Mark Collins – New Canadian Liberal Government’s Defence Policy–How Soft?


the Red Machine’s defence platform highlights From this platform document, with my comments in red:

  • “A Liberal government will maintain current National Defence spending levels, including current planned increases.”
  • “The Canada First Defence Strategy is underfunded and out of date. We will immediately begin an open and transparent review process to create a new Defence White Paper that will replace Harper’s failed Canada First Defence Strategy” (actually a decent idea, but let’s see how long that takes)
  • “As a key procurement priority, we will fast track and expand the capital renewal of the Royal Canadian Navy.” (we’ll see if this is the government wanting to buy ships quicker that’ll get ‘er done)
  • “We will not purchase the F-35 stealth fighter-bomber” (any plans to deal with the industrial fallout – Canadian companies not getting F-35 work – from pulling out of that?)
  • “We will implement the recommendations made in the Canadian Forces’ report on Transformation (will there be the appetite to cut @ the top levels?  more on that – including the report – here)
  • “We will not lapse military funding from year to year, and we will re-invest in building a leaner, more agile, better equipped military.”  (Any plans to allow other departments to do the same then?)
  • “We will end Canada’s combat mission in Iraq. (And what about those planes & folks not dropping bombs on Operation Impact?)  We will re-focus Canada’s military contribution in the region on the training of local forces (with who doing the training?), while providing more humanitarian support and immediately welcoming 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada.”
  • “We will remain firmly committed to operations REASSURANCE and UNIFER in Central and Eastern Europe.”  (with the potential for maybe moooooooooore?)
  • “A Liberal government will make new and significant investments to meet the sacred obligation that we have to our veterans” (At what total cost?  Or will this one be shaved back once the amount of money needed to treat vets properly becomes clear?)

A touch more, from the former Liberal defence critic…

We’ll see how well the platform plan survives in the face of the “contact” of what the books tell the Liberals when they take the reins.

And from me earlier:

F-35 and Canadian Election: Liberals Loose With Fighter Costs

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

Plus an excerpt from a piece by CGAI Fellow Prof. Steve Saideman; I fear he rather over-estimates the willingness of the new Liberal government to shed anyone’s blood:

5 Things Americans Need to Know About the New Canadian Prime Minister’s Foreign Policy

2. Canada will remain engaged, but probably opt to participate more in institutionalized multilateral efforts and less ad hoc coalitions of the willing. Trudeau has promised to pull out of the bombing missions in Iraq and Syria [see “New Liberal PM-Designate Trudeau Tells Obama RCAF to Stop Ant-ISIS Combat“], but the Liberals are not pacifists. The previous Liberal governments participated in every NATO mission, including Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya, and Afghanistan. That should not change. But there will be less enthusiasm for American-led efforts when not conducted via the United Nations or NATO. Expect more contributions to United Nations peacekeeping since a core part of the Liberal identity is as the people who invented peacekeeping [do read the piece at the link]. Trudeau will be far friendlier to Obama’s recent call for more effort in this area [my thought here]…

On verra.

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


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