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Volume 18, Number 21, May 19, 2004

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Canadian Troops in Afghanistan Get a Few Laughs

A talented and diverse group of Canadian artists are slated to entertain Canadian Forces members during the Op ATHENA Show Tour in Afghanistan scheduled from now to June. 

Masters of Ceremonies Joey Elias and Dominic Paquet, both Just For Laughs veterans, and singers Gabrielle Destroismaisons, Richard Petit, Matt Laurent, Ima and others will round out the show. Produced by Montreal-based Les Productions Phaneuf Inc., and co- ordinated by the Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency (CFPSA), the group will perform seven shows for the more than 2,000 CF members deployed on Op ATHENA. 

Elias, himself on his third show tour, says he can't wait to go. "The men and women of the CF deserve more entertainment than anybody, he says. What's more, he's thrilled to visit a part of the world few would ever get to see. "How many people call their travel agents to book a trip to Kabul? he asks.

CFPSA Manager Deployment Policies and Resources Mark Larose expects the tour to be an outstanding morale booster. "Many well-known Quebec artists are on this tour, he says. "I know the show will be outstanding and bring a piece of home to our CF members deployed on Op ATHENA. 

Show tour producer Gary Quadros of Phaneuf Productions, who has produced 15 Show Tours, says it's a win-win situation both for the performers and CF members. 

"For the past 15 years I have had the privilege of producing some of the most exciting variety shows featuring so many talented Canadian artists for our Canadian Forces personnel serving abroad, he explains. "I say privileged because having visited many of the bases around the world and witnessing the hard work that goes on every day at various locations including Christmas day - the reaction of the soldiers when a show tour comes to town beats any big arena crowd at home in Canada. 

In fact, he adds, "The show tour program is one of the most uplifting life experiences for the entertainers - not to mention the morale boosts that the various camps experience each time the show tours come rolling in.

CFPSA has a long tradition of providing show tours to Canadian Forces members serving overseas and in isolated locations. Over the course of a six-month rotation, a CF Show Tour plays an important part in major operations and is always a big morale booster, bringing a small piece of Canada to deployed members.

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Micheal J. O'Brien
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