Liberal Party’s foreign and military policy platform

We are posting below those parts of the Liberal Party’s “Real Change” platform for the 42nd General Election concerning Canada’s relations with other countries and the structure and make-up of Canada’s military.

Canadian Leadership, Peace and Security, Strategic Priorities

Canada’s Leadership in the World

We will restore Canadian leadership in the world.

Canada has a proud tradition of international leadership, from helping to create the United Nations after the Second World War, to the campaign against South African apartheid, to the international treaty to ban landmines.

Unfortunately, under Stephen Harper, our influence and presence on the world stage has steadily diminished. Instead of working with other countries constructively at the United Nations, the Harper Conservatives have turned their backs on the UN and other multilateral institutions, while also weakening Canada’s military, our diplomatic service, and our development programs.

Whether confronting climate change, terrorism and radicalization, or international conflicts, the need for effective Canadian diplomacy has never been greater than it is today.

Our plan will restore Canada as a leader in the world. Not only to provide greater security and economic growth for Canadians, but because Canada can make a real and valuable contribution to a more peaceful and prosperous world.

Promoting International Peace and Security

We will renew Canada’s commitment to peacekeeping operations.

Under Stephen Harper, Canada has dramatically scaled back its involvement in peace operations — a decision that could not come at a worse time. As the number of violent conflicts in the world escalates, demand for international peace operations has never been greater.

Peace operations are important not only because of the help they provide to millions of people affected by conflicts, but also because they serve Canada’s interests. A more peaceful world is a safer and more prosperous world for Canada, too.

We will recommit to supporting international peace operations with the United Nations, and will make our specialized capabilities — from mobile medical teams to engineering support to aircraft that can carry supplies and personnel — available on a case-by-case basis.

To help the UN respond more quickly to emerging and escalating conflicts, we will provide well-trained personnel that can be quickly deployed, including mission commanders, staff officers, and headquarters units.

We will prioritize assistance for civilian police training operations, particularly Francophone officers, who are in great demand in French-speaking countries with peace operations.

We will lead an international effort to improve and expand the training of military and civilian personnel deployed on peace operations, and will insist that any peacekeepers involved in misconduct be held accountable by their own country and the United Nations.

Finally, to better help those affected by war and violent conflict, we will contribute more to the United Nations’ mediation, conflict-prevention, and post-conflict reconstruction efforts.

Central and Eastern Europe

We will remain fully committed to Canada’s existing military contributions in Central and Eastern Europe.

This includes Canada’s participation in NATO assurance measures in Central and Eastern Europe (Operation REASSURANCE) and the multinational training mission in Ukraine (Operation UNIFIER).

Combat Mission in Iraq

We will end Canada’s combat mission in Iraq.

We will refocus Canada’s military contribution in the region on the training of local forces, while providing more humanitarian support and immediately welcoming 25,000 more refugees from Syria.

Strategic Priorities

We will immediately begin an open and transparent review process of existing defence capabilities, with the goal of delivering a more effective, better-equipped military.

The Canada First Defence Strategy, launched by Stephen Harper in 2008, is underfunded and out of date. We will review current programs and capabilities, and lay out a realistic plan to strengthen Canada’s Armed Forces.

We will develop the Canadian Armed Forces into an agile, responsive, and well-equipped military force that can effectively defend Canada and North America; provide support during natural disasters, humanitarian support missions, and peace operations; and offer international deterrence and combat capability.

We will continue to work with the United States to defend North America under NORAD, and contribute to regional security within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

We will ensure that equipment is acquired faster, and with vigorous Parliamentary oversight.

We will put a renewed focus on surveillance and control of Canadian territory and approaches, particularly our Arctic regions, and will increase the size of the Canadian Rangers.

Military Issues

Investing in Our Military

We will maintain current National Defence spending levels, including current planned increases.

Under Stephen Harper, investments in the Canadian Armed Forces have been erratic, promised increases in funding have been scaled back, and more than $10 billion of approved funding was left unspent.

This mismanagement has left Canada’s Armed Forces underfunded and ill-equipped, and the courageous members of the Forces unsupported after years of dedicated service.

We will not let Canada’s Armed Forces be shortchanged, and we will not lapse military spending from year to year. We will also reinvest in building a leaner, more agile, better-equipped military, including adequate support systems for military personnel and their families.

F-35

We will not buy the F-35 stealth fighter-bomber.

We will immediately launch an open and transparent competition to replace the CF-18 fighter aircraft. The primary mission of our fighter aircraft should remain the defence of North America, not stealth first-strike capability.

We will reduce the procurement budget for replacing the CF-18s, and will instead purchase one of the many, lower-priced options that better match Canada’s defence needs.

Royal Canadian Navy

We will make investing in the Royal Canadian Navy a top priority.

By purchasing more affordable alternatives to the F-35s, we will be able to invest in strengthening our Navy, while also meeting the commitments that were made as part of the National Shipbuilding and Procurement Strategy. Unlike Stephen Harper, we will have the funds that we need to build promised icebreakers, supply ships, arctic and offshore patrol ships, surface combatants, and other resources required by the Navy.

These investments will ensure that the Royal Canadian Navy is able to operate as a true blue-water maritime force, while also growing our economy and creating jobs.[1]

Report on Transformation

We will implement the recommendations made in the Canadian Forces’ Report on Transformation.[2]

The Canadian Armed Forces’ ability to protect Canada’s borders and work with our allies overseas should never be compromised. Threats to its ability to meet future obligations must be addressed head on.

The Report on Transformation made a series of recommendations on how to build a more modern, efficient, and effective military, including reducing the size of administration within government and the Canadian Armed Forces in order to strengthen front-line operations.

Note

1. A blue-water navy is a maritime force with expeditionary capabilities. While definitions of what actually constitutes such a force vary, there is a requirement for the ability to exercise sea control at wide ranges. The U.S. Defense Security Service define a blue-water navy as “a maritime force capable of sustained operation across the deep waters of open oceans. A blue-water navy allows a country to project power far from the home country and usually includes one or more aircraft carriers. Smaller blue-water navies are able to dispatch fewer vessels abroad for shorter periods of time.”

2. (“The People vs. The Harper Dictatorship,” TML Weekly, October 22, 2011 – No. 1)

 Source: TML Weekly Information ProjectOctober 31, 2015 – No. 34
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