New Canadian Defense Report: ‘Our North, Strong and Free’

April 16, 2024 12:49 PM

The following is the April Candian Armed Forces policy paper, Our North, Strong and Free: A Renewed Vision for Canada’s Defence.

From the report

Canadians have benefitted enormously from the world we helped build. We came of age as a country in an era defined by a respect for international rules that have generated prosperity on an unprecedented scale. That prosperity depends on free and open trade with the world and stable conditions. The return of war in Europe, with Russia’s illegal

and unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine, reminds us that military challenges to global stability violate state sovereignty and other fundamental principles of international law, impose terrible human costs, disrupt global supply chains, and raise the cost of groceries, fuel and basic necessities. Russia has demonstrated that it is a reckless and hostile adversary willing to undermine peace and stability in pursuit of its goals, which is a reminder that Canadians cannot take global security for granted. As a trading nation connected to and affected by everything that happens in the world, we have an obligation to Canadians to help defend and preserve the conditions that have made prosperity and security possible for so many, for so long.

Three powerful, connected trends are now reshaping our world:

  • Climate change is disproportionately affecting our Arctic. It is becoming increasingly accessible, and we are facing new security challenges in the region;
  • Autocracies and disruptive states are challenging the international order that keeps Canada safe and prosperous, propelled by Russia’s flagrant violation of international law and China’s attempts to reshape the international order to achieve its political goals; and
  • New and disruptive technologies are rapidly redefining conflict and what it takes to be safe and secure.

Our best insurance against global uncertainty at home and abroad is a ready, resilient, and relevant Canadian Armed Forces, made up of Regular and Reserve Forces, and the Canadian Rangers. Ready, with sufficient numbers of well-trained, motivated and supported people, enabled by the right equipment in the right timeframes, and working with safe and effective infrastructure; Resilient, with forces that are sustained on operations for as long as necessary, can operate across the land, sea, air, cyber and space domains, and are digitalized and networked for the information age; and Relevant, with forces making robust contributions where it matters most to Canada, with capabilities that are suited to the type of contributions we need to make.

Alongside our diplomatic and security capabilities, a strong military protects Canada’s ability to make sovereign, independent decisions in our best interests and limits our adversaries’ ability to coerce or shape our courses of action. It gives Canada a voice in North American defence, secures NATO’s northern and western flanks from military aggression or coercion, ensures our place in broader international partnerships, and creates the conditions for our future economic prosperity. A strong military also creates economic opportunities for Canadians, furthers collaboration with Indigenous and Northern communities, supports good, middle-class jobs, and builds up Canada’s defence industrial base.

To ensure that our military has the resources it requires to keep Canadians safe in an increasingly unpredictable world, Canada is investing more in defence.

The most urgent and important task we face is asserting Canada’s sovereignty in the Arctic and northern regions, where the changing physical and geopolitical landscapes have created new threats and vulnerabilities to Canada and Canadians.

Download the document here.

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