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After SSE - Canada’s next defence policy

Brad Sallows

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People who like spending programmes require money to spend. A prosperous Canada produces greater government revenues. The US is still the big trading partner, and Canadian prosperity depends heavily on good trading relationships with the US. Actively antagonizing the US is obviously a foolish indulgence (which some past politicians have done, leaving Canada to underwrite the consequences of their fits), but so is passively allowing the US to become frustrated/disappointed/angry with Canada's posture. Left-leaning parties in Canada have the most to gain from a happy-happy-joy-joy relationship with the US, no matter how much it gets up their noses to do so.

Facing facts, the people in Ottawa know that Republicans are almost certain to win the House and highly likely to win the Senate this year; and in two year's time, more likely than not to win the presidency. Republicans more than Democrats take a dim view of defence free riders. Consequently...
 

Kirkhill

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This is a 2014 Canadian Senate report on Ballistic Missile Defence

I have no idea why the link displays a CBC reference but it links to a Senate BMD report on my computer. I may need help mods. [Mod edit: Sorry, it’s a glitch in the web page’s meta data that’s causing a ‘wonky’ unfurl.]

Anywho what took me was that the people signing on to the BMD program in 2014 was the entirety of NATO, including the French, Germans, Hungarians, Albanians and Bulgarians, the Japanese, South Koreans and Australians as well as the UK and the US.

Canada and the Kiwis, were odd men out, just as in the AUKUS case.

Canada out of step with the Five Eyes, the Quad and NATO...
 
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Kirkhill

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Globe and Mail Editorial (Konrad Yakabuski) on Continental Defence -

Royal Commission time...

Canada needs to put up or shut up on missile defence​

Konrad Yakabuski
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
PUBLISHED MAY 12, 2022
FOR SUBSCRIBERS
94 COMMENTS


Last August, then Liberal defence minister Harjit Sajjan and his U.S. counterpart Lloyd Austin issued a joint statement vowing to modernize the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) in the face of “a greater and more complex conventional missile threat.”
The statement, released on the eve of Canada’s 2021 federal election campaign, came amid signs of increasing frustration within U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration and at the Pentagon at the lack of seriousness with which Canada seemed to be taking its responsibilities for the continent’s shared defence. Not only had Canada put off buying new fighter jets for years, but we had long acknowledged the need to modernize NORAD without doing anything about it.

Alas, the federal election came and went, as most do, without much discussion about revamping Canada’s defence policy. Mr. Sajjan’s replacement as Defence Minister, Anita Anand, was handed the urgent task of restoring trust in a Department of National Defence plagued by sexual misconduct scandals. That alone ensured Ms. Anand would have her hands full at DND.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, however, has forced Canada to put up or shut up. We can no longer get away with merely paying lip service to doing our part to defend this continent and meeting our North Atlantic Treaty Organization obligations.
After finally conceding in March that Canada would purchase 88 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets – the same plane Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had dismissed as a lemon during the 2015 federal election campaign – Ottawa committed $8-billion in new defence spending over six years in last month’s federal budget. However, it put off the most expensive and politically sensitive spending decisions by promising “a swift defence policy review to equip Canada for a world that has become more dangerous.”

Ms. Anand has sent out conflicting signals about the timing of that review
. After initially promising to move rapidly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, she has increasingly hedged on that question. “Make no mistake,” Ms. Anand said in early March, “Canada will be at the table in the short term with a robust package to modernize NORAD.” A few days before the April 7 budget, she insisted: “In the coming months, we will be bringing forward a robust package of investments to bolster our continental defence in close co-operation with the United States.”
Yet, there is still no word on when that “swift” defence-policy review will begin or who will lead it. “We are deeply engaged in setting the parameters of the review and the timeline and the substantive aspects,” Ms. Anand said on Tuesday.
As for the long-promised NORAD modernization plan, she added: “We are taking the time to get it right. And that’s the way I do business, and that’s the way our government does business.”
Ms. Anand deserves the benefit of the doubt. The government she belongs to, not so much. One gets the distinct impression that Mr. Trudeau would be perfectly fine with ragging the puck if it means sparing himself tough decisions he would rather avoid.
And make no mistake: hard decisions await the Canadian government.


No credible plan to modernize NORAD – whose 1980s-era North Warning System is worryingly obsolete in the age of hypersonic missiles – can exclude Canada’s participation in the U.S. ballistic missile defence system. But many Liberals remain loath to go there, fearing that their party’s progressive image will take a hit if they do.
“We are certainly taking a full and comprehensive look at that question, as well as what it takes to defend the continent across the board,” Ms. Anand said on Tuesday. “We are leaving no stone unturned in this major review of continental defence.”
We’ll see about that. In the past, Mr. Trudeau has repeatedly rejected calls from U.S. and Canadian defence officials alike to reverse former prime minister Paul Martin’s 2005 decision not to participate in the U.S. ballistic missile defence system. That decision was a political cop-out that came amid a heated debate in this country after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. At the time, Mr. Martin’s minority Liberal government depended on New Democratic Party support to hold on to power, and since the NDP opposed joining the U.S. missile defence system, Mr. Martin caved, in defiance of two former Liberal defence ministers, Bill Graham and David Pratt.
“It seems to me we’re outside of an extraordinary complex and amazingly new form of a weapons system which will affect our security, but which we are foreign to decisions around its development,” Mr. Graham told the Senate committee on national security and defence in 2014. “I think that’s a dangerous place to be.”
Things have only gotten a lot more dangerous since then. The time for dithering is over.

 

Kirkhill

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And some thoughts on the near term Geopolitics that might influence the debate.


In fairness to Trudeau's government, something I am generally loathe to be, there is real justification for taking some time before making decisions on Foreign and Defence Policy at this moment. The situation is changing very rapidly and Canada can't do very much in the short term to influence events - beyond convening...

On the other hand I expect by the end of the summer a major shift in thinking will be required.
 

rmc_wannabe

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Globe and Mail Editorial (Konrad Yakabuski) on Continental Defence -

Royal Commission time...
Just once, I would love to see partisanship get the hell out of the way on a defense issue. Just once.

As much as we need to be thorough, we need to be decisive and quick.

As Ukraine unfortunately found out the hard way, time is a luxury we don't have when it comes to preparing our defenses.
 

Good2Golf

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Just once, I would love to see partisanship get the hell out of the way on a defense issue. Just once.

As much as we need to be thorough, we need to be decisive and quick.

As Ukraine unfortunately found out the hard way, time is a luxury we don't have when it comes to preparing our defenses.
I wouldn’t be overly upset if the US just advised Canada that it was using its Northern neighbour as a BMD buffer zone. We’re such pathetic freeloaders that we’d fully deserve it.
 

Kirkhill

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Just once, I would love to see partisanship get the hell out of the way on a defense issue. Just once.

As much as we need to be thorough, we need to be decisive and quick.

As Ukraine unfortunately found out the hard way, time is a luxury we don't have when it comes to preparing our defenses.
I agree on the partisanship, and think we should be moving to join AUKUS on subs as well as BMD and Continental Defence (3 different things). But the ground underfoot is changing rapidly. Now is not a great time for making predictions.
 

KevinB

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I wouldn’t be overly upset if the US just advised Canada that it was using its Northern neighbour as a BMD buffer zone. We’re such pathetic freeloaders that we’d fully deserve it.
I mean that is what we are doing currently.
Don’t want to be an impact area? Get on board and hit them further out…
 

daftandbarmy

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I wouldn’t be overly upset if the US just advised Canada that it was using its Northern neighbour as a BMD buffer zone. We’re such pathetic freeloaders that we’d fully deserve it.

Do You Even Lift Joe Biden GIF by Obama
 

FJAG

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In fairness to Trudeau's government, something I am generally loathe to be, there is real justification for taking some time before making decisions on Foreign and Defence Policy at this moment.
I agree with you but, not being fair to this government at all, my guess is that any time spent is more likely being spent to avoid making any decision at all with the hope that the whole thing will blow over with time.

🍻
 

Good2Golf

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I agree with you but, not being fair to this government at all, my guess is that any time spent is more likely being spent to avoid making any decision at all with the hope that the whole thing will blow over with time.

🍻
This government makes Paul Martin look like an instantaneous decision maker!
 

CBH99

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I agree on the partisanship, and think we should be moving to join AUKUS on subs as well as BMD and Continental Defence (3 different things). But the ground underfoot is changing rapidly. Now is not a great time for making predictions.
True, now may not be a great time for making decisions.

In the last 6 months, the happenings of international affairs has completely gone against any of my predictions in any way, shape, or form.


But regardless, some things will require us to be active on these 3 things.

BMD - whether it’s Russia, North Korea, or China, BMD matters

Continental Defense - being able to sense, locate & track, and prosecute targets close to home will be just as important as doing it overseas, even if the situation that requires it never materializes

NORAD - I think of this and the above as being one in the same.


The training, industrial, intelligence sharing, and breadth of interoperability benefits are too big of a missed opportunity for us to dither on.

My 0.02
 

Good2Golf

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I have a hard time believing that this government is doing anything even loosely related to Defence for any reason other than they were “told to” by the ‘losers’ of the War of 1812…
 

CBH99

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I have a hard time believing that this government is doing anything even loosely related to Defence for any reason other than they were “told to” by the ‘losers’ of the War of 1812…
I’m equally cynical, but with a different motive in mind also.

This government will do something loosely related to defence IF it makes the PM look good, also. Or to avoid him looking bad.

He has the speaking points down. He assures allies that Canadian troops will be deployed to this place and that, when/if the situation requires it.

He was just banking on the situation never actually requiring it.


Now that Ukraine vs Russia is happening, I think he’s realized just how bare the cupboard is. He can’t donate real heavy weapons, and it’s making him look bad…
 

Underway

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I agree on the partisanship, and think we should be moving to join AUKUS on subs....
This is nothing more than a FOMO reflex. AUKUS is a South Pacific strategic partnership. We have no skin in the game there. We could easily make our own deal with US and/or UK if necessary for our own interests, call it Arctic security or whatever.

As for continental defence I'll repeat myself. There is $15 billion in unspecified military spending in the budget. What's that for? Likely NORAD, continental defence spending and buying things to replace whatever we send to Ukraine.

As far as a defence policy update I think that it would be dumb to rush out and just start flinging money around. Ukraine is rewriting what is important in military tactics, strategy and technology as we speak. We can afford to wait a few months (say end of summer as @Kirkhill pointed out). I'm wondering if some projects will be accelerated in timeline based on this situation (GBAD or the MALE UAV program for example)
 
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