Canada FIRST READING: Canada left out of an Anglosphere defence pact (uh, again)
FIRST READING: Ottawa's pointless odyssey to replace the F-35 with the F-35
First Reading is a daily newsletter keeping you posted on the travails of Canadian politicos, all curated by the National Post’s own Tristin Hopper. To get an early version sent direct to your inbox every Monday to Thursday at 6 p.m. ET (and 9 a.m. on Saturdays), sign up here. TOP STORY The year is 2010 . The iPad has not yet made its storied debut, the terrorist group ISIS is still years away from its ignominious rise, and the Canadian federal government has just announced plans to replace its aging fleet of CF-18 fighters with 65 Lockheed Martin F-35s costing $9 billion . If all goes according to schedule, the first Canadian F-35s will be in the sky by 2016 .
First Reading is a daily newsletter keeping you posted on the travails of Canadian politicos, all curated by the National Post’s own Tristin Hopper. To get an early version sent direct to your inbox every Monday to Thursday at 6 p.m. ET (and 9 a.m. on Saturdays), sign up.
Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom all agreed this week to(which are kind of like ballistic missiles, except they can zig-zag to their target to avoid radar defences). Conspicuously left out of the agreement is Canada , which happens to share either a border or a head of state with the three participants.
Seven years after vowing not to purchase F-35 jets, the Liberals are now buying them
Seven years after vowing never to replace Canada’s aging fighter jet fleet with F-35s, the Trudeau Liberals are now planning to purchase 88 of them. Defence Minister Anita Anand announced the news early Monday afternoon, confirming the government’s intentions to sign final purchase contracts with manufacturer Lockheed-Martin later this year. “A new fleet of state-of-the-art fighter jets is essential for Canada’s security, sovereignty and ability to defend itself,” she said. Canada’s road to replacing its fighter jets has been a 25-year odyssey, fraught with political machinations. In 1997, Jean Chrétien first signed onto the Joint Strike Fighter program.
This isn’t the first time that the Aussies, Brits and Americans have gotten together to do military things without inviting Canada . The hypersonic arrangement is an extension of the AUKUS agreement inked last year under which the same three countries also agreed to build more nuclear submarines to counter China. At the time, Paul T. Mitchell, a defence studies professor at Canadian Forces College,that Canada wasn’t invited to AUKUS for the simple reason that our military is so desiccated that it wouldn’t really be able to contribute anything.
Speaking of military equipment, Canada’s Department of Defence stripped itsin attempting to scare up military equipment for Ukraine (we literally sent them a planeload consisting of random small arms we had lying around). But there is still something in Canadian stores that the Ukrainians could desperately use: Harpoon anti-ship missiles . According to the National Post’s John Ivison, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has even the weapons (of which Canada has 200) in phone calls to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. While the U.K. and U.S. are reportedly some of their Harpoons to Ukraine, the request has remained strenuously ignored by Canada.
Canadian Forces in desperate need of new spending, procurement follow-through, experts say
Canada's military readiness is suffering from a lack of investment and the federal government must ensure that desperately needed new money actually gets spent, experts in defence and procurement say. "You can promise the moon and the stars. If you can't get the money out the door then it's of no value," said Andrew Leslie, a former Liberal MP and retired general.
IN OTHER NEWS
After evidence emerged that Russian soldiers had been indiscriminately killing civilians in occupied areas of Ukraine , the immediate response of many European countries was to order aof Russian diplomats. But Canada has refused to follow suit, the risk of retaliation from Moscow.
Meanwhile, if you’re wondering what Russia’s Ottawa embassy has been up to lately, they just finished firing out aclaiming that the burned, maimed and rotting corpses found in the streets of Bucha, Ukraine are actually all just a neo-Nazi hoax .
— Russia in Canada (@RussianEmbassyC)
Thursday’s new federal budget promises to shower cash on the Canadian Armed Forces, particularly in the realm of Arctic defence, where Canada is technically at the front lines of Russian expansionism. But Canada’s top soldier Wayne Eyrethat it would be foolish to assume that Canada could ever hope to match Russia’s Arctic presence , and should instead settle on simply being able to scramble stuff into the north as quickly as possible. While Canada has no real permanent presence in the Arctic beyond some signals intelligence bases and the part-time Canadian Rangers, Russia has a whole fleet of armed icebreakers and year-round, garrisoned air bases.
Will cloud computing be Canada’s next big military procurement? Here’s what to know
Officials tell Global News that 'preliminary' work is underway on a possible classified cloud service. A similar process in the U.S. for military cloud services is worth billions.But modernizing how Canadian security officials manage increasingly massive troves of data could be among the most important decisions of the coming years — and federal officials have confirmed to Global News that "preliminary" work is underway.
The City of Calgary is currently embroiled in a fight with its own police department over the issue of uniform patches . Specifically, a black-and-white Canadian flag featuring a horizontal blue stripe – a reference to the concept of police as a “thin blue line” protecting society from the forces of chaos. Last month, the Calgary Police Commission ordered officers to remove the patch, citing it as a “known hate symbol.”, with Police Chief Mark Neufeld saying that on top of a “tired” workforce and low morale, the city’s attempt to “vilify” the symbol was a bridge too far.
John Ivison: Ukraine asked us for missiles. We sent words
On March 22, Defence Minister Anita Anand received a proposal from a group of industry executives aimed at helping Ukraine defend the Odessa region from a Russian amphibious assault. The plan, laid out in a briefing note obtained by the National Post, advocated giving Ukraine Harpoon Block 11 anti-ship missiles from the Royal Canadian Navy’s inventory to help with coastal defence. The executives urged the minister to move quickly so the missiles could be sent “in days, not weeks.” The logic certainly appeals to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who told ministers this week that he wants to arm the Ukrainians with Harpoon missiles to help protect Odessa.
Starting on Saturday, Alberta’s United Conservative Party will begin voting on whether to retain Premier Jason Kenney as their leader. In advance of the review, UCP members this week received afrom 19 former MLAs claiming that they should continue supporting Kenney even if they hate him, because the only alternative is NDP victory . Against an NDP that is “disciplined, organized, and well-funded,” the letter asks that “party members, even those unhappy with Premier Kenney, should think long and hard about what that will look like.”
Meanwhile, Kenney remains the only provincial leader in Canada whose caucus will soon contain someone who has openly vowed to destroy him . On Thursday, the Alberta Legislative Assembly is expected to swear in Brian Jean, a longtime Kenney rival wholast month on an explicit promise to topple his party’s leader.
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COMMENTARY: Budget 2022 comes ‘nowhere close’ the Liberals’ lofty rhetoric on defence spending .
Despite the Liberal government's earlier hints of a funding boost, Budget 2022 means Canada's defence spending will be only 1.5% of GDP by later this decade, Jeffrey Collins says. The rhetorical flourish during the lead-up to Thursday's federal budget was more ambitious than the actual announcement. It will be recalled that Russia’s unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February upended global stability and forced many of Canada’s allies, especially those in the 30-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization, to confront the very real prospect of nuclear war and years of violent instability on the European continent.