I have one, simple message for all those Canadians who will vote on Monday:
(Thanks to Sharon Tracy for this image.)
It must be quite clear to all but the most obtuse TruAnon true believers that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is ethically, intellectually and morally unfit for any leadership role, no matter how junior, anywhere, ever.
Canada needs a strong, principled, free-enterprise and, above all, liberalLiberal Party that is ready and able to take over the reigns of government when, inevitably, a Conservative government gets old and stale and runs out of good ideas … which we all know will happen. The Liberal Party cannot become liberal again until it rediscovers its own traditional values. It cannot do that as long as Pierre Trudeau’s legacy, including his son, are part of the party’s foundation.
On Monday, please do the Liberal Party a favour, please do Canada a favour: send Justin Trudeau packing.
So, Steven Chase and Robert Fife say, in the Globe and Mail, that “The Canadian government was surprised this week by the announcement of a new security pact between the United States, Britain and Australia, one that excluded Canada and is aimed at confronting China’s growing military and political influence in the Indo-Pacific region, according to senior government officials … [and] … Three officials, representing Canada’s foreign affairs, intelligence and defence departments, told The Globe and Mail that Ottawa was not consulted about the pact, and had no idea the trilateral security announcement was coming until it was made on Wednesday by U.S. President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.“
Not only did our oldest and closest friends and allies kick Canada out of the “inner circle,” they didn’t even bother to tell us that the political and diplomatic kick in the arse was coming, although, the Globe journalists say, the Australian and British defence ministers gave Harjit Sajjan a brief “heads up” just minutes before the announcement. Mr Sajjan’s spokesman said that Canada “had been kept in the loop,” I call BS.
Vice Admiral Mark Norman , someone who knows a lot about what happens at the highest echelons of government in Ottawa said that “if Mr. Trudeau was fully briefed [on this new AUKUS pact, then] “he doesn’t understand what is going on internationally and he doesn’t understand what the significance of an arrangement like this is as it relates to international security.”” I don’t think he had heard a word about this until Minister Sajjan’s senior aids called the PCO and PMO on Wednesday afternoon.
One can easily imagine the conversations on Wednesday and Thursday in some of the corridors of power in Ottawa: “<Expletive> Biden <expletive> us!” said one senior official. “No,” said another, even more senior, “this has been coming for a long time. It’s a shock, but it really shouldn’t be a surprise.” “They screwed us,” said a third, “we’ve done nothing to deserve this. It’s just because we aren’t spending as much as Biden and Morrison want on the military and it’s because we’re not sending more ships to Asia, more often.” “No,” the second person said, “it’s because we decided, all of us, you and me, too, to not do whatever it took to arrest the changes in our national strategic outlook.” “How can you say that?” the first speaker said, “We all protested, I wrote a long brief explaining why we needed to step up …” “We’re still here,” the more senior official said. “We didn’t;t resign and go public as soon as we saw how things were shaping up. Almost no one did.” “No one listens when senior officials or admirals or generals resign,” said the third official, “it wouldn’t have done any good.” “You’re right,” the most senior official answered, “resignations are, normally, not news and they rarely change politicians’ minds… not, anyway, when they’re done one at a time. Back in 2016, when many us started to see, clearly, how things were going we should have resigned en masse ~ and not just we three, but dozens of us from PCO, from Foreign Affairs and from DND and the military. If the senior public service had rebelled, as it should when the government makes destructive policy choice against our advice, then there would have been enormous, even irresistible political pressure. But we didn’t, did we? We all stayed on and wrote a couple of arse-covering briefing notes and went about our business. We are as much to blame for this as are those dimwits in Trudeau’s cabinet and inner circle. We failed Canada.“
Vice Admiral Norman, the article explains, “said the agreement goes far beyond access to U.S. submarine technology … [which is Mr Trudeau’s lame excuse for why Canada was kicked out of the inner circle] … “This is about accessing both current and emerging technologies, from cyber and artificial intelligence, to acoustics and underwater warfare – a whole range of very important strategic capabilities.” Further, “Mr. Norman said Canada has many national interests in the Indo-Pacific – including trade, promoting the rule of law and democracy, and countering China’s aggressive behaviour and posturing – but he suspects close allies do not take Canadian defence commitments seriously … [and he added] … “I don’t think our allies think we are serious when it comes to defence. I think they have concerns not just about our defence expenditures, but also the extent to which our [international] commitments are both lasting and meaningful.” This has been evident since 2015. Justin Trudeau effectively campaigned on doing less in the world. Everyone knew this was coming ~ especially those who voted for the Liberal Party … it is what they wanted. It’s what Canada got.
Not many Canadians remember 1947. Even my memories are very, very hazy, but we had a national dream, back then. A million Canadians (out of a total population of just about 12 million) had just finished serving in our armed forces in one of the most brutal but also most necessary wars ever fought. They didn’t want to do it again, but, already, we were learning ~ see The Sources of Soviet Conduct ~ that we were facing a new, equally frightening threat. Just before George Kennan went public, but after President Harry Truman had shared the contents of his now-famous ‘Long Telegram’ (1946) with allied leaders, Canada’s Foreign Minister, Louis St Laurent gave the Gray Memorial Lecture at the University of Toronto. In it M. St Laurent said that “There is a … basic principle which I should like also to mention … That is willingness to accept international responsibilities. I know that there are many in this country who feel that in the past we have played too small a part in the development of international political organizations. The growth in this country of a sense of political responsibility on an international scale has perhaps been less rapid than some of us would like. It has nevertheless been a perceptible growth: and again and again on the major questions of participation in international organization, both in peace and war, we have taken our decision to be present. If there is one conclusion that our common experience has led us to accept, it is that security for this country lies in the development of a firm structure of international organization.” Louis St Laurent, in other words, said that Canada had to step up and do a full and fair share. He went farther; he said that “we must play a role in world affairs in keeping with the ideals and sacrifices of the young men of this University, and of this country, who went to war. However great or small that role may be, we must play it creditably. We must act with maturity and consistency, and with a sense of responsibility.“
That was the Canadian dream: to be a leader amongst the middle powers (like Australia and the Netherlands and South Korea are middle powers) and a faithful and reliable friend to our allies, even the great and powerful, as they led the West’s response to hostile, aggressive, Soviet communist expansion. It was Prime Minister St Laurent’s vision but it was shared by his great political foe Prime Minister Diefenbaker and almost every Canadian leader until …
… Pierre Trudeau took power. He, Trudeau, was not comfortable with the idea of Canada as a leader of the Western middle powers. He was even less comfortable with the idea of a US-led West. He was as comfortable with Mao Tzsetung and Fidel Castro as he was with Richard Nixon and Margaret Thatcher.
Pierre Trudeau wasn’t a communist, although he was, by and large, a philosophical Marxist, and he wasn’t;t a traitor. He was, however, also, NOT a liberal and he was very comfortable with quiteilliberal ideas and ideals. So, as it transpired, were many, perhaps, sadly, even most Canadians. Several prime ministers, including Brian Mulroney, Paul Martin and Stephen Harper …
… tried to return to Prime Minister St Laurent’s vision of Canada as a leader, but a whole host of issues, including, especially, Canadians’ unwillingness to shoulder the burdens of leadership, argued against that ever succeeding.
So, here we are. Canada wanted to be a leader. Canada was a leader. Then, beginning in about 1970, Canada began to shed the burdens of leadership. Today, in 2021, 50 years later, we have been told: “Sorry, Canada, but you’re no longer in the “club” with the real, serious countries. You, and New Zealand, can come to some of the meetings, but we, the serious countries with serious leaders and serious policies, will make the decisions. If, when, there is a major war you’ll be in … but we, the serious countries like America, Australia, Britain, India, Japan and South Korea, make all the major strategic decisions for you” … and, the US President might be saying to himself, quietly, “I’ll tell you, a bit later, about your phoney claims to having sovereignty over the North West Passage.“
Following on from yesterday, I see, in the Globe and Mail, that “The United States, United Kingdom and Australia are forging a new defence pact meant to contain the military might of China in the Indo-Pacific … and] … The pact, dubbed AUKUS after the three countries’ initials, does not include Canada, raising the prospect that Ottawa could miss out on intelligence-sharing between some of its closest allies … [and, further] … The deal will see the countries share more military technologies and information than they currently do, some of it related to artificial intelligence, quantum computing and cyber capabilities. AUKUS’s first project will be to build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines for Australia.“
Just take a look at those technologies ~ AI, quantum computing, cyber warfare ~ those are all areas vital to Canada’s security and prosperity and what are we focused on? Climate change and Québec’s latest attempts to make Canada into an illiberal state. China spews out more carbon in a week than Canada does in a year. China is aiming to displace America as the global guarantor of peace, security and trade. Do any of the dimwits in the Liberal government understand that? Why in hell is Prime Minister Trudeau attacking Alberta’s (relatively clean) oil industry rather than, for example, concentrating on making Canadian nuclear energy work for us?
A few days ago I said that Canada needs nuclear powered submarines to assert and protect our sovereignty in the waters we claim as our own. No one contradicted me. No one ever raises any serious, well-founded objections to nuclear submarines for Canada. It’s a no brainer. But, look at the last line in the quote above. Who is getting nuclear submarines? Australia … because it is a serious country with adult political leadership.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s regime has sidelines Canada. Ou strongest, most traditional allies have abandoned us. We have been sold out … to China.
I use that term “:sold out,” intentionally. I do NOT believe that Justin Trudeau is a traitor … for heaven’s sake, he’s not smart enough to betray anything. He’s barely able to memorize his lines. But a lot of people have invested a lot in China ~ the Desmarais family (of Power Corporation fame) and former Prime MinisterJean Chrétien and Bob Rae, Canada’s Ambassador to the UN, for example, are all closely tied together and even ore closely tied to the Canada-China trade file. I assert that the ‘China lobby’ in Canada is very, very powerful, very, very rich and extraordinarily well connected to Canada’s political leadership ~ Liberal and Conservative, alike. I further asset that it, not Justin Trudeau and Marc Garneau and the mandarins in Ottawa, drives Canada’s foreign, trade and fiscal policies. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is NOT a traitor … but he is puppet and people whose vital interests are centred on China, not Canada, pull the strings.
Why is Canada excluded from the AUKUS pact?
My guess is that Australia, Britain and the USA did not want to wait until after our election to make their announcement because they want to add Britain to the Asia-Pacific fold and they also want to help Britain to reform the G-7 by adding Australia, India and South Korea. They also, I suspect, do not want to deal with Prime Minister Trudeau on this issue because, quite simply, they do not believe that his Canada is, any longer, part of the US-led West. IF Canadians grow up an d reject Justin Trudeau ~ something the I believe will not happen next week ~ and then IF an O’Toole government shows that Canada is serious about the modern world ~ by e.g. getting tough on China ~ then Canada will be invited to join.
But, IF, as I expect, Canadians elect another Liberal government then I am certain that Canada will be pushed further and further to the margins, possibly pushed out of a new G-8 (I would not be surprised if Italy is also pushed out) and that the ‘Five Eyes’ will be rendered less effective while a new, much more important ‘Three Eyes’ group will emerge – the Australian Signals Directorate, Britains GCHQ and the American NSA.
There is a lot at stake on Monday. Until yesterday Canadians were not aware of how badly their country has slipped in status since 2015. Now we are. Our voltes must count. Any vote for any Liberal party candidate is a vote for Canada to become a colony of China.
This article in Politico really matters. It says that “President Joe Biden will announce a new working group with Britain and Australia to share advanced technologies in a thinly veiled bid to counter China, a White House official and a congressional staffer told POLITICO … [and] … The trio, which will be known by the acronym AUUKUS, will make it easier for the three countries to share information and know-how in key technological areas like artificial intelligence, cyber, underwater systems and long-range strike capabilities.“
It is now abundantly clear that the USA, inter alia, puts Justin Trudeau’s Canada in the same league as (anti-nuclear) New Zealand. Canada is no longer one fo the most trusted allies … Australia is; Britain is: India is; Japan is … Canada is NOT.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has, in six short years, moved Canada from one of America’s best friends to, de facto, a Chinese puppet state. He has done this with his own (and his many advisors’) eyes wide open. Canada, Justin Trudeau’s Canada is no longer a serious nation … perhaps we don’t really deserve to be. After all, we (almost 40% of the almost 70% who bothered to vote at all) elected him … then we did it again. Maybe the world is just concluding that we are not serious people who can be relied upon when the going gets tough.
Anyone who votes, in the forthcoming g election, for any Liberals Party candidate will be:
Voting for a party led by a fool; and
Voting to have Canada exiled to the “kids’ table” of International relations; and
This opinion piece by Jody Wilson-Raybould in the Globe and Mailhas landed like a bombshell in the last 10 days of the 2021 election campaign. Prime. Minister Justin Trudeau, she says, asked her to lie. “He made it clear,” she writes, “that everyone in his office was telling the truth and that I, and by extension Jessica Prince, my chief of staff, and others, were not. He told me I had not experienced what I said I did … [but] … I knew what he was really asking. What he was saying. In that moment, I knew he wanted me to lie – to attest that what had occurred had not occurred.“
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has, the Globe and Mail reports, predictably, I think, doubled down on his previous story, saying that “he did not want Jody Wilson-Raybould to lie about the SNC-Lavalin affair, as the former justice minister and attorney-general writes in her new book … [and adding, directly] … “I would never do that. I would never ask her that,” Mr. Trudeau said at a news conference in Mississauga. “That is simply not true.”“
It is up to Canadians to decide who to believe.
Personally, I cannot see why Ms Wilson-Raybould would lie; she has nothing to gain by lying and a lot to lose ~ she is, after all, a young woman with ambitions for a major, national, leadership role. I can, on the other and, understand why Justin Trudeau might lie … reflexively. He seems, to me, to have no real sense of the difference between the objective truth and the situation as might wish it was.
Tens of thousands of Canadians will have voted already, in two days of advanced poll operation. For many of them (20±% if the polls are to be believed) the fact, and I assert that it is a fact, repeatedly demonstrated for all of us to see, that Prime. Minister Trudeau is a congenital liar will make no difference … he’s not Erin O’Toole or Stephen Harper so that’s good enough for them. For many, many more, however I hope it will add some fuel to the fire which is burning in many Canadian hearts ~ a fire that says: Justin Trudeau is ethically, intellectually and morally unfit for any elected office, no matter how minor, anywhere, ever.
None of those initiatives served Canada’s interests but they were very reflective of Pierre Trudeau’s personal and idiosyncratic world-view.
No matter what is happening to the USA, it will remain, for another half century, at least, a major military power and it will remain committed to its own continental defence and it will expect Canada to do a fair share in that field, at least.
I expect that Europe will continue to be a priority for America as long as Vladimir Putin remains an adventurous opportunist or opportunistic adventurer, take your pick. I also expect that China will loom larger and larger as a factor in America’s strategic calculus.
America is finding new allies, especially in Asia. Australia, India, Japan (members, with the USA, of “The Quad’ ~ the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) and South Korea and even tiny Singapore are valued American allies in Asia. And Canada? Missing in action, as has become distressingly normal under the Trudeaus, père et fils.
To be a good ally and to be able to stand up for liberty and democracy Canada needs to be able to project hard, military power. In addition to the naval and air forces needed to assert our own sovereignty and help the USA defend the continent, Canada needs a “blue water navy,” one able to deploy into a remain in far distant seas. That naval force should be built around a a major warship that can carry and, when required, our ashore (against a host force) a smallish amphibious (light infantry) battle group ~ say 750 to 1,500 soldier and 75 to 150 vehicles ~ which will be sent ashore in a mix of helicopters, air-cushion vehicles and conventional landing craft. The ship Canada needs probably displays 20,000 to 30,00 tons. It may even be a converted cargo ship.
That ship ( I think there should be two such ships in service, each with a dedicated amphibious (light) infantry battalion, plus a third ship always undergoing repair or refit) is the foundation of a Canadian (global) Expeditionary Force. Current economic realities may argue for only two or even just one) but they (it) are in addition to the 25 to 30 or so combat ships that I believe the Royal Canadian Navy needs.
That fleet needs first rate, modern, 5th generation fighters to fly CAP (combat air patrol) over it and new modern long range patrol aircraft raft to support it and many, many Navy helicopters as organic parts of the fleet: Royal Canadian Navy helicopters, flown by Royal Canadian Navy aircrew and maintained by Royal Canadian Navy technicians.
The army component needs to be a light, amphibious infantry force. That is similar to the army force needed for the specialized role of ‘Defence of Canada.’ It, too, will need to be light, but airborne and air mobile rather than amphibious. In fact the bulk of Canada’s regular, professional army should be light infantry and supporting arms and services. There needs to be some, limited, ‘heavy” (armoured and mechanized) forces but their primary role should be to maintain skills and, above all, teach and support reserve force training.
Canada’s defence policy should have, as its “cornerstone” the Defence of Canada. The secondary goal should be to support allies ~ the US led West ~ in efforts to prevent a major war by contributing to an effective deterrent force which is clearly capable and ready to fight. Canada may need to be something of a niche player ~ light forces rather than the full range of combat forces ~ but it should be credible (combat ready and combat effective) in that role and it should be a reliable ally, too.
My news and social media feeds are full of outrage at the angry, foul-mouthed and semi-violent antics of a few individuals ~ mostly, it appears, supporters of Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party and, it also appears, somewhat organized, who are trying to disrupt Justin Trudeau’s campaign. Let me be very clear: people have an absolute right to attend public political events and to try to shout down candidates. These rallies are organized, by the candidates in the hopes of drawing a crows. They would really like to draw a crowd of happy, cheering supporters but they will settle for any crowd, even a crowd of angry hecklers if they can then manage to appear steadfast and courageous by standing up tp them. I believe that this is exactly what Prime. minister Trudeau’s campaign is doing: welcoming these angry demonstrators because they make their candidate appear to be under attack and, in standing form, to be noble, even brave.
The common narrative seems to be that these people are conservatives, of some sort. That narrative is:
Intended to help Prime Minister Trudeau and harm his Conservative opponents.
In fact, the people ~ many in the media ~ who propagate that false, partisan and simplistic narrative display only their own ignorance.
These angry demonstrators are NOT, in the main, conservatives of any sort; they are, especially not Canadian political Conservatives. The problem is that many, many people don’t know what a conservative is … nor do they know what a liberal is.
Conservative (always with a lower case ‘c’ ~ except when it is the first word in a sentence) is NOT the opposite of liberal. The opposite of conservative is progressive. The opposite of liberal is illiberal. Here is a graphic illustration of that fact:
I assert that most Canadians are somewhere near the centre of that graph, and so are most political parties ~ like this:
I believe that most Canadians are somewhat left of centre (progressive) and somewhat illiberal ~ they believe in the utility of governments. They are statists. The illiberal slant is, I believe, most pronounced in Québec and in large city centres. I believe that the prairies are the most liberal region of Canada.The relative sizes of the party blocks is based on very recent polling that says that the CPC has a 54% chance of forming a government while the LPC has only a 45% chance. Just for reference I have put my own personal opinion of my own political position on the graph, too.
This brings me to the issue of liberalism. and this article in The Economist. Liberals, like me and like The Economist, itself, it says “believe that people should be able to flourish whatever their sexuality or race. They share a suspicion of authority and entrenched interests. They believe in the desirability of change … [and] … the precise direction of progress is unknowable. It must be spontaneous and from the bottom up—and it depends on the separation of powers, so that nobody nor any group is able to exert lasting control … [and, further] … liberals believe in setting fair initial conditions and letting events unfold through competition—by, say, eliminating corporate monopolies, opening up guilds, radically reforming taxation and making education accessible with vouchers.”
One point where I diverge from The Economist, and this is the point that helps explain why I position myself (on the gr ah, above) where I do, is that The Economist says “Individuals, not just groups, must be treated fairly for society to flourish.” I agree, but I take exception to the idea implied by “not just groups.” The implication is that groups have rights. I fundamentally disagree with that idea. I believe that ALL rights belong to individuals. I reject the very notion of “group rights.” That means that I reject, for example, Canada’s constitutional guarantee of language rights. I agree that each person has freedom of conscience which includes the right to hold his or her religious views, however adios or just silly I might find them. But I also hold that churches (in the broadest sense meaning any and all organized religions) have no rights at all. Individual pastors and imans and rabbi and so on have aight to preach what they will, so long as they do not cite violence, etc, and others have equal rights to make counter arguments.
The Economist says, and I agree fully, that it’s hard to be a real liberal in this modern age because “Aspects of liberalism go against the grain of human nature. It requires you to defend your opponents’ right to speak, even when you know they are wrong. You must be willing to question your deepest beliefs. Businesses must not be sheltered from the gales of creative destruction. Your loved ones must advance on merit alone, even if all your instincts are to bend the rules for them. You must accept the victory of your enemies at the ballot box, even if you think they will bring the country to ruin … [and the authors add] … In short, it is hard work to be a genuine liberal.” But liberalism is what made the truly modern world possible. Illiberal; societies can copy some of the aspects of either liberalism or (successful) conservatism ~ which works quite well in some Asian (Confucian) countries, but illiberal, often autocratic societies lack the capacity to manage that “spontaneous” and “unknowable” change which is the hallmark of liber aloes. The illiberals want to control change, they want change to meet specific objectives.
This leads me back to our current general election. I think that the three main national political party leaders can be added to my chart, here:
I believe that Erin O’Toole an d Jagmwet Singh are both pretty much aligned with their parties and with the majority of Canadians. I think that Mr O’Toole is little more progressive and a bit more liberal than are many in his party and I suspect that Mr Singh is is a bit less progressive than his party base. Prime Minister Trudeau, in my opinion, is the least liberal prime minister I modern Canada history. I think that he is, essentially, the other side if the Donald J Trump coin: they are, in my opinion, again, both highly illiberal ~ Mr Trump is a regressive illiberal while Mr Trudeau claims to be a progressive but I believe that both are very illiberal and Mr Trudeau’s progressivism is, as one of his former parliamentary secretaries put it, “fake as fu_k.”
I believe, with The Economist, that liberalism is under attack from autocracies like China and illiberal politicians in the West like Donald Trump’s followers and I believe that liberalism is under threat, here in Canada, by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party.
I believe that the Liberal Party of Canada is a priceless national institution which is in dire need of reform. That reform, which is urgent, cannot begin until Justin Trudeau and many, many of his followers, have been tossed aside.
Erin O’Toole raised a few good points about defence policy in his platform. Specifically he said that a Conservative government would focus on:
Defending our Arctic sovereignty;
Being a trusted NATO Partner: Reinforcing the cornerstone of Canada’s defence policy;
Defending our partners in the Indo-Pacific; and
Investing in our Armed Forces and our economy
The other day, Justin Trudeau released his platform. As I predicted, he said even less than the Conservatives did about defence policy. In ½ of page 69 (out of 83) he promised to:
Work with the United States to modernize NORAD ~ a carbon copy of the Conservative promise;
Further strengthen Canada’s sovereignty in the Arctic ~ another copy of Erin O’Toole’s platform;
Expand Canada’s long and short-range strategic airlift capability ~this is a very good specific promise~ I wish I though he might keep it, I don’t;
Expand cooperation and assistance to partners, allies and international organizations ~ a near copy of the CPC’s platform points 3 and 4;
Remain a leading contributor to NATO operations ~ a lift from the Conservative’s 3rd point;
Extend Canada’s support to Ukraine ~ an easy promise to keep doing what we are doing, for a while;
Work with international partners to establish a NATO Centre of Excellence on Climate and Security in Canada ~ a sop for the climate change folks; and
Lead international efforts to establish a global coalition to respond to wildfires and other climate emergencies ~ another sop.
My guess is that a Liberal government would keep promise 6, for another year or so, anyway, and will actually send delegations to Brussels and other NATO capitals to discuss, over lavish dinners, points 7 and 8 but nothing but a few photo ops for ministers will come of it.
I want to focus on Mr O’Toole’s 5 points I think they make a bit more sense than do Justin Trudeau’s.
First I want Erin O’Toole to combine points 1 and 2. The best way to guarantee our sovereignty in the Arctic, even against American commercial interests, is by being a good NORAD partner AND by boosting our military presence in and over the Arctic, including in, over and under the Arctic Ocean.
Even if Xi Jinping and the Canadian gang of five (see Getting our aim right) are right and America is in irrevocable decline it will not be a sudden collapse. As Francis Fukuyama said, America “will remain a great power for many years” and it will be the guarantor of Canada’s sovereignty for those many years.
Second, I want Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives to rethink NATO as the cornerstone of Canada’s defence policy. NATO Matters but I think continental defence, including, above all, continental ballistic missile defence, should be the cornerstone of Canada’s security and defence policies. We should aim to defend Canada, first.
Surveillance and warning systems ~ terrestrial dial, underwater airborne and space based ~ to tells us what is going on on, under and above the land we clam as our own, the maritime approaches to it and the airspace over both;
Military forces (aircraft, ships an d troops, to identify, inter kept and decals wth any forces that enter or approach our territory;
Military (air, naval and land) to contribute to continental defence and, especially, to the defence of the American strategic deterrent;
Naval, land a nd air forces to patrol our territory, the maritime approaches to it and the airspace over both; and
Both the command and control superstructure and logistical base to manage and support it all.
I have five, somewhat controversial ideas for the Defence of North America task:
First, Canada should join the American ballistic missile defence system, making it a continental endeavour. This is important for two reasons ~
America, we have been told by a most trusted source, will not, automatically extend coverage to protect Canada. It is likely that Vancouver, Windsor and St Catherines, given their proximity to major American cities, (Seattle, Detroit and Buffalo) will be protected, but Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, Saint John and Halifax? Not so much, and
Second, we need nuclear powered submarines to patrol under the ice in the waters we claim as our own. Six countries, America, Britain, China, France, India and Russia already have nuclear powered submarines; there is no reason why Canada should not or cannot join the club. We cannot, likely, build a good nuclear powered submarine here, in a Canadian yard, at a reasonable cost but there are reputable companies in allied countries that can build them for us;
Third, we need to modernize out total commitment to NORAD ~
New terrestrial radars to augment or replace the North Warning System,
Space based sensors,
Airborne Early Warning aircraft,
A new, 5th generations jet fighter, and
Command, control and maintenance systems to manage and support them all;
I have good genes … my Mother and several aunts and uncles lived into and then beyond their 90s. Thanks to a few good habits and modern medical care, I can (reasonably) hope to see my 100th birthday … in just over 20 years.
I also expect (I guess I very reasonably fear) that there will be a major war involving the great powers before I celebrate my 100th birthday.
I don’t mean more of what the outstanding American author, historian and strategic policy analyst Max Boot called “The Savage Wars of Peace,” I mean a large scale war ~ one likely to see the use of at least some chemical and even nuclear weapons ~ involving many, likely most of the great powers.
I suspect that none of the world’s leaders wants such a war; I expect that it will start because of miscalculation. I believe that the Chinese are the people least likely to miscalculate and that the Americans are also unlikely to make the kinds of miscalculation that lead to all-out war. Four of the ‘leaders‘ that I suspect are more likely to miscalculate and plunge the world into a full scale world war are:
Happily, for us all, a great many very reputable scholars and analysts say that I am wrong. They suggest that while the conditions that I fear could lead to the sorts of miscalculations that I anticipate are very real, we, America, China, Iran, North Korea and Russia, amongst others, can and will find ways to coexist in something reasonable close to peace, as the American-led West and the Soviet-led East did for two generations between the late 1940s and the early 1990s.
Unfortunately, for all of us, about that same number of expert strategic analysts and scholars agree with me ~ they think that there is something called the Thucydides Trap which says that when a great power, say the USA, is confronted by a rising power, say China, then war is the most likely outcome. History appears to be on their side.
That ought to be enough to worry the leaders of every nation, including Canada but, I think, it is not the most pressing strategic problem facing Canada. In addition to being ready to try to help to prevent a major war ~ and being prepared to be part of the winning side if prevention fails ~ I think that Canada faces (but tries to ignore) and existential problem: maintaining our sovereignty over the lands that we claim as our own and the waters contiguous to them and the airspace over both.
But no reasonable person thinks that China or Iran or North Korea is going to attack Canada. First, our American friends would not tolerate a foreign power taking over Canada … which many Americans regard as a client state. But many very reasonable people can see major threats to Canada’s claimed sovereignty over, at least, its territorial waters and the seabed under them by major powers like China and Russia and, perhaps above all, by the United States of America.
The other day, I saw this article in the Globe and Mail. The authors are anything but fools. They are all experienced and some are well recognized experts in foreign policy and grand strategy. (I have had the please of meeting two of the authors many years ago. I’m sure neither will remember; in each case I was near the tail end of the entourage of an important person ~ the only people father back in the line were those with jobs like open the door and call for the car.) Anyway, one fo the things I noticed was that the authors (I’ll call them the “gang of five” a bit later) …
… former Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworth, Former Premier of Québec Jean Charest, former Ambassador (multiple posts) Jeremy Kinsman, Ben Rowswell who is President of the Canadian International Council and Jennifer Welsh who is a noted scholar and former foreign policy advisor to Prime Minisiter Paul Martin … managed to avoid saying even a word about Canada’s defences. That’s not surprising. A. recent Angus Reid Institute poll says that Canadians don’t care much about foreign policy (12th out of 15 key issues) and almost no one cares about defence:
I am also not surprised that in its 166 page election platform the Conservative party of Canada devoted only 3½ pages to National Defence and managed to studiously avoid repeating Mr O’Toole’s promise to spend 2% of GDP on defence ~ instead they say they plan to “move closer to” that always elusive aspirational goal. As I have often said, Canadians’ support for their military may be a mile wide but it is less than an inch deep. I don’t expect the Tories to promise something in a election campaign that Canadians don’t want.
But Mr O’Toole does touch on some key points:
Defending Arctic Sovereignty;
Being a Trusted NATO Partner: Reinforcing the Cornerstone of Canada’s Defence Policy, but please see this ~ my last line is probably applicable to the majority of Canadian voters;
Defend Our Partners in the Indo-Pacific; and
Investing in our Armed Forces and our Economy.
Those are all important issues, and I will address them later.
Something the “gang of five” (above) said ~ “For three generations, Canada has had the luxury of a powerful neighbour assuming responsibility for upholding the international order, even as we disagreed with U.S. goals and tactics from time to time. “Foreign Policy By Canadians” showed us that Canadians recognize that simply deferring to the U.S. is not a viable approach, and domestically puts our economy at risk.” ~ reminded me of something that Prof Francis Fukuyama wrote in The Economistalmost two weeks ago: “The horrifying images of desperate Afghans trying to get out of Kabul this week after the United States-backed government collapsed have evoked a major juncture in world history, as America turned away from the world. The truth of the matter is that the end of the American era had come much earlier. The long-term sources of American weakness and decline are more domestic than international. The country will remain a great power for many years, but just how influential it will be depends on its ability to fix its internal problems, rather than its foreign policy.“
It is a helluva lot more than just our economy that is at risk IF, and I suggest it is an open question, America is in real, strategic decline. Our very existence as a sovereign nation is at risk because, since about 1970 ~ when Pierre Trudeau published his nonsensical Foreign Policy For Canadians ~ we have decided that defence doesn’t matter and Uncle Sam’s military muscle will always protect us. As I have explained before, that’s rubbish.
Canada must get its strategic aims right. If America is changing (and the Trumpian notion that foreign policy is a zero-sum game still seems to be alive and well in America) and if Dr Fukuyama is correct. in saying that America “ will remain a great power for many years,” then Canada must use those many years to develop and implement its own grand strategy. That grand strategy must aim to preserve Canada as a sovereign, free and independent, liberal-democratic and prosperous nation that is a reliable and trusted trading partner and ally for other democratic states. Canada should aim to grow bigger ~ I suggest that our goal should be a population of 100 million by the year 2100. Canada should also aim to have a credible military force, one that can help to keep the peace until, I fear, a major, global war comes unavoidableb … but more about that in a day or two.
For now, foreign and defence policy are not likely to be very much on anyone’s mind in this month’s election. I expect that Justin Trudeau’s platform, when it is, eventually released, will be a pale imitation of Erin O’Toole’s with a few bits of loony-left dogma stolen from Jagmeet Singh added in and it will say even less about foreign and defence policy. Canada’s domestic situation is markedly worse after six years of Justin Trudeau’s government. Priority 1 for most Canadian voters should be to elect a Conservative government that will put us back on the right track. We must hope that the Conservative party will also think seriously about foreign and defence policy, even if most Canadians do not.
As I said yesterday, there are three weeks to go until the ballots are counted in the 2021 Canadian General Election. Some pundits say that the real campaign doesn’t start until tomorrow or, even, until next Tuesday and, therefore, the early lead that Erin Ot”Toole’s Conservatives have taken in the polls, turning the tables on the Liberals in the two weeks since the writs were dropped, is meaningless.
Now, if I was a Liberal voter the thing that would worry me as we approach the mid-point of the election campaign is that it seems to me that Justin Trudeau and his campaign team called and unnecessary election, which may have been a mistake, but it also seems, to me, that they called an election for which they were unprepared.
Where is the Liberal platform? They have a brief, sketchy 12 point on-line “plan,” but where is their answer to the Conservatives’ 166 page platform document? Where are the numbers and timelines into which analysts and voters can dig? Some Liberal-friendly pundits are saying that “their hearts are not in it;” they seem to have expected a coronation parade and instead they are in a. fight for which they are under-equipped. I think being unprepared is politically inexcusable; I think being unprepared AND deciding to “go” anyway is nearly suicidal. I guess hubris is the word I’m looking for, isn’t it?
When will the Liberal Party’s platform be ready? No one seems to know for sure but CBC journalist Travis Dhanraj said, a few hours ago, that:
It looks to me like people are beavering away, frantically, to respond to what the Conservative and NDP have already announced. Is that how a well prepared ed campaign operates?
If Justin Trudeau’s Liberals lose this election, as I sincerely hope, for Canada’s sake, that they will, then I think that the blame, 100% of it, must be laid at Justin Trudeau’s feet. It appears, more and more, that Prime Minister Trudeau called this election because:
It appeared, based on the evidence up until Nova Scotia’s recent election, that voters were prepared to forgive and even reward those who led their jurisdictions through the pandemic.
Prime Minister Trudeau appears, as he did in 2015 and 2019, to be running against Stephen Harper. I suspect that will work with one, small and diminishing slice of the electorate, but, it seems to me, that most Canadians know that Erin O’Toole, not Stephen Harper, is the Conservative leader and Mr O’Toole’s negatives are declining, slightly, while Prime Minister Trudeau’s are growing rapidly. One big threat to Prime Minister Trudeau is on the left where NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is growing in popularity at Justin Trudeau’s expense. Not foreseeing this also strikes me as being part of a lack of planning and preparation.
I don’t know who is going to win on 20 September, nor by how many seats. I know what I hope will happen and my hope ~ see yesterday (link above, in the opening paragraph) ~ and it is (just barely, I hasten to admit) achievable. My hope is, however, being fuelled by Justin Trudeau’s hubris. He called an unnecessary election, something for which I expect many Canadians, including many, many Liberal supporters, will punish him by either staying home or switching their vote to the NDP or, in a few cases, to the CPC. But I also think that many Liberals are increasingly inclined to blame Prime Minister Trudeau for calling an unnecessary election for which both he and the party are:
That, alone, should make many more of my Liberal friends want to ditch their party leader and start afresh with a new “dream team” of real liberal Liberals.