Military and Foreign Affairs Specialist. Combat Veteran of Afghanistan. Specializing on Russia, Canada and the Arctic.
Jonathan Wade served in the Canadian Forces for 14 years and is a combat veteran of Afghanistan. He owns The Sentinel, a blog on Canada, Russia and the Arctic. Specialized in military and foreign affairs, his military experience brought him valuable insight on the realities of conflicts and war and has a fondness for technical details. Join Jonathan’s community on Twitter @JonathanWadeCD.
At the height of the Cold War, Canada was still holding periodic diplomatic talks with the former Soviet Union and although both countries strongly disagreed with each other, they kept talking. Nowadays, Ottawa has decided to send a message of strong opposition and unwillingness to make the situation less delicate.
Russia will not discuss returning Crimea to Ukraine with its foreign partners. Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed its government will not discuss its territorial issues with foreign partners....
Canada needs to understand that we are a sovereign country and it is our job to decide whether we deploy troops or not, and where we do so. Having a great relationship with a country can also mean telling them "no" is possible, especially when it comes to our foreign policy.
While Canada pulled its fighter aircraft from the U.S.-led coalition earlier this year, the Canadian Forces still pull its share on the ground. Providing vital support to Peshmerga fighters through "advise-and-assist" operations, Canada has boots on the ground and is actively taking part in the battle.
Last Thursday, Lieutenant General Paul Wynnyk became the commander of the Canadian Army and quickly stated the Canadian Army could possibly deploy troops in Africa. As a matter of fact, according to Wynnyk, a deployment to Africa was imminent. Although many regions in Africa would benefit from having Canadian soldiers on the ground, Mali has been mentioned on many occasions.
I do understand that we have to honour our commitment and we have to take part in global security, but engaging hundreds troops in a Cold War-esque scenario instead of focusing on Canada's main threat, terrorism, is a clear sign of the government foreign policy's alignment with our American ally.
The Super Hornet is by far the best alternative for Canada and will keep the RCAF operational for the next 25 years -- a critical timeline for future drone warfare. By then, Boeing and Lockheed Martin will most likely have some workable unmanned fighter drones; a great option for Canada to keep constant surveillance in the Arctic and its coasts.
According to Michael Ferguson's latest audit, the Army Reserve is clearly lacking "clear guidance on preparing for international missions, had lower levels of training as cohesive teams, and had not fully integrated this training with that of the Regular Army." Adding to that, the number of reservists is lower than needed and are not fully prepared to deploy when required.
A little over a decade ago, Canada -- under Paul Martin's Liberals -- rejected taking part in the United States Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system along its U.S. counterpart. The Canadian government is currently reviewing its defence policy, including the possibility to reconsider its position on their participation to the U.S. BMD system.
The Canadian government will go forward with the export permits that allow Saudi Arabia to acquire Canadian-made Light Armored Vehicle III (LAV III). The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stéphane Dion, stated that Canada would block future export permits if Saudi Arabia uses the purchased military equipment against its own citizens.
The Liberals promised a "leaner, more agile" military, raising concerns over the size of the military. With our current commitment and the promised renewal of UN peacekeeping missions, Canadian soldiers will not be able to sustain such a high operational tempo, let alone if we slash our military numbers.
The fact that it can strike land targets gives Canada the ability to support ground operation by conducting strategic and tactical strikes. I believe Canada will have opportunities in the near future to contribute to its allies' campaigns with the Harpoon Block II.
Does Canada need a fifth-generation stealth multirole fighter? I don't think so. As a matter of fact, beside the F-35 fiasco in general, Canada cannot afford such an expensive plane that had limited capabilities. A project worth more than $8 billion at the start, many experts now evaluate it at more than $49 billion. This might include all acquisition, sustainment and operating costs but does not guarantee the price won't go up again due other issues with the aircraft.
As a matter of fact, it could take decades, if not more. Canada pulled out of Afghanistan too early and I believe the same will happen in Iraq. Although the mission is completely different, our contribution to training troops remains almost identical.
The Canadian Forces will once again have to wait to receive new much-needed equipment. Whether it is new fighter aircraft, ships or vehicles, the federal budget has postponed more than $3.7 billion in military spending until 2020 -- or later. As a matter of fact, the latest federal budget is another slap to the Canadian Forces' face. Bill Morneau, Canada's finance minister, said the Liberals are postponing defence spending to figure out defence priorities.
Canada is not in a position to try and hammer down a Treaty when it pulled its aircraft from the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State. The Summit and the coalition might be two different things, but many allies to taking part in both. Because of that, Trudeau's plan is doomed to fail as we took a big hit on credibility when we pulled our aircraft. Although we stand third out of twenty-four on the Security Index, I do believe security should be enhanced, especially with the recent Brussels attacks. Ontario has many nuclear power plants and could become a potential target for future terrorist attacks.
The Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion is ready to re-establish diplomatic relations with Russia. During a speech at the University of Ottawa on a new Liberal foreign policy approach, Dion said Canada has no positive consequences for completely cutting ties with Russia.