Defending Canadian Interests and Values
In two world wars, as well as in the fight against communism (Korea) and terrorism (Afghanistan), Canada has sacrificed greatly to secure the long peace we have enjoyed since 1945. That legacy is now under threat. Jihadist terrorist groups, based in the Middle East, Iran and Pakistan, are now larger than ever, threatening the stability of Afghanistan, Turkey, Europe and North Africa.
Since the financial crisis, Canada’s NATO allies have either reduced their defense capabilities (like the UK, France and others in Europe) or been unwilling to use them, as was the case with the US under President Obama. This reduced level of ambition by our key traditional allies has surrendered the initiative on Syria to Vladimir Putin, and opened the door to his invasion of Eastern Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, as well as cyber-attacks and propaganda campaigns against many democracies.
As a result, Canada may no longer be able to count on the security umbrella and defence of shared interests previously delivered by key allies. Without a much more significant investment in the safety of the global trading system, as well as the ability to defeat terrorists and other threats, Canada will be unable to fulfill its potential as a trading nation.
The defense of Canadian values depends on our global role and requires a strong military. The freedom, rule of law, democratic institutions and prosperity we enjoy here in Canada were secured by commitments and sacrifices made far from our shores. To protect Canada and to fulfil our potential, Canada requires expanded naval, amphibious, land and air capabilities for a new era of warfare, conflict and covert attack. We need to design and deliver armed forces that operate jointly; combine, train and partner well with friends, partners and allies; and are capable of projecting a full spectrum of military capability when necessary to protect Canada’s interests at home and abroad.
As Prime Minister of Canada I would:
(i) expand Canada’s surface combatant fleet on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to ensure the Royal Canadian Navy can sustain deployments to the Eastern Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas;
(ii) add one amphibious assault ship – with capabilities to support humanitarian, peace support or combat missions similar to those of the US America-class, Australian Canberra-class or French Mistral-class – to each of the Atlantic and Pacific fleets;
(iii) establish a Canadian Arctic fleet capable of operating continuously in all Arctic environments, with potential support bases at Churchill, Manitoba; Iqaluit, Nunavut; and Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories;
(iv) initiate planning for the replacement of Canada’s current submarines with a nuclear-powered fleet with full Arctic capability;
(v) increase the Canadian Army to a permanent force of 50,000;
(vi) enhance the size and capabilities of reserve regiments in all regions;
(vii) replace Canada’s current fighter jets with the best capability available to counter Russian and other threats to Canadian airspace;
(viii) develop next generation surveillance, refuelling and drone capabilities in Canada;
(ix) re-establish a Canadian space launch capability;
(x) ensure superior Canadian remote sensing, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance architecture and capabilities;
(xi) establish a space and cyber-defence command and capability with a full spectrum of operational capabilities to prevent and deter attacks;
(xii) join the NORAD continental Ballistic Missile Defence programme and form an integrated continental maritime command;
(xiii) acquire additional helicopter and fixed-wing ground attack capability;
(xiv) establish a standalone defence procurement agency modelled on the current Australian, French and/or Dutch equivalents; and
(xv) set the NATO target for defence spending of 2% of GDP as a medium-term objective for Canada.