Military Invites Public Consultation on National Defence Policy
Canadians are being asked to provide input on the country’s defence policy by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and Department of National Defence (DND).
In a March 9 news release, the government said it was “launching public consultations with all Canadians” on the Defence Policy Update (DPU) announced in Budget 2022. Submissions will be accepted from March 9 to April 30.
“The DPU will build on Canada’s current defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE) and will enable the Canadian Armed Forces to meet any threat in the changed global security environment,” according to the DND and CAF.
A web platform has been set up for the public to provide comments and feedback.
The government said it would also hold roundtable discussions with industry leaders, defence and security companies and experts, as well as academics. Other consultations will seek input from senators, members of Parliament, and the indigenous community, according to the news release.
Canadians will be invited to comment on five topics, including “supporting our people”; building organizational capacity”; “maintaining and adapting the essential capabilities of the Canadian Armed Forces”; “upgrading continental and Arctic defences”; and “capabilities needed for modern conflict.”
“This input will be crucial to updating Canada’s defence policy, and to ensuring that our country is prepared to respond to new and emerging threats in the current geopolitical landscape—all while creating economic opportunities and jobs for Canadians,” said the government.
On March 9, Ottawa announced it would fast-track purchases of new weapons, including anti-tank, anti-aircraft, and anti-drone weapons for the military.
“Canada’s largest foreign military deployment is on NATO’s eastern flank in Latvia,” Defence Minister Anita Anand said. “And our troops there must have the equipment that they need to protect themselves and to do their jobs especially at this crucial time.”
“It is critically important that we get this right, which is why we have been engaging stakeholders across Canada, as well as our allies and partners, to inform our way forward,” Anand said.
The federal government released a new defence policy in 2017, a 20-year plan. The government said CAF has to respond to threats in a “changed global security environment.”
The government cited the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, increased cyber threats, increased modernization of Russia’s and China’s military, and “the acceleration and intensification of climate change,” as among the reasons for a review of the country’s defence policy.
“To ensure the Canadian Armed Forces’ effectiveness in responding to these threats, we must continue to focus on building lasting, positive culture change in the military,” the news release states.
It indicates the DND wants to recruit more CAF members and “ensure they feel protected and respected when they wear a uniform.”
Budget 2022 adds $8 billion in new defence funding over five years, and a modernization plan for the North American Aerospace Defense Command announced roughly one year ago provides a budget of more than $38.6 billion in the next 20 years.
“We are strengthening our Arctic security through joint exercises, six new Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships and enhanced surveillance and intelligence capabilities,” said the government.
A recently announced Indo-Pacific Strategy adds more CAF members to the region with training, exercises, and deployment of an additional naval warship.
The government notes that support for Ukraine is a top priority for both the DND and CAF.
“Since February 2022, Canada has committed over $1 billion in military aid to Ukraine, in addition to its ongoing efforts to train Armed Forces of Ukraine personnel, and transport Ukraine-bound military aid on Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircraft within Europe,” it said.
The Canadian Press contributed to this report.