Eye On Defence

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...
Canada frets while U.S. and Britain acquire F-35 fighters
Eye On Defence

Canada frets while U.S. and Britain acquire F-35 fighters

The saga of Canada’s search for a new fighter aircraft to replace the CF-188 (known as the CF-18) continued last fall when, in September, the United States granted permission to Canada to acquire 25 F-18s from the Royal Australian Air Force. U.S. permission was needed because the aircraft were built in the United States and their transfer to Canada involves U.S. technology, even though that technology is 30 years old. The jets will be based at Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake in Alberta. They will supplement the 75 or so CF-18s that Canada is still flying from its first purchase in the 1980s and keep the air force flying until the entire CF-18 fleet is replaced in the mid-2020s. The timing was ironic. In the week that permission was granted, Britain’s Royal Navy began conducting test take...
Scattering Canada’s  armed forces
Eye On Defence

Scattering Canada’s armed forces

The Canadian military seems to be spread all over these days. During its deployment in Afghanistan, most of Canada’s non-North American military effort, especially that of the army, was focused almost exclusively on that mission. That was in keeping with the views of then Chief of the Defence Staff Rick Hillier—and apparently shared by Prime Minister Paul Martin and Defence Minister Bill Graham—that Canada should no longer send small deployments to different trouble spots in the world. Instead, Canada would concentrate a large force (for Canada) in one place to gain the most political influence possible.  That place, of course, was the province of Kandahar. It will be up to the historians and political scientists to show, over time, whether there was any merit to that approach. The cur...

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