Mark Collins – Canadian Election: Liberal Party’s Defence Platform: Some Tory Song, Just…

…a warmer and fuzzier approach.  More UN peacekeeping:

 

[p. 69]We will renew Canada’s commitment to peacekeeping operations

We will recommit to supporting international peace operations with the United Nations, and will make our specialized capabilities – from mobile medical teams to engineering support to aircraft that can carry supplies and personnel – available on a case-by-case basis.

To help the UN respond more quickly to emerging and escalating conflicts, we will provide well-trained personnel that can be quickly deployed, including mission commanders, staff officers, and headquarters units.

We will prioritize assistance for civilian police training operations, particularly Francophone officers, who are in great demand in French-speaking countries with peace operations.

We will lead an international effort to improve and expand the training of military and civilian personnel deployed on peace operations, and will insist that any peacekeepers involved in misconduct be held accountable by their own country and the United Nations…


But note no intention to commit infantry troop units, e.g. a battalion, to a mission.  Everything but ground-pounding shooters. Armed helicopters anyone [see: “
US-Backed UN “Killer Peacekeeping”, Part 2–and Canada?“]?

Then, same page:

 


We will maintain current National Defence spending levels, including current planned increases


Really same old song.  But:

 

[p. 70]…

We will not buy the F-35 stealth fighter-bomber

We will reduce the procurement budget for replacing the CF-18s, and will instead purchase one of the many, lower-priced options that better match Canada’s defence needs [and still get 65 new fighters? see “F-35 and Canadian Election: Liberals Loose With Fighter Costs“]…


And again back to the Tory song–do the Liberals not think the Conservatives have been trying to do this (same page)?

We will make investing in the Royal Canadian Navy a top priority [problem is that it’s no so simple actually to get the ships–see “The Incredible Shrinking RCN Canadian Surface Combatant Fleet, or…”]


Now see the final phrase here–just what the current government is using the Canadian Forces for; the not-so warm and fuzzy is well buried (same page, emphasis added):


We will develop the Canadian Armed Forces into an agile, responsive, and well-equipped military force that can effectively defend Canada and North America; provide support during natural disasters, humanitarian support missions, and peace operations; and offer international deterrence and combat capability


And then from the same hymn book that plays to voters of eastern European origin, especially Ukrainians:

[p. 71]…
We will remain fully committed to Canada’s existing military contributions in Central and Eastern Europe.

This includes Canada’s participation in NATO assurance measures in Central and Eastern Europe (Operation REASSURANCE [website here]) and the multinational training mission in Ukraine (Operation UNIFIER [website here])…


Oh, by the way, they will stop the RCAF’s bombing of ISIS.  So basically the Liberals’ plans is not to kill anyone right now (though leaving open the possibility for the future), ditch the F-35 and do rather more UN peacekeeping but of a very limited sort.  Otherwise steady as the Tories go, particularly magical financing for planned procurements.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

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