Vancouver Island becomes a country on the brink of collapse with visiting Canadians scrambling to get home, in a Canadian Armed Forces exercise starting Monday.
Exercise Ready Angle 17, which runs to May 5, will see about 300 Canadian Forces members establish a headquarters on the Lower Mainland and undergo operations to get trapped Canadian citizens off stricken Vancouver Island to safety.
A major earthquake has knocked out communication on the Island and thousands of Canadians and allied non-Canadians are clamouring for help to get home. Complications, such as a car crash involving a Canadian and an Island local, are keeping tensions high.
Canadian Forces Spokesman Capt. Jeff Manney said few real citizens on Vancouver Island or the Lower Mainland will notice anything during the exercise.
The idea is to act in a way that would not attract attention or hostility. Most of the participants will be in civilian clothes and acting as unobtrusively as possible to not enflame the resentful locals of the exercise.
Ready Angle 17 officially began Monday with a signal to Kingston, Ont., and 300 people from the 1st Canadian Headquarters Division in Kingston. Those people have two days to get ready, packed and into aircraft to be deployed in B.C. on Wednesday.
Once in B.C., some of the 300 will establish a base on the mainland and others will be dispatched to Vancouver Island to help the fictitious frantic citizens.
Manney said Ready Angle, the exercise, began for Canada following the 2006 incursion of the Israeli army into Lebanon.
Canada was subsequently faced with frantic calls from nearly 14,000 Canadian citizens clamouring to leave Lebanon.
The incident impressed upon the Canadian government and the Canadian Forces the need to be ready to move in such situations.