Election 2015 means that Canada once again gets to hear from the various political parties on the issue of National Defence. Sometimes such platforms bring vision, a new direction. Such was the case with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s promise of three heavy armed icebreakers for the Canadian Navy. Other times the platforms reveal policies that would lead to weakness in the military, cuts that would reduce the capability or capacity of our ability to respond in time of need.
Esprit de Corp magazine has published a link to the four Party’s various defence policies on their website, so let’s take a look at the policies and how they might affect the Canadian Forces and Canada.
Conservative Party of Canada
The Conservative Party Defence policy is, predictably, largely a description of all the things the government has done right. Mention is made of the “Decade of Darkness” and the “inherited” defence procurement problems. Glossed over are several procurement issues, such as the Fixed Wing Search And Rescue (FWSAR) program, that could have been addressed years ago.
It is useful that, with all the talk about procurement failures, some mention of the success stories. The situation is better than it was, even if much remains to be done.
What the policy offers is a continuation of the same course, and no suggestion of anything new forthcoming. There is also nothing to suggest that Canada’s military can expect any serious influx of cash:
“In the end, though, money spent is not the only measure of a defence policy.”
In what may be a major oversight, the Conservative policy is the only one of the four parties that does not mention Veterans.
Overall, the policy offers no new vision, but none was really expected.