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Canadian Army Cancels Major Training Exercise to Prepare for COVID-19 Call Out

March 18, 2020 7:02 AM | The Canadian Press

By The Canadian Press

Jonathan Vance

Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance attends a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Latvian President Egils Levits in London on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. Vance says the Canadian military will take a hard look at how to respond to the skyrocketing number of requests for assistance as climate-related emergencies become bigger and more frequent. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

OTTAWA — The Canadian Army is cancelling one of its most important training exercises due to COVID-19.

Held each May at Canadian Forces Base Wainwright in Alberta, Exercise Maple Resolve is the Army’s largest annual training event, involving thousands of soldiers from not only Canada but also allied nations such as the United States, Britain, Australia and France.

The exercise includes artillery, armoured vehicles and aircraft to simulate a large-scale military operation and is considered essential for ensuring the army is ready to defend the country from attack or conduct a major overseas mission.

Canadian Army commander Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre says he is pulling the plug on the exercise this year because of COVID-19.

In a message posted on Twitter, Eyre acknowledges the potential impacts on the Army’s ability to fight in the short term, but says the move protects the force from the illness and ensures it is ready to respond should it be called upon.

The Royal Canadian Navy is also recalling two of its vessels from Africa, where they were supposed to have participated in two international exercises that have also been cancelled.

CP - The Canadian Press