Skip to comments.Canada's Military Said to be on 'Verge of Collapse'
Posted on 09/18/2002 3:46:29 AM PDT by kattracks
CNSNews.com) - Canada's military is on the verge of collapse, according to a recent report released by a coalition of prominent Canadians concerned about security and defense.
The 39-page report from the Council for Canadian Security (CCS) in the 21st Century warns that the country is at risk of being unable to defend its territory, including the world's longest coastline and second-largest land mass and becoming increasingly reliant on the capabilities of the United States.
"Canadian forces are in a crisis-literally on the verge of collapse," military historian and council chairman Jack Granatstein told the media on the release of the report. "To rectify the situation, the Canadian forces need more. More of everything."
Since the 1950s, Canada has reduced its defense spending to just over one per cent of its gross domestic product, placing it 17th among 19 NATO-member countries. From a peak fighting force of 120,000 four decades ago, the country is now reduced to 60,000 members in uniform. Its military equipment-from naval frigates and Arctic icebreakers to military helicopters and transport planes-is widely seen as outdated and insufficient.
Timed for release on the eve of Sept. 11 commemorative events, the report, titled 'The Peoples' Defense Review," calls for an immediate infusion of $1.5 billion Canadian ($950 million U.S.) into Canada's $12 billion military budget, and stepped up co-operation with American forces to improve continental security.
"Nine-eleven indicates the nature of the threat, and the U.S. has reacted by bolstering homeland defense," the report says. "If Canada fails to make equivalent efforts, it will be an easier target. Moreover, given the interconnections in the continent's infrastructure, a major attack on the U.S. will have serious effects in Canada."
On the politically sensitive issue of Canadian sovereignty, the report adds that any decision to allow the U.S. greater responsibility for protecting Canada "would de-facto cede Canadian sovereignty to the U.S."
In a subsequent telephone interview, Granatstein said Canada has historically shunted its military during peacetime.
"In war we have built up forces that become very good and effective, but as soon as the war is over we start throwing it away and we get into a cycle of forgetfulness in which we demolish what has been a very effective military," Granatstein said.
He added that a "cheap" and "rather sad" anti-Americanism, always present in Canada, has reached a "shrill" level since four Canadian soldiers were killed in Afghanistan in April in a friendly fire incident involving American pilots. At the same time, he warned that Americans look upon Canada as "a freeloader nation-a people that prattles about sovereignty and offers nothing but anti-American rhetoric."
Last week, the National Post newspaper and Global television network released a poll that showed 79 per cent of Canadians believe their nation would need American help in the case of an attack yet only 52 per cent support more government spending on the military.
Paul Cellucci, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, is among those who argue that a lack of military strength is the greatest threat to Canadian sovereignty. Cellucci is also a strong proponent of greater integration of continental forces.
"Why would we not co-operate ... it makes no sense not to," he told the media on the eve of Sept. 11 this year. "It's not about sovereignty. It's about security. There is a much greater threat to Canadian sovereignty by not giving the military what it needs to do its job than by allowing the military to continue to cooperate with the United States."
Cellucci has also stated that a lack of Canadian spending on its military is of concern at the highest levels of the Bush administration. Yet Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien has repeatedly said he has no plan to spend more and Defense Minister John McCallum said the CCS report would only become "part of the ongoing defense policy review."
Ironically, Parliament's most left-leaning party, the New Democrats, also criticize the Chretien government for neglecting the military. The NDP is concerned about poor salaries, benefits and living conditions for armed services personnel.
A director of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary argued that the Canadian government is ignoring popular views.
"Since Sept. 11 (2001), all of the polls have shown that the Canadian public has been unified on a need for increased military spending," said Rob Huebert. "But we have a government that simply refuses to give the opinions of Canadians any adherence. You get the sense they are just waiting, crossing their fingers that there are no further strikes, and hoping they can go back to business as usual, which is, of course, a very ill-conceived attitude."
Granatstein attributes the lack of military spending, in part, to a culture in which the armed forces are not well profiled or highly valued in mainstream culture.
"Canadians don't know much about their military, and they don't know how weak it is," he said. "On the other hand, they think of themselves as being the best friend of the U.S. They don't seem to see that being as weak as we are, we are losing sovereignty, and that the Americans will make the decisions whether we like it or not."
Yes,84% of these people think we bought 911 on ourselves
They are not our friends
It's a very subservient, submissive one.
canada gets on it's knees and licks it's masters boots
That's because despite the adolescent satisfaction they get by sniping at the U.S. they know that we would never let anything happen to them. Its sort of like a teenager showing how rebellious he is by mouthing off about the police while secretly he knows that there is no real danger of the police retaliating and knows that they are obligated to assist him if he needs it.
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