DPR to be released June 7

KEN POLE  –  May 16, 2017

15 May 2017

The government’s long-awaited Defence Policy Review will be unveiled June 7, two weeks after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a NATO heads of government meeting in Brussels and not before the summit as had been suggested by Transport Minister Marc Garneau.

On May 15, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan confirmed the long-anticipated DPR release date, and mentioned that Canada has been “working with our allies” on policy development, a situation he told reporters is standard operating procedure.

“We’ve discussed the input into our Defence Policy Review – I’ve said that many times – as Canada has input into our allies’ defence policy,” he said. “Multilateralism is very important to have input into our Defence Policy Review as we did the consultation, and that’s what good allies do.”

On May 7, Minister Garneau had suggested that the results of the review would be made public “before the Prime Minister heads to NATO.”

The NATO meeting in Brussels begins May 25, eight days after a meeting of NATO chiefs of defence, and Trudeau is scheduled to leave Ottawa on May 24.

Sajjan explained that June 7 had been chosen partly to accommodate a major policy speech Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is scheduled to deliver after the NATO summit. One of Sajjan’s aides said the government wants to “nestle” defence policy within the foreign policy.

Shortly after talking with reporters, Sajjan left for Washington where he and Freeland were to meet with their U.S. counterparts, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

We’ve been trying to do this for some time,” Sajjan said. “We believe in whole-of-government and looking at the security challenges around the world, and that’s what we’re going to be discussing is all the various challenges.” 

The defence minister also said that Canada had reached out not only to the U.S. but also Britain, Australia and New Zealand – its partners in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance – to see how they reviewed defence policy.

“We took their recommendations, many of them, and incorporating that into ours where we actually added the industry consultation as well, and that’s what good partners do,” he said, adding that the focus of the review is “making sure that we have all the necessary tools and resources for our troops to be able to support Canada, our very important commitment which is NORAD as well and also our responsibility in the world. […] We have enhanced our mission in Iraq, we’re taking a leadership role in NATO, and to all these things it’s focused on output, to making sure we have all the right capabilities [subject to] a very rigorous costing mechanism.”

– Ken Pole