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OTTAWA—Josée Simard still recalls the spirit of playful mischief that ran through her daughter, Karine Blais, going back to grade school in rural Quebec. “Once we had a turtle at home. I was brushing my teeth, and she yelled, ’Mom, don’t brush your teeth with that brush!’” Simard said. It was the same one Blais was using to scrub the family’s pet reptile. “She was always playing tricks like that … The family’s little clown.” In subsequent years, Blais fused her light-hearted energy with a sense of community service and self-discipline, joining the Sea Cadets—a youth program sponsored by the navy—at age 12 and enlisting in the Canadian Armed Forces a month after her 18th birthday in 2006. Three years later, she would be killed when a roadside bomb struck the armoured vehicle she was driving in Afghanistan, not yet two weeks into her first tour of duty. Blais was …