Canada Extends Anti-Isis Mission By 2 Years

Canadian troops will stay in Iraq for the next two years and expand their “advise and assist” role by training other local security forces, the Liberal government announced Thursday.

To this point, the roughly 200 Canadian special forces trainers in Iraq have concentrated their attention on teaching Kurdish peshmerga fighters the finer points of combat. But Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement the extension to March 31, 2019 will allow the training of “new potential partners within the Iraqi security forces.”

The military is also adding a C-130J Hercules transport plane to the mission list, presumably to move troops and equipment around the country. The former Conservative government was very deliberate when it chose in 2014 to link Canada’s training in Iraq with the Kurds, who occupy a semi-autonomous region in the north.

The U.S. led the rebuilding of Iraqi security forces, which were riven by sectarian strife and melted away in the face of the ferocious advance by smaller Islamic State forces three years ago. The Kurds have a long-standing request for Canadian trainers to instruct them in counter-insurgency warfare, which is what they expect to face once the conventional battle for Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, ends some time in the next few months.

The training Canadian special forces have provided to the Kurds thus far involves traditional combat skills, not the intelligence-driven shadow warfare that characterized the decade-long combat commitment in Afghanistan. Most military planners, including many at the Pentagon, expect ISIS to revert to a guerrilla war once it has been driven out of Mosul.

Precisely who and what kind of training will take place in this new phase of the mission was not made clear in the government press release on Wednesday. Sajjan is at a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels.

“Our new defence policy has made it very clear that Canada is ready and willing to do its part for the global community,” Sajjan said in the statement.

“This includes confronting security issues that threaten our shores and those of our allies and partners. We must continue working with the global coalition against Daesh and to address the security challenges which confront Iraq, Syria and the region.”

There is extensive debate over combat versus non-combat role that the Canadian forces will be partaking in this. The extension comes as debates continue over whether Canada is actually involved in active combat in Northern Iraq. This was after a Canadian Special forces sniper shot an ISIS fighter from a record 3,540 meters–the longest confirmed kill shot in military history.

The country’s top military commander, Gen. Jonathan Vance, said he is “extremely proud” of the military’s accomplishments in the region.

“I am confident these additional authorities will help u be more agile and flexible as we respond to the needs of our allies and partners,” he said, also in a statement. Iraqi security forces and Kurdish peshmerga fighters are still involved in the battle to retake Mosul from deeply entrenched ISIS fighters.

Canadian and allied special forces soldiers are providing not only advice, but covering fire–something which prompted fresh political debate in Canada about whether the country is actually involved in a combat mission.

Canadians To Expect Erratic Summer Weather

The lack of a clear El Niño or La Niña out in the Pacific Ocean means weather patterns across much of Canada are likely to remain changeable and active for much of the summer, top meteorologists are forecasting.

The Weather Network released its summer forecast Tuesday, and chief meteorologist Chris Scott said it may feel like being on a teeter-totter.

“When you’re going down, before you reach the bottom, someone jumps on the other side and you’re jerked right back up again,” he said. “That’s what our weather patterns are going through. They’re getting kind of jerked around by the overall patterns in the Pacific Ocean with El Niño.”

CBC Meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe agrees that while most long-range outlooks are pointing towards a warmer than normal summer for B.C., there is still some uncertainty in the forecasts because of the uncertainty in the Pacific.

“When we don’t have a strong climate phenomenon in place like  El Niño or La Niña, we don’t have as many clues to go on about what the summer will hold — which is why we are watching the temperatures in the equatorial Pacific closely to see if an El Nino is in the cards,” she said.

“While signs are still pointing towards a building El Niño this summer — which typically means hot and dry for Western Canada — it’s not guaranteed yet,” said Wagstaffe

“Pacific Ocean temperatures are not running quite as high as our 2015 summer, so overall conditions might not be as hot as our record year. But drought and wildfire concerns are ramping up with the long range forecasts.” Scott agrees that while British Columbia has had a cool spring, that should turn around for summer and it’ll end up being a little warmer than average — though he also notes that it shouldn’t be excessively hot like 2014 and 2015.

Scott predicts precipitation-wise, the region should get the average amount of rain — which is to say, not a ton — but that could also present an issue for forest fires.

And since much of the rainfall in the summer comes from scattered showers and localized thunderstorms, some areas will receive heavy rain at times while a few kilometers away there could be none.

In the Prairies, temperatures will vary by region. Scott said Alberta could get some of the same warm temperatures as British Columbia, but the eastern Prairies can expect it to be cooler than average. And while there may be a few dry pockets, meteorologists aren’t predicting any prolonged droughts.

In the North, Scott said the Yukon can look forward to a warmer than normal summer.  Much of the Northwest Territories will see near normal temperatures, but southern Nunavut should expect a cooler season than usual. Scott said it won’t be as hot or dry in Central Canada as last summer.

“We will be on that battle ground, between warm to the south — and hot, humid weather at times — and cool to the north,” he said. “We’re painting in much of northern Ontario with below normal temperatures, most of southern Ontario with near-normal and just a little bit of southern Quebec at above-normal.”

“Versus last summer, I wouldn’t say a cooler summer — let’s just say not as hot,” he said, adding there won’t be quite as many days above 30 C as there were in Toronto last year.

In terms of precipitation, he said it may be a little bit above normal, though the regions affected by flooding in the spring likely won’t have to worry about further issues in the summer.

Meanwhile, Scott said the southern parts of the Maritimes will be a little bit above normal temperature-wise.

But he added that in Newfoundland and Labrador, it may be chillier than average whenever there’s a wind coming off of the ocean, which is cooler this year than it usually is.

Famous Canadian-Born Male Actors

Continuing last month’s trend, we’ll be continuing our list of famous actors from Canada. Today, we’ll be exploring the male side of the gender spectrum!

Dan Aykroyd

Arguably one of the well-beloved pop culture icons of our time, Daniel Edward “Dan” Aykroyd was born on Canada Day! That’s right. He was born on July 1, 1952 at Ottawa General Hospital in Ottawa Ontario, Canada.

One of the fun facts about him is that he was born with syndactyly or webbed toes. He’s held so many roles that are well-known like Beldar, the patriarch of the Coneheads family. He is well-known for all his impersonations during his stint on Saturday Night Live. One of his best-received performances was in Trading Places, the 1983 comedy where he co-starred with Eddie Murphy and Jaime Lee Curtis.

Will Arnett

William Emerson “Will” Arnett was born on May 4, 1970 in Toronto, Ontario. He took theatre classes at the Tarragon Theatre. He started auditioning for commercials in Toronto as encouraged by his mother who knew his love for acting. In 1990, he moved to New York City to study acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.

He landed the role of George Oscar “Gob” Bluth in the Fox comedy series, Arrested Development where he earned an Emmy nod. His exposure in Arrested Development ushered in more roles which earned him more popularity.

Ryan Reynolds

Born on October 23, 1978 as Ryan Rodney Reynolds in Vancouver, British Columbia. He’s one of the more easily recognized of late because of his role as the foul-mouthed mercenary Deadpool. A majority of his roles were in the genre of comedy but he made the switch into action through the character Hannibal King in the 2004 film Blade: Trinity.

He has starred in numerous films and was even in Buried, a favored Spanish and American thriller that premiered at the Sundance film festival. He is presently married to actress Blake Lively and have two daughters together.

Ryan Gosling

Ryan Thomas Gosling was born on November 12, 1980 in London, Ontario. He had an early start with his stint at the Disney Channel’s Mickey Mouse Club. It was a job that he goes on to describe that was the two greatest years of his life.

It wasn’t until his role in The Believer (2011) that he was taken seriously as an actor and not just a performer. The Los Angeles Times praised his “electrifying and terrifyingly convincing” performance. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Festival. He captured the hearts of Nicholas Sparks fans everywhere when he was cast into the role of Noah Calhoun. His more recent success is the musical comedy La La Land where he earned a second Academy Award for Best Actor nomination.

His fans are eagerly seeing what role he’ll play in the sequel to Blade Runner.

Seth Rogen

Seth Aaron Rogen was born on April 15, 1982 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Arguably one of the more multi-talented celebrities, he is an actor, filmmaker, and comedian.  He is best known for his comedic roles in films like Knocked Up! and This Is The End.

Rogen co-wrote the rough draft of the teen comedy Superbad with a childhood friend at the tender age of 13. He has enjoyed several successes as a writer. Rogen even received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for his work for Sacha Baron Cohen’s last season of Da Ali G Show in 2004. Other than enjoying commercial successes in his film roles, he is also an active philanthropist who engages in several charities.

Rogen is a member of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity Lambda Delta Chapter at The University of Vermont. He was initiated in April 2017 after his fourth visit to the campus for his Hilarity for Charity movement.


Actresses You May Not Know Were Canadian

Canada is a diverse country that’s rich in different cultures and ethnicity. With the base materials that make many great things, is it any wonder that many internationally famous personalities are Canadian?

Today, we list several actresses that you may not have known were Canadian!

Elisha Cuthbert

This blonde beauty captured many hearts all over the world when she hosted Popular Mechanics For Kids. She then went on to conquer more hearts as Megan in the show Are You Afraid of the Dark? Later on, she took up the role of Kim Bauer in the highly popular show 24.

She was born Elisha Ann Cuthbert on November 30, 1982 in Calgary, Alberta. She grew up in Greenfield Park, Quebec. She has been quite vocal for her love of paintng and Ice Hockey. In 2013, she married Dion Phaneuf.

Ellen Page

Ellen Grace Pilpotts-Page was born on February 21, 1987 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She started her acting career at the tender age of 10 for the CBC television movie Pit Pony. She garnered international attention when she starred in the movie Hard Candy in 2005 opposite Patrick Wilson.

Ellen Page is one of the most celebrated personalities due to her social activism. As such she was included as part of The Advocate’s annual 40 Under 40 list.

Cobie Smulders

Jacoba Francisca Maria “Cobie” Smulders was born on April 3, 1982. She was born at Vancouver, British Columbia. Interestingly, she had wanted to be a marine biologist when she was younger. She is best known in her role of Robin Scherbatsky in the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother.

Her other international breakout role is Maria Hill of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For that role, she underwent training from a Los Angeles SWAT team trainer in order to handle guns properly.

Anna Paquin

Anna Helene Paquin was born on July 24, 1982 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She caught international attention in her role in The Piano which she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at the age of 11. In 2000, she took up the role of Rogue, one of the most beloved mutants in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

She married her True Blood co-star Stephen Moyer in 2010 and have two children together.

Nina Dobrev

Nikolina Konstantinova Dobreva was born on January 9, 1989. She is famously known for her role as Elena Gilbert in The CW’s supernatural drama series The Vampire Diaries. She received critical acclaim with her work as Elena and Katherine. The series recently wrapped up. She is slotted to have roles in the upcoming movie Flatliners.

Tricia Helfer

Tricia Janine Helfer was born on Aprill 11, 1974 in Donalda, ALberta. She is reportedly of German, English, Swedish, and Norwegian descent. She is best known for her role as Number Six in the series revival of Battlestar Galactica.

Tricia has four artificial discs in her back and two in her neck–this was because of an incident where a piece of luggage was dropped on her head while on a commercial liner. She has another two in her lower back which is a result of a few mishaps while doing her own stunts. She is quite active in various charities and causes.

Canadian Food You Seriously Need To Try

Today, we’re going back into the discussion of food. Why not? Everyone loves to eat and some would even say they live to eat. If you’re still wondering why Canada is worth visiting, we’re taking the route that hits you right in the belly. If these lovely items don’t whet your appetite, I’m not sure you’re still alive.

With that said, let’s begin!

1.) Poutine

©The Food Network

Arguably, one of the best known items that hail from Canadian cuisine. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who has ever had this dish to not salivate at the mere mention of it. Poutine, for the unfortunate one’s who have never had it, is the miracle combination of french fries, cheese curd, and brown gravy.

If that’s not enough for you, feel free to add a sprinkling of meat like bacon on top. Anything goes!

2.) Montreal-Style Bagels

©The Food Network

Notably smaller than its New York sibling, the Montreal-style bagel makes up for it by being sweeter and denser. Montreal-style bagels are always baked in a wood-fired oven. There are two popular variants: Black-Seed (poppy) or White-Seed (sesame).

Another claim to fame is that this is the only style of bagel known to have ventured into space. Astronaut Gregory Chamitoff took three bags of sesame bagels with him.

3.) Nanaimo Bar

©The Food Network Canada

A dessert item of Canadian origin that gained a massive following in the North American market, it continues to seduce new worshipers each day. One of the more easy to make “no bake” desserts it is comprised of three layers. The base being a wafer crums, the middle layer a custard flavored butter icing, the top layer being melted chocolate.

Several varieties of this dessert exist today with different crumb bases and icing flavors. The more popular ones are mint, peanut butter, coconut, mocha, and matcha.

4.) Tortière

©JBean Cuisine

One of the more heftier items on this list, tortière is a deep dish meat pie that originates from Quebec. The primary ingredients of the pie are finely diced pork, beef, or veal. Often, wild game is also used to introduce new flavors to the traditional pie. Of course the meat isn’t solely comprised of meat–locals also add potatoes or even greens to the pie.

The great thing about this pie is that there is no one correct filling. Much like Cacciatore of Italy, the filling is what is locally available. For example, in the more coastal areas of Canada, tortière is made with salmon and other seafood.

5.) Saskatoon Berry Pie


A sweet treat for anyone! Saskatoons are the adorably purplish-blue berries. They look quite similar to blueberries with a few variations in size and shade. In the form of a traditional pie, the Saskatoon Berry Pie is often served warm or chilled–either one always perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

This pie has been a staple of Western Canada for over a hundred years. Aren’t we lucky they decided to share it with us?