Sunday, October 26, 2014

Tax Treatment of RRSP's--a new note

In my blog post of two days ago--October 24th--I published a photo of submariner and musician Keith Nesbit, as well as my old friend Brooke Campbell, former UNTD.

In case readers want more information about Brooke's initiative regarding tax treatment of RRSP's, they can contact him via email at Brooke is working to try to get the government to lower the amount of RRSP's that must be declared after a certain age, particularly in light of poorer income returns in recent years.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Naval Association of Canada Conference 2014

Here is a snapshot taken at the Meet 'n' Greet at the Lord Elgin Hotel, Ottawa, the first week of October. The occasion was the start of the Naval Association of Canada's AGM and conference, the theme of which was Canada's Submarines: Past, Present and Future.

The two gentlemen pictured are fellows I've known for a long time.

Brooke Campbell, on the left, was a student at UBC and officer-cadet in the University Naval Training Division (UNTD) at HMCS Discovery. I got to know him well, as I was also at Disovery as a regular force RCN cadet.
Brooke went on to a very successful career in banking and investing, and is currently submitting material to the Canadian government about tax treatment of RRSP's.

On the right is Keith Nesbit, Captain RCN (Ret'd). I met Keith when we were both very junior submariners. That's where I stayed, as far as the submarine world is concerned (not counting recent literary efforts). Keith, however, went on to an illustrious career as a submarine CO and, since retirement from the RCN, as a professional keyboardist.
Keith's music can be accessed by contacting him directly:

And my recent submarine thriller, "Terror on the Alert", is in better bookstores everywhere, Amazon, and from my publisher.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Russian Submarine Activity?

So far there have been five reported sightings of a foreign submarine in Swedish waters in the last five days. Sweden has more-or-less said it is likely a Russian intruder. Needless to say the Russian defense ministry has denied that is the case, suggesting it might be a Dutch boat.

The Swedes are right to be concerned. With Mr. Putin's recent activity in the Crimea and Black Sea area, all his neighbours are nervous, and none more so than the Baltic states. Finland has been scrambling jets on a regular basis to respond to Russian incursions into their airspace.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are potential targets for Russian "protection" of Russian minorities, in the same way that similar minorities are currently being "protected" in Ukraine.

Sweden, like many western nations, is still enjoying the so-called peace dividend--the reduction in defense budgets following the supposed end of the Cold War. As a result, Sweden's ability to detect, track, and force to the surface an undersea intruder is severely compromised. The Swedes and their neighbours may have reason to rethink their priorities.

For a look at submarine operations in earlier Cold War years, have a look at "Terror on the Alert", my thriller set in the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. It's available at bookstores everywhere, or from Amazon or publisher TouchWood Editions.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mary's Wedding coming via Peninsula Productions

Some time before my novel "Soldier of the Horse" was published, an old navy friend who knew about my interest in the Canadian cavalry asked if I had seen Mary's Wedding. I hadn't. But shortly after that I attended Pacific Opera Victoria's operatic adaptation of the play; also in attendance were scarlet-jacketed members of Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians), adding pomp and ceremony to the occasion.

Now I've been asked to assist Peninsula Productions with their mounting of Stephen Massicotte's two-person play, to be staged November 11th to 15th. It promises to be a memorable show, with an amazingly-powerful script and two young actors playing Mary, her love Charlie, and Sergeant Flowerdew.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

"Terror on the Alert" in Ottawa

My recent visit to Ottawa included a stop at Perfect Books, 258A Elgin Street, to do an author appearance and book signing event. The folks at Perfect were terrific hosts, and as you can see from the photo at left there was at least one very pleased customer. In fact, there were quite a few, including old friends and shipmates.

A lot of the credit for the very successful event must go to various news outlets such as CBC Ottawa, and in particular to Alan Neal (at right) of "All in a Day" and his producer Caitlin Crockard. They started off my interview with a clip from John F. Kennedy's speech to the American people at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis--the time frame of "Terror on the Alert". Made me think back to where I was when I heard it live. (UBC, wondering if I'd be off to join the fleet.)

Other media interviews were ably conducted by Ed Hand ("Talk to the Hand") of 1130 News, and Nick Vandergagt ("Nick at Night") on CFRA.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Submarines on Many Minds

Here is the scene in the National Arts Centre, Ottawa, on October 2nd.

More than 200 attendees at the Naval Association of Canada's conference themed "Canada's submarines: past, present and future" heard authoritative speakers and took part in discussions.

Topics ranged from history (1914's CC1 and 2) through to the state of today's Victoria-class boats.
The afternoon session focussed on the topic of eventual replacements given today's tight federal budgets, as well as the experience of the Australian submarine program.