Eye On Defence

New ships raise issue of missile defence
Eye On Defence

New ships raise issue of missile defence

When it comes to Canadian defence policy, there is something poison about the words “missile defence.” The United States attempted to get Ottawa to sign on to its missile-defence program as far back as 2005 when then-prime minister Paul Martin turned the U.S. away after several months of a rancorous debate in Canada. The government of Stephen Harper, which followed, never publicly attempted to join the U.S. missile-defence program. The current government of Justin Trudeau decided not to join the program when the U.S. again attempted to enlist Canada in 2017. Now the question of whether Canada will join the U.S.—and other NATO partners—in mounting a missile-defence program is becoming more pressing as Irving Shipbuilding Inc. in Halifax prepares for the construction of 15 new Canadian S...
Growing use of submarines
Eye On Defence

Growing use of submarines

Whether we like it or not, many maritime countries are currently engaged in a submarine arms race that has ramped up considerably since the return of Russia to an offensive military posture at least a decade ago, the expansion and modernization of the Chinese navy, and the acquisition of modern diesel-electric submarines by nations as diverse as Australia and Chile. Some 40 nations currently operate more than 500 submarines; 141 of these are nuclear powered, the rest are conventional diesel-electric. North Korea is believed to have 72 subs, all conventionally powered. China has 58, with 18 nuclear powered. The United States has 70, all of which are nuclear powered and many are of the large “boomer” class that can launch missiles with ranges of at least 3,000 kilometres. Russia is belie...
Military justice system remains intact
Eye On Defence

Military justice system remains intact

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in a 5-2 judgment that Canada’s military justice system does not violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, especially with respect to trial by jury. The case arose out of a guilty verdict in the court martial of Master Corporal Raphael Beaudry, who was charged in December 2014 with sexual assault causing bodily harm. Beaudry appealed the verdict to the Court Martial Appeals Court, which found that serving members of the military should have the right under the Charter to elect trial by jury, as is the case with civilian prosecutions, instead of appearing in front of a court martial panel consisting of a military judge and five members of the armed forces. The case had the potential to throw the military justice system into...
Bringing the navy up to date
Eye On Defence

Bringing the navy up to date

A nation’s defence policy is inextricably tied to that nation’s willingness or ability to defend its sovereignty over its lands, waters and skies. In Canada’s case, the Royal Canadian Navy must play a crucial role in knowing who is operating in Canadian waters, what their intentions are, and whether they constitute a danger to Canada or Canadians. At present, the RCN is in a prolonged state of transition from the navy of the 1990s to the navy of the 21st century, but that transition is taking too long. This is due to the inaction of the federal government (both Liberal and Conservative) to ensure a smooth transition and to put up the money to purchase the equipment necessary to do the job. What, precisely, is that job? It is two-phased. In the first instance, the navy must patrol and, ...
Return to peacekeeping ends quietly
Eye On Defence

Return to peacekeeping ends quietly

The Canadian experiment in United Nations peacekeeping—the mission to Mali—is ending with a whimper, not a roar. The return to peacekeeping by Canada, long-promised by Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, will be over after a year, as Canada had promised. The three CH-147F Chinook heavy transport helicopters and five CH-146 Griffons to escort them, along with approximately 250 ground troops who accompanied them, are being brought home. The Liberals promised that Canada would return to blue helmet operations in the last federal election. To some Canadians who were not happy about using the Canadian Armed Forces as an actual military force fighting a war in Afghanistan, the promise seemed to point the way to the good old days. That was when a much-publicized contingent of Canadian troops would don ...
The golden days of peacekeeping have not returned
Eye On Defence

The golden days of peacekeeping have not returned

The Canadian contribution to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) officially began on Aug. 1, 2018. The mission consists of three Chinook helicopters equipped for medical evacuation as well as transport missions, five Griffon helicopters to fly escort for the bigger Chinooks and about 250 personnel to fly missions, provide ground support, and generally to guard the helicopters between missions. Last fall, Ottawa announced that there would be no extension to the mission, which is scheduled to end in July. Thus, Canada will have completed its first UN peacekeeping mission of any substance for a long time. The days are long gone when Canada had a substantial presence in UN peacekeeping operations. Many younger Canadians—too young to rememb...

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