Question 1: Government of Canada Foreign Policy and Defence Policy

Canadian Foreign Policy and Global Governance

Questions for the Canadian Federal Political Parties from the World Federalist Movement – Canada ahead of the 2011 Federal Election

1. Government of Canada Foreign Policy and Defence Policy

The 2005 International Policy Statement as well as the 2008 Canada First Defence Policy were both criticized for lacking a transparent, consultative process and sufficient involvement of parliamentarians and civil society.

Will your party strive to ensure that the next government initiate thorough foreign policy and defence policy reviews, involving traditional Green Paper / White Paper Parliamentary Committee Review processes and parliamentary debates?

Bloc Québécois

Les conservateurs n’ont jamais présenté formellement leurs orientations en matière de politique étrangère à la population, afin que cette dernière sache ce qu’il en sera lorsque le gouvernement fédéral interviendra sur la scène internationale. En d’autres mots, le gouvernement Harper évacue tout débat sur les orientations de la politique étrangère de son gouvernement. 

Depuis l’arrivée des conservateurs, nous exigeons que le gouvernement présente une politique de la Défense afin d’encadrer les dépenses dans ce domaine. Ce gouvernement s’est lancé dans une série de dépenses exorbitantes sans tenir un vaste débat sur les orientations à donner au mandat des Forces armées.

Si nous demandons une politique de la Défense pour encadrer les dépenses militaires, nous croyons qu’une telle politique doit être subordonnée à une politique des Affaires étrangères. Or, ce n’est toujours pas le cas. Les quelques analyses géopolitiques, contenu dans cette politique de Défense, ne sont que des généralités et des affirmations simplistes. Rien de solide pour appuyer et justifier les hausses importantes du budget de la Défense. 

Nous croyons qu’il faut tenir un large débat sur le rôle que le Canada veut confier à son armée et sur le type de forces armées qui peut le remplir. Des choix quant aux priorités doivent être faits. 
Quant à lui, le Bloc privilégie les opérations multilatérales de rétablissement et de maintien de la paix. Certains besoins sont là, mais des choix doivent être faits, après une consultation publique d’envergure.

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The Conservatives have never formally presented their guidelines for foreign policy to the public so that the public knows what will happen when the federal government intervenes on the international stage. In other words, the Harper government removes any debate on the direction of foreign policy of his government.

Since the arrival of the Conservatives, we have demanded that the government present a Defense policy in order to oversee spending in this area. This government has embarked on a series of exorbitant spending without holding a broad debate on the guidance to give to the mandate of the Armed Forces.

If we demand a Defense policy to oversee military spending, we believe that such a policy must be subordinate to a Foreign Affairs policy. However, this is not always the case. The few geopolitical analyses, contained in this Defense policy, are nothing but generalities and simplistic assertions. Nothing solid to support and justify the large increases in the Defense budget. 

We believe a broad debate must be held on the role that Canada wants to entrust to its army and on the type of armed forces who can fill it. Choices about priorities must be made.
Meanwhile, the Bloc gives priority to multilateral peacemaking and peacekeeping. Some needs are there, but choices must be made, after an extensive public consultation.


Conservative Party of Canada

from the Conservative Party web site (retrieved in March 2011):

(1) Conservative Party of Canada Policy Declaration, as amended by the delegates to the National Convention on November 15, 2008, at page 42.

122. Canada First Defence Strategy 
The Conservative Party believes that the purpose of Canada’s defence policy is to better defend the national interest – the security of the Canadian nation and the economic prosperity of the Canadian people – in accord with the values of Canadians. In all that we do in the area of defence policy, we will apply this basic measure of the national interest, and advance the “Canada First Defence Strategy” (CFDS). 

i) We support the CFDS because: 
a) CFDS clearly lays out the priority tasks for the armed forces; surveillance and control of Canadian territory and the protection of Canada and Canadians, a strong and reliable partnership with the US in the defence of North America; a strong leadership role in international security and stability operations 
b) CFDS is a 20-year strategy supported by assured long term funding to strengthen the four pillars of defence; personnel; equipment; readiness and infrastructure. The Strategy provides for a balanced increase in across these 4 pillars, including increasing the personnel strength of the CF and the replacement of all the major equipment systems with new more capable platforms. 
c) CFDS not only raises the strength of our armed forces but provides our soldiers, sailors and airmen with the best and most modern equipment to carry out the tasks assigned to them. The increase in personnel will reduce stress on soldiers and their families; increased funding for readiness means better and more focused training and the improvement in infrastructure will contribute to bettering the lifestyle of the military community. 
d) CFDS gives Canadian industry a unique opportunity, through predictable funding and timelines, to plan and prepare in the longer term for the development of equipment and systems to support our Armed Forces. The Strategy will help the Canadian defence industry maintain and build their lead in many areas of advanced technology while providing quality jobs for thousands of Canadians across the country.


Green Party of Canada

Yes. The Green Party of Canada is committed to ensuring that Canadian foreign policy reflects the values of Canadians. To that end we are committed to a full consultative process for developing foreign policy that is as open and accessible as possible. The Green Party of Canada also supports robust NGO engagement in foreign policy and we would restore funding to the CCIC. Canadians should be able to know why decisions are made, and what the expected outcomes are.

This requires a parliament and a prime minister that are accountable to the public.

The Green Party of Canada therefore supports democratic reforms which will better represent the will of Canadians. A Green Government will establish a Public Inquiry into Democracy, with powers of a Royal Commission, to engage Canadians from coast to coast and address anti-democratic trends within Canada. The recommendations of the Public Inquiry will be presented as options to Canadian voters.


Liberal Party of Canada

A Liberal government’s basic view of Canadian foreign policy is and will be very different from that of the Conservatives these past five years. As reflected in the foreign affairs section of our 2011 election platform, “Canada in the World: A Global Networks Strategy,” we favour an open, engaged and transparent process for policy development, whether with Parliament, civil society or our international allies. We have already conducted meetings with over 200 domestic NGOs, civil society and other groups to this end.

A Liberal government will also ensure a significant role going forward for Canadian civil society in Canada’s international policy, aid spending and development work. CIDA’s reputation has suffered from its heavy-handed approach to NGOs under the Conservative government. Civil society must be engaged for CIDA and Canada’s aid contribution to realize their full potential. We will seek to repair the damage to key Canadian international NGOs by the decimating funding cuts of the Conservatives. This transparent relationship should be based on standards informed by the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act as well as the newly agreed “Istanbul Principles” and possibly the International Aid Transparency Initiative.

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Le point de vue fondamental d’un gouvernement libéral de la politique étrangère canadienne est et sera très différent de celui que les conservateurs ont eu ces dernières cinq années. Comme en témoigne la section affaires étrangères de notre plate-forme électorale de 2011, « Le Canada dans le monde : une Stratégie des réseaux mondiaux », nous privilégions une solution transparente et ouverte pour le développement de politiques, que ce soit avec le Parlement, la société civile ou nos alliés internationaux. Pour ce faire, nous avons déjà eu des rencontres avec plus de 200 ONG nationales, la société civile et d’autres groupes.

Un gouvernement libéral s’assurera aussi de jouer un rôle important d’incitation à aller de l’avant auprès de la société civile canadienne concernant la politique internationale dans la dépense de l’aide du Canada et du travail de développement. La réputation de l’ACDI a souffert de son approche trop autoritaire envers les ONG sous les conservateurs. La société civile doit jouer un rôle actif pour que l’ACDI et la contribution du Canada à l’aide et au développement réalisent leur plein potentiel. Nous chercherons à réparer les dommages causés aux ONG canadiennes et internationales clés par les réductions drastiques des financements voulues par les conservateurs. Cette relation transparente devrait reposer sur les normes qui sont à la base de la Loi sur la responsabilité en matière d’aide au développement officielle, des nouveaux « principes d’Istanbul » et probablement de l’initiative sur la transparence en matière d’aide internationale.


New Democratic Party

New Democrats have always stood for adopting a transparent, consultative approach to developing policy. It has been New Democrats who have pushed for debates on vital issues like Canada’s mission in Afghanistan.

A New Democrat government would focus Canada’s military on three main priorities: defending Canada; providing support for UN peacemaking, peace-building and peacekeeping around the world; and assisting people facing natural catastrophes, including floods, earthquakes, forest fires and other emergencies, both at home and abroad.

Further, we will begin drafting a Defence White Paper immediately, redefining our military’s role, its priorities and needs, to be completed within 12 months. During that time, all major defence projects will be reviewed.

In Foreign Affairs we will get Canada on track to fulfilling our longstanding commitment to increase our Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) budget to 0.7 per cent of GDP.