Eye On Defence

How Canada’s defence money is spent
Eye On Defence

How Canada’s defence money is spent

In early July, Justin Trudeau’s government announced that in 2017 it will dispatch a “battle group” of 450 soldiers to command one of four North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) brigades that are being formed in the NATO countries that border Russia, particularly the Baltic states and Poland. The Canadian contingent will be going to Latvia for six months, to be replaced by other Canadian contingents, as necessary, for as long as NATO believes they are warranted. The other brigades will be commanded by Britain, the United States and Germany. The aim of the deployment is ostensibly to aid those countries in the event Russia takes military action against them. In fact, those brigades are not meant to defend anything as much as to provide a tripwire that, in the event of a Russian attack...
New twists in the fighter jets saga
Eye On Defence

New twists in the fighter jets saga

The unrolling saga of replacing Canada’s 1980s CF-188 fighter jets (known to almost everyone as the CF-18) gets more convoluted with each passing month. It is the current generation’s version of the sad story of the Sea King Maritime Helicopter replacement which actually began back in the 1980s and which is only now, almost four decades after the Sea King replacement was first mooted in Ottawa, coming to fruition with the arrival of Canada’s new Sikorsky helicopters. That is an old story and won’t be repeated here, but a review of the CF-18 replacement story reveals the many significant political mistakes which invariably derail almost all of Canada’s major procurement projects. The Liberal government of Jean Chretien joined the F-35 consortium in the late 1990s. That included a token pa...
A defence review for different times
Eye On Defence

A defence review for different times

The Liberal election platform last fall contained a pledge to conduct a full review of Canada’s defence requirements and as this column is being written the process is in full swing. A Department of National Defence (DND) document explains and poses a number of key questions that government says it wants Canadians to answer. It is available on the DND website. The Senate has been asked to study future Canadian peace support operations and the House of Commons has been given a mandate to review Canada’s role in the defence of North America. Four prominent Canadians have been appointed to advise the Minister in the process, and sessions have been scheduled in some major cities across the country at which presenters, DND officials and one or more of the committee of experts will be present. ...
The new world of  UN peacekeeping
Eye On Defence

The new world of UN peacekeeping

In late February, the Washington Post published an extensive story on “peacekeeper babies” in the Central African Republic. These are the children of sexual assaults perpetrated on local women by troops serving with the United Nations. These assaults are being investigated by the UN, which has uncovered other cases of malfeasance in other UN missions. The perpetrators have been described by one UN official from Gabon as “trash.” And although they most certainly do not represent the majority of peacekeepers spread around the world today, their existence should raise a note of caution to our government, which insists that Canada should re-enter the world of UN peacekeeping it largely left in the 1990s. Among a certain set of Canadian political leaders, defence commentators and peace-...
Eye on defence: LAVs and hard facts
Eye On Defence

Eye on defence: LAVs and hard facts

Few events in the world of Canadian defence policy bring out hand-wringing more than news that a Canadian company has successfully concluded a large arms deal with a foreign government, especially when that government is not deemed as pure as ours by the usual suspects. And that is just what happened very early in the year when the new federal government refused to block a sale concluded in early 2014 for $15 billion worth of Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs), built by General Dynamics Land Systems Canada, to the Saudi Arabian National Guard. The uproar was immediate: how could the new “peace-loving” Liberal government allow such an agreement to go forward? Didn’t they know that the Saudi National Guard’s main purpose is to protect the Saudi royal family from its own people? Doesn’t Saudi...
Time for a new defence White Paper
Eye On Defence

Time for a new defence White Paper

The defence platform of the newly elected Liberal government was not extensive and in part vague, as other parties’ election promises were. But there were two promises the Liberals made that require a closer look. The first of these was the promise that the Report on Transformation 2011, written by a team headed by Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie in 2010, would be implemented. The second was a pledge to strengthen Canada’s navy in a number of specific ways with new ships and specific missions. The transformation report was prepared and written just after Leslie had stepped down from command of the army and before he retired from the Canadian Armed Forces. He is now a Liberal MP, elected on Oct. 19. It is a very thorough document in which Leslie and his team examined military headquart...

Sign up today for a FREE download of Canada’s War Stories

Free e-book

An informative primer on Canada’s crucial role in the Normandy landing, June 6, 1944.