An ‘Engaged’ RCN


I have read the article by Ann Griffiths in the latest CNR (“Canada is Back – Via the Navy?”). I think it has exposed the ‘Engaged’ problems faced by the Justin Trudeau government with respect to defence and foreign affairs. In the absence of a companion foreign policy strategy, the Department of National Defence is left to respond to ad hoc requests and decisions of Cabinet. The casualty adverse nature of this government is understandable and this is where the RCN can be an instrument that provides a low risk solution. The problem is that beyond the Persian Gulf there are few naval ‘peace’ missions on offer. However, there are capacity-building opportunities available. There is an opportunity for the government and RCN to engage, as we have seen, with the MCDV deployments to the Gulf of Guinea region and the Operation Caribbe anti-drug deployments. There are opportunities to do more in the Caribbean with training of the coast guards and marine police of small independent states and there are similar opportunities in Sierra Leone and adjoining states in the Gulf of Guinea. I suggest a sequel to the article that delves deeper into such opportunities.

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