Canadian Senate says Boost Military. YES!

Good news came out of the Canadian Senate (ya we do have one of those).

Whether it means anything is another question all together.

The Senate Defence Committee help a press conferece today detailing changes they thought needed to be made to Canada defense sector of governmentand spending.

#1: Increase Spending (obviously any “improvement” short of disbanding would require more money).. but they’re not talking small potatoes.. they’re talking from $14 billion in the current budget, to a “happy place” of $25-40 billion. Merits aside, one has to wonder where they think that money should come from.

#2: Increase the size of the Armed Forces. From the current 62,000 to 90,000 across all services. I heartily agree with this. I have no problem with Canada having a military… it is a necessity in todays world. If we truly want to promote our vision of the world, we need the soldiers on the ground to be able to project that vision. A larger military does NOT mean a shift away from peacekeeping and other historically Canadian roles, it simply means we can do more of it.. and for greater lengths of time before our troops become over burdened and weakened.

#3: Modernize equipment. Again, this is important is Canada wants to continue playing a vital role in operations around the world. Our equipment is literally rusting away. That is simply not effective. If we are to have a military at all, I want it to be well equipped, and if that means doling out more cash, then by all means we should do so.

This is one area where I think the traditional NDP/Leftwing position simply doesn’t make sense. It’s naive to think that Canada cannot have a military. We are not Costa Rica. And it is downright dangerous to neglect our military as we have in the past. It is a danger to our soldiers, who deserve the best… and it is a danger to ourselves as we are left without a capable military to protect us from disaster and patrol our interests. One of Canadas greatest problems is our inability to guard our own borders. We must fix that, not because we are threatened with invasion, but rather to ensure the sovereignty of our land.

The controversy lately over Hans Island has exemplified this need. We need to be able to provide Canadians in the North with the protection that they need. Search and Rescue is minimal in the Canadian arctic. That should change. Also, as the North warms, the Northwest Passage must be Clearly Canadian so that as it becomes a thoroughfare for shipping, Canadians are given the benefit of that business through our waters. I think if you ask most Canadians, they would look at a map of the Northwest Passage and say, Yes, obviously those must be Canadian waters… well, other countries don’t think so, particularly the United States… it is time the Canadian military and Coast Guard played a much larger role in securing the sovereignty of those waters for Canada.

This Senate report looks to be a good start, I hope it is noticed and taken by Government as a roadmap to a better, more productive, and more proud future for the Canadian Forces.

5 replies on “Canadian Senate says Boost Military. YES!”

  1. “I think if you ask most Canadians, they would look at a map of the Northwest Passage and say, Yes, obviously those must be Canadian waters…”

    What are the entrance and exit points of the Northwest Passage that are in dispute? I wasn’t aware that there was an issue over maritime transit in the Arctic.

  2. Hi David,

    In 1985, the US sent an icebreaker through the Northwest passage, from Greenland, to Alaska. They did not ask permission to enter Canadian waters, as is both custom and a requirement when entering a nations sovereign territory. The US considered the passage “International Waters” and so felt it could go through without notifying anyone.

    Ever since, there has been a lingering doubt on the grip Canada has on its’ northern territory.

    The best image I can find of the Northwest Passage is from Wikipedia.. you can clearly see the routes taken around Baffin and Prince of Wales and other Islands that make up the Arctic Archipelago

    According to The Columbia Encyclopedia, the Arctic Archipelago is:

    group of more than 50 large islands, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, N Canada, in the Arctic Ocean. The southernmost members of the group include Baffin (the archipelago’s largest island), Victoria, Banks, Prince of Wales, and Somerset islands; N of Viscount Melville and Lancaster sounds are the Queen Elizabeth Islands, of which Ellesmere is the largest. Tundra and permanent ice cover the islands, on which oil and coal have been discovered. After Greenland, the Archipelago is the world’s largest high-arctic land area.

    So, given that these islands are recognized as Canadian, it stands to reason that the water between them, and between them and the North American continent are Canadian, except of course where Alaska starts…

  3. Hi Chris,

    “So, given that these islands are recognized as Canadian, it stands to reason that the water between them, and between them and the North American continent are Canadian, except of course where Alaska starts…”

    My understanding is that Canada only claims twelve nautical miles as its maritime territorial limit. On a map, the passage north of Baffin Island going through to the Beaufort Sea looks wider than twenty-four miles. Was the problem in 1985 that the US ship violated the twelve-mile zone or was it that Canada claimed a wider zone that America did not recognize?

    The passages between Canada’s Arctic islands could be considered Canadian waters under the principle that Hudson Bay is territorial water even though the entrance to the Bay is much wider than twenty-four miles. Personally I would consider all of the passages between Canadian Arctic islands to be Canadian under this principle.

    But it could be argued that Hudson Bay isn’t really a passage in an international sense. The passage between Baffin Bay and the Beaufort Sea could link Europe to Alaska or Russia without a ship coming within twelve nautical miles of Canadian territory. I would be interested to know under what principle Canada claims the waters in the passage beyond the twelve-mile limit, if it does so.

    The question of maritime transit rights is of course separate from the much larger exclusive economic zones that Canada and other nations rightfully claim over offshore fishing and other economic uses.

  4. Ya there are definitely parts of the strait that are wider than 24 miles.

    However, Haro Strait, which I have crossed myself many times while commercial salmon fishing, between the Queen Charlotte Islands and the West Coast of Canada is also much wider than 24 miles, and as far as I know, there has been no claim of those waters being International… Oddly, though the “Inside Passage”, used by cruise ships to go from Vancouver through the Central Coast islands to Prince Rupert and Ketchikan has *also* been claimed as “International” by US authorities and shipping…

    It’s as if they simply claim it as International because it is a passageway that connects more than one country.

    There are also straights between Newfoundland and PEI and PEI and the Mainland that are wider than 24 miles… so the 12 mile limit again doesn’t seem to hold water (ha).

    Regardless, in 1985, the issue was that at no point did the American ship call Canadian authorities and at many points, the straits they would have entered would have been well within the 12 mile territorial limit.


  5. I for one am incensed that the Canadian government has taken such a cavalier attitude towards asserting its sovereignty over the northern waters which includes the Northwest passage.

    I believe a “beefed up” naval presencew in this area is needed to assert our sovereignty and let it be known internationally that transiting these waters requires prior approval of the Canadian Government.

    Legally, could Canada establish a “Suez, Panama” canal situation once the passage is open for commercial vessels to traverse?

    Anyone’s thoughts would be appreciated


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