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.
New Democratic Party of Canada
The Defence platform of the New Democratic Party starts with the predictable preamble recounting the various defence-related failures of the Conservative government. It is notable that specific mention is given to issues faced by service members who are forced to sell homes at a loss as a result of postings. Notable as well is the issue of sexual misconduct being addressed.
The NDP set their first priority as the creation of a new Defence White Paper. Canada had its last formal White Paper in 1994 and it is long overdue that a new examination of Canada’s strategic direction is undertaken.
The NDP offers:
• To hold an open competition to seek a replacement for the CF-18
• To ensure that Canada’s shipbuilding strategy meets the needs of the military
• To enhance Northern Search And Rescue capabilities
• Improved support for CF personnel and Veterans who have endured wounds in the service of the Country.
There is nothing groundbreaking in the policy, but it is a solid policy that adequately addresses the immediate needs of the military. It offers no great vision, but contains no great holes.