By Tony Seed
of ships to their home ports after long voyages at sea are a traditional
and poignant affair, both for the families of the seamen and the ship's
owners and ship's agents looking to count their profits from the expedition.
But those of today's Canadian warships are made even more tearjerking
by embedded media journalists assembled by the information flacks of
the Department of National Defence exploiting the understandable concern
The demands of justifying the "war on terrorism" is such that the DND
is creating multiple "home ports" for the return of the warships from
the Arabian Gulf. The HMCS Fredericton, for instance, steamed
into the port of St. John's, Newfoundland on August 25 for what the
St. John's Telegram dutifully headlined on its front page a "Tearful
Homecoming". The home port of the frigate is actually Halifax, Nova
Scotia -- headquarters of Maritime Command -- hundreds of miles from
After the requisite interviews with some of the thirty concerned Newfoundland
families, HMCS Fredericton Commanding Officer Cmdr. Harry Harsch
said the Fredericton had not taken part in the actual war against
Iraq, yet had patrolled the Gulf of Oman, the Strait of Hormuz and the
southern Arabian Gulf.
No one asked him about the glaring contradiction, or precisely what
is our navy doing in the Arabian Sea thousands of miles away "defending"
Canada in the first place.
"Canada didn't participate in the war, as you know," Harsch tried to
explain. "We weren't part of the actual war, but supported it by patrolling
the area, investigating people coming in and out, and going on board
sometimes to check out the cargo and to make sure they had the proper
documentation and things.
"Still, the war was right there to the north of us so things were pretty
tense in the region."
As the Commander describes it, "supporting the war" which he equates
with ""Canada didn't participate in the war, as you know" pretty much
sounds like being "part of the actual war".
Defence Minister McCallum would be pleased with the double-talk. In
February he suggested that "those ships could be double-hatted for both
the war against terrorism and a war on Iraq." 
The HMCS Calgary has taken over as Canada's only navy ship currently
involved in Operation Apollo.
 "Canadian ships could do double-duty: McCallum," February 4, 2003.
CTV News.ca news staff