A prominent feature of the public policy debate on national defence in Canada is also present in many other middle-power states: namely, the effort to find a reasonable balance in national defence policy between obligations to support the integrity of national territory and national sovereignty, and the obligations to contribute to international peace and security in more troubled parts of the world.
The current period of public discussion of defence policy, including discussions on military procurement, presents an opportunity to articulate an approach to national and international security concerns consistent with the values and approaches that seek to minimize the resort to force and violence in global affairs and to maximize attention to alternative means for the peaceful settlement of disputes and to building durable peace based on justice and equity.
The lack of a broad consensus on where Canadian policy should be headed creates strong opportunities to enter the debate with credible approaches and alternatives.
Human Security Framework
With its focus on protecting the state, Canada’s traditional security approach is becoming increasingly irrelevant and ineffective in a world in which most wars take place within, not between, states.
The most immediate threats to the security of vulnerable people in troubled societies derive from unmet economic and health needs, political exclusion, denied rights, social and political disintegration and the criminal and political violence that invariably attend such conditions.
The primary threats, in most cases, to the security of people are not, therefore, external military forces bent on attacking the territorial integrity or sovereignty of their state. Thus, the primary contribution to the security of these people is not likely to come from armed forces.
Instead, the most urgent requirement is to build the favourable social, political and economic conditions that mitigate these insecurities, including, but not limited to, military capacity.
Project Ploughshares supports a reworking of Canadian defence policy and capabilities to meet these 21st century challenges. Such a comprehensive approach would incorporate support and funding for the 5Ds:
- Development: to reduce poverty and generate economic conditions conducive to sustainable human security;
- Democracy: to promote good governance, political inclusiveness and respect for human rights;
- Disarmament: to limit the availability of weapons, especially to non-state groups;
- Diplomacy: to pursue the peaceful settlement of disputes;
- Defence: to restore and maintain stability through military contributions to multilateral peace support operations.
Recent Publications on Canadian Defence Policy
Bill C-47: Remarks to the Senate Standing CommitteeDecember 5, 2018
U.S. reporting and licensing exemptions not consistent with ATT obligations Remarks to the Canadian Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development – Delivered November 29, 2018 Published in The Ploughshares Monitor Volume 39 Issue 4 Winter 2018 by Cesar Jaramillo Thank you very much for the kind invitation to address this committee. For decades, efforts to better regulate illicit and ...
Project Ploughshares: Our 2018 PlanApril 3, 2018
Last year was remarkably active for virtually all Project Ploughshares program areas—and 2018 is turning out to be at least as busy. From unscrupulous arms transfers that fuel human rights violations to troubling forced migration patterns that continue to test the international community’s ability to respond, from efforts to proactively regulate the development and deployment of autonomous weapons systems to ...
Disarming Security: Project Ploughshares and Canadian military export policyDecember 6, 2017
On February 14, 2015, Ed Fast, the former Canadian Minister of International Trade, helped announce the largest advanced manufacturing contract in Canadian history. A brilliant economic achievement on paper, the 14-year, multi-billion-dollar deal promised to directly benefit 500 Canadian companies, and continue an important trade alliance with a strategic ally. The only catch was that the deal was to manufacture ...