Mark Collins – Canadian Election: Conservatives’ Defence Platform–Bluster Not Substance, Micro, Micro

First note that the party dares not make mention of the new fighter for the RCAF.  Cowards.

Here are some selections from the self-congratulatory but largely empty verbiage; note the micro-pledges, how typical:

Supporting Canada’s military [hah!]

To ensure that the CAF can carry out its missions, we’ve:

Re-built the “core military capabilities” of the CAF following a decade of darkness under the Liberals. The CAF’s air transport, sovereignty surveillance [satellites all I can think of besides upgraded Auroras] and army combat capacities have all been strengthened [CRAP–the RCN has got no new ships in almost ten years and the RCAF no new planes since the C-17s and C-130Js early on (the not-fully capable, very late Cyclone choppers were ordered under the Liberals]…

A re-elected Conservative Government will continue to support and stand up for Canada’s military because they’re the ones who stand up for us. This support includes an $11.8 billion, ten-year increase [emphasis added, never never land] to the Department of National Defence’s budget [see here–that’s only $1.2 billion/year average] to ensure that Canada can continue to field a combat ready military to serve at home and abroad [see also: “Another Decade of Darkness for the Canadian Forces? Part 2“].

Missions abroad sometimes fall to Canada’s Special Operations Forces, who have the agility and adaptability to tackle any challenge, anywhere in the world. When duty calls, the CAF is always there for us and our allies, and our Special Operations Forces are the sharp end of the spear [SO WHY NO COMBAT IN IRAQI KURDISTAN?]…

To help the Special Operations Forces maintain their top operational capacity, a re-elected Conservative Government will expand their size, bolstering their ranks by nearly 35 percent by 2022 [emphasis added, more never never land]…

…to ensure the Reserves have the numbers necessary to carry out the many duties asked of them, a re-elected Conservative Government will increase the number of reservists by 15 percent, bringing the Reserves’ total strength to 30,000 in the next four years [now that will be easy to check]…

If re-elected, we’ll honour Quebec’s historic and present-day contributions to the Canadian Armed Forces by re-establishing Royal Military College Saint-Jean as a full, degree-granting post-secondary institution similar to RMC in Kingston. We’ll work with the Government of Quebec to fulfill this promise [micro-pandering to la Belle Province, no demonstrated need]…

If re-elected, we’ll…[be] rebuilding and expanding Royal Canadian Navy reserve division base HMCS Discovery in Vancouver, positioning it to become a major Maritime joint operations centre for the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard. HMCS Discovery has a proud history with the RCN, and this construction will respect the current facility’s historic architecture [micro-pandering to B.C, need votes there too]…

…commercial vessels make more than 2,000 trips through the Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Seaway system every year. They generate a staggering $34 billion in economic activity in Canada and the United States, and support more than 200,000 good, stable jobs.

Given the vital importance of this system to our national economy, and the access it provides to our most populated areas as well as Canada’s industrial heartland, it’s imperative that the Royal Canadian Navy have a presence on these waters [why? marine security already being done, see below].

A re-elected Conservative Government will build on our commitment to our national security by commissioning four Royal Canadian Navy patrol vessels, to be dedicated to the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

This investment will allow for training on the Great Lakes and help with recruitment and retention in the Naval Reserve and Sea Cadets. Presently about half their membership is based in the Saint Lawrence- Great Lakes region, in Ontario and Quebec…

Micro! Micro!  Is the party/government not aware that the RCMP and Canadian Coast Guard already do security patrolling on these waters?  With new vessels and in cooperation with the US Coast Guard?  Are existing resources inadequate?  What is the need to get the RCN involved in this new role?  If more resources are needed why not just increase them for the RCMP and CCG?  What’s it all about, Stevie?

All helmet, no ammo.  A total manque de sérieux.  A disgraceful effort from a bunch that have been in office since February 2006 and certainly no reason to vote for them.  As for the other major parties:

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

NDP Defence Platform Leak: Real Boots for UN Peacekeeping (but do they know facts?)

All of which merely reflects the manque de sérieux about defence on the part of the Canadian public generally.

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


6 thoughts on “Mark Collins – Canadian Election: Conservatives’ Defence Platform–Bluster Not Substance, Micro, Micro”

    1. The prof on problems of increasing size of reserves:

      Mark Collins

  1. Very perceptive post at

    ‘Most politicians, there are a very few notable exceptions (and two of them are NDP), know little and care less about defence except as a prop for a photo-op. They don’t care because it (you, if it’s the case) is not an issue for about 98% of Canadians; polling says that defence spending is, consistently, ranked as about as popular as public spending on symphony orchestras and ballet-opera houses.

    In the civil service, as I understand it, the mantra is to spend just enough to prevent the Americans from deciding that we need to be defended, by them. The civil service strategists (and that’s where almost all of them reside) assume that the US will, under any imaginable circumstance, defend Canada against any threat from any other nation. The only threat to our precious sovereignty, therefore, is from the USA, itself. We need to “defend against (American) help” which would, de facto, infringe upon our sovereignty.

    The question is not, therefore: “how much should we do?” it is: “how little can we get away with doing?”‘,82898.msg1394237.html#msg1394237

    Mark Collins

  2. I did omit to mention that the Conservatives also bought Chinook helos for the RCAF:

    “Canadian Government: What Have You Done for the Forces Lately?‏”

    More on the CH-47F:

    Mark Collins

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