|A deminer with the Canadian International Demining Corps looking for landmines in Srebrenica.|
The 13th annual Landmine Monitor was released today and as in previous years, there is a lot of good news and some not-so-good news.
Governments around the world provided a record level of funding for mine action in 2010 – US$637 million – and that resulted in a record level of mine clearance. At least 200 square kilometres of land were cleared of landmines and 388,000 antipersonnel mines and 27,000 antivehicle mines were destroyed.
Still, there is a long way to go.
At least 72 states are mine-affected and a total of 4,191 new casualties were recorded in 2010. This represents a five per cent increase over 2009.
Landmine Monitor reports that three governments used antipersonnel landmines lasts year: Israel, Libya and Myanmar, and that non-state armed groups used landmines in four countries: Afghanistan, Colombia, Myanmar and Pakistan.
With respect to Canada's contribution, the results were also good and bad.
Canadian taxpayers contributed US$30,139,534 in mine action funding in 2010.
This represents a 61 per cent increase from the previous year, when Canada received much criticism for its drop in mine action funding.
Canada in now one of the top five international mine action funders.
The majority of Canadian funding (62 per cent) went to mine clearance in Afghanistan.
Other countries that benefited from Canadian support include: Sudan, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Columbia, Tajikistan, Chad and Palau.
One country that did not benefit from Canadian mine action funding is Bosnia and Herzegovina, where Canada used to be a major player.
The Canadian International Demining Corps (CIDC) has been operating in the Balkans for a number of years, largely due to the financial support of the late Irving Schwartz (a highly successful businessman in Nova Scotia).
Nowadays, the not-for-profit demining NGO receives most of its funding from the International Trust Fund.
"We have not made formal requests for funding from the Government of Canada (in the last 4-5 years) because we have been told funds were not available," said David Horton, executive director, CIDC, in an email interview from Sydney, Nova Scotia.
The CIDC has also received some funding from the Canadian Landmine Foundation to train mine-detection dogs, however Mr. Horton says the demand for these dogs has diminished significantly.
To read the full report, please click here.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Ottawa's first season of BIXI bike sharing has officially ended and the bikes have been put away for winter storage.
From May 18 to November 13, 2011, the bike-sharing service generated 21,658 cycling trips stemming from 173 monthly and yearly subscribers and 7,384 distinct occasional users.
According to the National Capital Commission (NCC), the bikes will return on April 15, 2012.
Looking for a stocking stuffer? BIXI gift certificates for yearly and monthly memberships are available online at http://boutique.bixi.com/.
Friday, November 11, 2011
|School children singing Highway of Heroes at the Cenotaph in Westboro Village in Ottawa|
|Wreaths at the Remembrance Day ceremony in Westboro|
|Veterans parading from the Legion on Richmond Road to the Cenotaph (above & below)|
|A wreath made by local school children that was placed at the Cenotaph in Westboro|
Friday, November 04, 2011
|Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.|
Veterans' Week in Canada runs from November 5 – 11 and Veterans Affairs Canada and the Department of National Defence are encouraging all Canadians to remember the sacrifices made by veterans which permit us to enjoy the freedom we have today.
"During Veterans' Week, we are asking Canadians to get involved in making remembrance more than something they feel," said Veterans Affairs Minister, Stephen Blaney, in a press release. "I want to encourage everyone, especially the youth of our country, to make remembrance something they do." This year we encourage everyone to take remembrance one step further by attending a Remembrance Day ceremony, visiting a local cenotaph or monument, sharing their thoughts of remembrance online, or wearing a poppy with pride," said Mr. Blaney.
In Ottawa and Gatineau, veterans who wear their medals and/or uniform can use the transit service for free between November 5th and 11th, as can their companions.
To learn more about Veterans' Week, please click here.