boat in water. “All that stuff: the sound and the heat and the pain,” he says. When the oar enters the water, “I imagine the tug on my shoulders, because it’s a very good feeling. Very distinctive.” Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, August 20, 2010 at 4:53 PM - 0 Comments
“He has certainly voiced with clarity what the issues are,” said Natynczyk, who held the news conference with his Dutch counterpart, Gen. Peter Van Uhm, who has been on an official visit to Canada…
Natynczyk also encouraged soldiers to speak out, whether at parliamentary committees, to the media or in public, about the issues they face and the needs they have, because every soldier is different. ”Everyone’s had a different war, a different fight. Their family circumstances are different,” he said. “I think the bottom line is we can’t do enough for our soldiers, our wounded soldiers.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, October 26, 2009 at 12:06 PM - 11 Comments
Peter MacKay, responding to opposition questions, October 19. I will note that when it comes to Bloc members, I wish they would spend just as much time standing up and protecting the interests of Canadian soldiers as they do for the vigour they seem to have for Taliban prisoners … The member has now asked, I believe, nine or ten questions on the Military Police Complaints Commission. I only wish he would bring that type of enthusiasm to support the men and women of the Canadian Forces.
Winnipeg Free Press, yesterday. A former member of Canada’s military says if Prime Minister Stephen Harper truly supports his troops, he’d change his government’s stance on a private member’s bill to improve the pension plans of the military and RCMP. Fred Newton, a 20-year veteran of the military in the communications branch, is one of hundreds of former military and RCMP officers pushing the Conservatives to help pass Bill C-201, a private member’s bill from NDP MP Peter Stoffer … ”You see Prime Minister Harper all the time saying we’ve got to support our troops and then (the Conservatives) go and turn around and vote against this,” said Newton. “It’s hypocritical.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 11:49 AM - 14 Comments
The Star expands on what Hillier’s memoir says about the debate over what the public could and should see of the flag-draped coffins of Canadian soldiers returning from Afghanistan.
The controversy over letting the media show the return of Goddard’s body from the dusty district of Panjwaii, where she was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade on May 17, 2006, turned into a very public battle when her grieving father upbraided the Conservative government for censoring a politically painful event. But it was also the source of a private dispute between the head of the Canadian Forces and his political masters…
In the book, Hillier recalls attending graduation ceremonies at the Royal Military College in Kingston in May 2006 and being called into a backroom to take a call from the Prime Minister’s Office. The unelected staffers gave the decorated soldier and the defence minister orders that they wanted a change in Goddard’s repatriation ceremony – an emotional but fairly standard event where the coffin is unloaded from a military plane at CFB Trenton and driven to Toronto on Highway 401 in a sombre procession. ”Look, don’t bring the Airbus in, or if you bring the plane in, turn it away from the cameras so that people can’t see the bodies coming off, or do it after dark, or do it down behind the hangars, or just bar everybody from it,” Hillier quotes the PMO staffers as saying. “They clearly didn’t want that picture of the flag-draped coffin on the news.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 1:11 AM - 2 Comments
In his new memoir, General Rick Hillier, former chief of defence staff, reportedly discusses the return of bodies from Afghanistan and his insistence that ceremonies for the deceased be public.
He was regularly questioned about decisions to give public speeches, attend public functions or grant interviews. But the biggest pushback came after a decision to hold a full and open ceremony when the bodies of soldiers killed in Afghanistan were returned to Canada to make the sombre trek along Highway 401 from CFB Trenton to Toronto, a section that’s now known as the Highway of Heroes.
“Our new policy faced a few hiccups, particularly when we had pressure from PMO staffers suggesting … that we should keep the aircraft with soldiers’ remains out of sight, or we should do it late in the evening or early in the morning,” he writes. “This was a line in the sand for me.”
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, October 8, 2009 at 2:04 PM - 5 Comments
Peter MacKay ventures that Canadian troops will be in Afghanistan after 2011.
Canada’s troops will stay in Afghanistan even after the combat mission ends in 2011, Defence Minister Peter MacKay told the House of Commons defence committee Thursday in Ottawa.
It is the second time in as many weeks that MacKay has raised the issue, which appears to contradict repeated statements by Prime Minister Stephen Harper that Canada will pull its troops out of Afghanistan by 2011.
John Geddes’ analysis is once more relevant.
By Philippe Gohier - Monday, April 21, 2008 at 9:28 PM - 0 Comments
I’m not convinced Michel Vastel‘s is the consensus view in Quebec about Gen. Rick…
I’m not convinced Michel Vastel‘s is the consensus view in Quebec about Gen. Rick Hillier (or the war in Afghanistan, for that matter). But it’s worth pointing out Vastel may have been the first to write a scathing review of Hillier’s run as defence chief, all while his colleagues in the English press were busy fantasizing about the departing general’s jockstrap:
No, I won’t join the chorus of hypocrites saluting the great general Rick Hillier and sparing no praise about him.
“The general also knew for more than two years he would need at least 1,000 more soldiers to defeat the insurection and help the Afghan army take control of the south. Hillier therefore knew Canadian deaths were useless.