Final Canadian troops depart for Kabul

Tease the day: Soldiers bouyed by idealism as they train Afghan troops

<p>Former Cpl. John Lowe rests during an operation on March 23, 2010 in Panjwaii, Afghanistan. Lowe was among a group of Canadian soldiers and veterans, many of them struggling with post traumatic stress arrived in London Sunday after a gruelling six-day cycling ride from Paris. Canadian veterans say they&#8217;re worried wounded will be forgotten as wars fade. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Murray Brewster</p>

Murray Brewster/CP

Murray Brewster/CP

Fifty soldiers en route to Afghanistan departed yesterday from Edmonton and Shilo, Man., the final pieces of the 900-strong Canadian contingent posted in Kabul. Their mission, Operation Attention, is to train Afghan national security forces in advance of the Canadian withdrawal from the fledgling nation in 2014. The training represents Canada’s last military contribution before the troops come home for good.

The tone of the soldiers headed to Kabul was starkly positive, and a reminder that Canadians still enlist for the same reasons as the generations that preceded them: to see the world and help people along the way. “I’m excited. Like so many people, I joined up to go places and see different things and help the people we can in faraway places that need it,” Lt. Cole Janett told the Edmonton Journal. “From Day 1, this is something I wanted to do and I’ve finally been given the opportunity.”

Janett wrapped up the war effort in a couple of sentences: “A lot of blood, sweat and tears has been put into the war,” he told the Journal. “We’re in the tail end, so we’re going to keep charging and make sure it gets wrapped up the right way.”

A war in three words: blood, sweat and tears. Some might call that an understatement.

Former Cpl. John Lowe, the guy in the photo atop this post, served in 2010. He’s pictured in Panjwaii District, resting at the side of a road. Lowe is one among many soldiers who, upon their return to Canada, have struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder, and worried they’ll be ostracized if they access the myriad programs offered to troubled vets. For them, as for so many veterans of so many conflicts, wars never end on battlefields. But the next generation of troops always arrives, happy to contribute.

As Lt. Cole Janett arrives in Kabul, bouyed by happy idealism, Lowe’s difficult recovery serves as a sobering counterpoint.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with a rail company chief and fire chief in Lac-Mégantic disagreeing about how a train filled with crude oil got loose and rolled into town. The National Post fronts the dispiriting search for more survivors in Lac-Mégantic. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with Richard Custeau’s agony at having lost his brother, Réal, in the Lac-Mégantic fire. The Ottawa Citizen leads with speculation by the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway that somebody tampered with its train in Nantes, Que., when its brakes were released. iPolitics fronts the pros and cons of political parties holding open nominations in ridings. leads with floods in Toronto that caused chaos yesterday afternoon and overnight. CTV News leads with the raised death toll—now 13—in Lac-Mégantic. National Newswatch showcases a story in Charlottetown’s The Guardian that quotes a local constitutional expert who’s questioned Senator Mike Duffy’s residence since his appointment in 2008.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Child porn. A former Ontario deputy education minister charged with several child pornography–related offences served on Premier Kathleen Wynne’s transition team.2. Green star. Former NHL tough guy Georges Laraque looks ready to announce his candidacy for the Green Party in an upcoming by-election in Montreal’s Bourassa riding.
3. Conflict of interest. B.C. MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay lobbied on behalf of a constituent using parliamentary secretary’s letterhead, a no-no her office attributed to an administrative error.4. Gun sale. The Department of National Defene mistakenly sold a transmitter for a gatling gun in an online auction, and was eventually forced to pay the buyer $4,500 for its return.
5. Spitzer. Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is attempting a political comeback as comptroller of New York City, a position that would see him oversee municipal finances.6. Great Leap Liu. The Chinese minister lauded for building a bullet train network was handed a suspended death sentence for stealing millions of dollars, owning hundreds of homes, and keeping a harem of mistresses.