The Department of National Defence is hosting consultations on Canada’s defence policies. Submit your input online until July 31st 2016. The input gathered from these consultations will inform a new policy to be released in 2017.
WHAT IS DEFENCE POLICY?
As an instrument of national power, the Canadian military is one tool among many that the Government of Canada may leverage to protect Canada and Canadians, advance national interests, and contribute to international peace and security. Defence policy is an expression of the priorities for our military and a broad description of how they will be carried out. Defence policy is guided by foreign policy, and military capabilities are often considered together with diplomatic engagement, humanitarian and development assistance, and other measures.
WHAT ARE THE COMPLEXITIES OF DEFENCE POLICY MAKING?
Defence policy is critical in guiding complex decision making within the Department of National Defence and the Canadian armed Forces (DND and the CAF). For example, it helps our military and civilian leadership plan so that the CAF are equipped, trained, and supported for the kinds of operations they may be called upon to undertake. Defence policy should therefore identify the roles and tasks the military will be expected to carry out.
Defence policy is also integral to investment planning, not only to ensure DND and the CAF have the resources required to meet stated goals, but also to ensure that public funds are managed in a responsible manner. Canadians deserve to understand the costs of defence and how that money is spent.
OUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO GLOBAL PEACE AND SECURITY
Canada has a strong interest in contributing to global peace and security given our geography, our reliance on international trade, our international treaty obligations, and our commitment to projecting Canadian values. We are also keenly aware that our national security is closely connected to international security. The CAF contribute to international peace and security in a variety of ways. Recent and current examples include: contributing to combat operations in Afghanistan; conducting air operations, training, and intelligence gathering operations against ISIL in Iraq; providing combat-capable forces to coalition efforts in regional security operations such as NATO assurance measures in Central and Eastern Europe; contributing to peace-support and stabilization operations, with the UN or other partners (participation in the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt); engaging in training, advisory, and capacity building operations (Operation UNIFIER in Ukraine and Operation IMPACT in Iraq); assisting in humanitarian operations (Haiti in 2010, Nepal earthquake in 2015); and helping with non-combatant evacuation operations (Lebanon in 2006) as needed.
WHY DO WE NEED THE INPUT OF CANADIANS?
It is important to remember the objective of the Department of National Defence, the protection of Canadians, the interests of Canada and the promotion of international peace and security. Canadians from coast to coast to coast have diverse and valuable opinions on the direction our defence policy should go. What areas have been neglected and need immediate attention? What roles should the Canadian Armed Forces play domestically, including in support of civilian authorities? How should Canada-United States cooperation on defence of North America evolve in the coming years? And should the size, structure, and composition for the Canadian Armed Forces change from what they are today?
These are all important questions we as a government need to ask and want the opinions of Canadians to better develop a cohesive defence policy. As such, I hope the residents of Brampton East will submit their ideas that our government should incorporate in the new defence policy.