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Cablegate: Canada Still Mulling Arf Disaster Relief Exercise

VZCZCXRO3380
PP RUEHDT RUEHGA RUEHHA RUEHMT RUEHPB RUEHQU RUEHVC
DE RUEHOT #1503 3362158
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 012158Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY OTTAWA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8789
INFO RUCNCAN/ALL CANADIAN POSTS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI PRIORITY

UNCLAS OTTAWA 001503

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MARR MOPS EAID ARF CA
SUBJECT: CANADA STILL MULLING ARF DISASTER RELIEF EXERCISE
PARTICIPATION

REF: STATE 122937

1. (SBU) According to Department of Foreign Affairs and
International Trade (DFAIT) Asia Pacific security policy
advisor Jean-Francois Lacasse, Canada is still consulting
internally on how it can best match its interest in
participating in the May 2009 Asean Regional Forum disaster
relief exercise with Canada's "scarce operational resources."
Lacasse said Department of National Defence (DND) colleagues
are still deciding whether it is operationally possible for
Canadian forces to participate in the Voluntary Demonstration
of Response (VDR) and, if so, what types of skills they could
bring to the exercise. Lacasse noted that DND colleagues
tell him the "intense" pre-planning exercises, outlined in
reftel, also factor into their calculations of the resources
implications of participation. Lacasse added that DFAIT
disaster relief division director Leslie Norton and the
Canadian defence attache in Jakarta will attend the December
4-6 ARF Inter-Sessional Meeting (ISM) on Disaster Relief in
Banda Aceh, Indonesia, and both will be available for further
discussions at that time. Lacasse reiterated Canada's
interest in the VDR, but regretted that Canada may be limited
to an observer status given the intense operational tempo of
Canadian Forces in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

2. (SBU) Poloff made contact with the Philippine Embassy in
Ottawa, which was unaware of the VDR and had no instructions
for making representations to Canada. Post will nonetheless
continue to coordinate with the Philippine Embassy in seeking
to secure Canadian participation in the VDR.

3. (SBU) ARF point of contact in Ottawa is PolMilOff Brett
Mattei (alternate: Deputy Pol/C Kurt Vander Walde).

Visit Canada,s Economy and Environment Forum at
http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/can ada

WILKINS

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