Today's discussion:

Canada’s military is being left behind

Our system of procurement is fundamentally broken. Deliveries of major capabilities can now be counted in decades, where years should be the norm. The 21st-century battlefield is already here and it’s time our leaders seriously engaged with what that means.

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Stuart Thomson

Today, Richard Shimooka lays out the sorry state of Canada’s defence procurement system, based on comments he made yesterday to a House of Commons committee.

Things are not looking good:

“Many of the same systems we acquired in the 1980s are now far beyond their rust-out date and are not anticipated to be replaced for another decade or more due to failing program execution. While defence spending has increased over the past eight years, much of it has gone to operational accounts due to growing international commitments. This has masked the growing dilapidated state of the military’s capital base.”

27th September 2023 at 6:39 am

It seems Con see everything as fundamentally broken. How can you effect change when you are so negative and desperate. This approach will not attract young men and women to service of any kind for our country. Young people today are searching for purpose, It behooves those in the lead to find a way to inspire our young people. Crying broken is not going to do it. Young people need to hear the stories of Canadians like Viola Desmond, Therese Casgrain, Terry Fox, Chris Hatfield. They need to know that service can be in many fields one of which is the military. We are living in a very different world from the world of our forebearers. The days of imperialism and colonialism, and dare I say, capitalism no longer inspire. Our country is not broken. It is what Poilievre wants people to believe but as he repeats it over and over, he will break the country and the spirit of Canadians. The worst in me believes that this is what Poilievre wants and then he can rule with an iron fist. The best in me hopes that even Poilievre’s brand of Conservatism is not the desperate.

27th September 2023 at 9:16 am
Rob Tyrrell

On the topic, the military deficit is real, significant, long standing, and bipartisan. Procurement is a huge part of it. Step one is acknowledging the nature and degree of the situation, and that it is, indeed, a significant problem.

I agree, however, that the “our country is broken” schtick is damaging, however politically effective it *may* be.

27th September 2023 at 10:11 am

I would rather the issue was phrased as “the government is broken”. After eight years the government has had an impact on the country and how it functions. But I think that is more accurate and avoids the fundamental negativity.

My main issue with Poilievre is that he seems to be a major fan of the movie This Is Spinal Tap – a lot of what he is saying is valid, but he always has to turn it up to 11.

27th September 2023 at 5:02 pm
Francis Mark Blaney

Bullcrap! The country is beyond broken! The Liberals have eviscerated the country in so many ways! Poilievre is simply stating a fact! Trudeau should have never left his drama class. In 3 terms he has “broke” Canada to the extent that it’ll take generations to rescind, delete redo or refinance all the Trudope gaffs. Trudeau is a failure and outcast on the international stage and a washout as a Leader. Get real!!

27th September 2023 at 1:10 pm
Rob Tyrrell

“eviscerated the country in so many ways!”
“The country is beyond broken!”
“take generations to rescind, delete redo or refinance”
“Trudope gaffs”

Do you consider this in the spirit of what is intended for this forum? The OP should be asking the same question.

27th September 2023 at 3:31 pm
Sean Speer

Having worked in Ottawa, I don’t think we should underestimate the basic dysfunction of the Department of National Defence as a major cause of the underfunding. It’s hard to convince the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance to provide incremental resources if they have good reason (and they do) to assume that the department will spend it inefficiently and wastefully.

There’s a tendency – particularly on the Right – to hold the military in high esteem. But in my mind there’s a key distinction between the members of the Canadian Armed Forces who we definitely should hold in such esteem and the department as a whole which in my experience is unserious and unreliable.

It’s not the only reason that we’re not dedicating more scarce resources to national defence. But it’s an underrated one.

27th September 2023 at 5:03 pm
Rob TyYrrell

In short, our last three-plus decades ability and commitment to maintaining an appropriate military is poor, and that is before accounting for the ongoing explosion of information technology change that affects all aspects of potential battlefields. Ugh.

The military is purposely subservient to political masters, and as such, are easier to give short shrift when allocating resources in our suboptimal four year election cycle decision making processes. It may be analogous to teachers at the provincial level. Teachers generally are very committed to their students, and it is all too tempting for politicians to take advantage of this when allocating resources. The longer term outcomes (societal costs) arrive well after the decision-making government has been replaced.

27th September 2023 at 7:38 am