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  • Author: Ken Barker
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The Canadian government is now openly discussing the possibility of making cyberweapons part of its official national defence strategy. The new development was revealed in a recent government white paper, entitled “Strong, Secure, and Engaged” (SSE), which outlined defence policy across a wide range of activities. Specifically, the paper discusses working toward a “more assertive posture in the cyber domain by hardening our defences, and by conducting active cyber operations against potential adversaries in the context of government-authorized military missions” with an explicit commitment to developing cyberattack capabilities. This direction not only opens up new possibilities for Canadian defence, it could also represent significant new risks. Without good answers to the difficult questions this new direction could raise, the country could be headed down a very precarious path.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Colin Robertson
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: On Friday, June 28, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hosts the leaders of the 19 major economic nations and the European Union in Osaka, Japan. As G20 finance ministers noted after their meeting earlier this month “growth remains low and risks remain tilted to the downside. Most importantly, trade and geopolitical tensions have intensified.” Created in the wake of the 2007-2008 “Great Recession”, the G20 is economic multilateralism at work, an insurance policy to prevent globalization going off the rails. This 14th G20 summit is the culmination of a year-long series of ministerial meetings, hosted throughout Japan.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Canada
  • Author: Eugene Lang
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The “America First” agenda will persist well beyond the life of the Trump administration. Washington no longer “has Canada’s back”. We are living in a new age of great power rivalry. Populism poses a major challenge to the rules-based international order. Adult supervision in global politics is in short supply. These are some of the themes that surfaced during a recent CGAI conference titled What Role for Canada on the Global Stage? Implied, if unstated, was that Canada is adrift internationally on these waters, in search of a role in a new world order of which most Canadians seem unaware. The question remained: How should Canada respond to these new global currents in a way befitting a middle power entering the third decade of the 21st century?
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ross Fetterly
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Defence budgets seldom remain constant, despite the long-term orientation required in defence planning. However, short-term fluctuations in funding can disrupt military programs and activities, and the impact can last several years. This is, in part, due to the unique mix of personnel, equipment and operations, which the defence budget funds. In times of rapid and unplanned defence budget reductions, short-term decisions can be made that are not necessarily in the best interest of the efficient and effective management of the armed forces. Indeed, significant unforecasted funding reductions could produce and reinforce dysfunctional behaviour. Defence budget reductions, to be effective, must include reductions in each of personnel, operations and maintenance, and capital categories in order to maintain a balance between current demands and building future capability. This study uses the Royal Canadian Navy to demonstrate the fundamental cost relationships in the management and operation of defence forces, which become evident during periods of rapid funding reductions. Fiscal year 2004-2005 is used as the baseline year for the study. The Canadian navy is used as a case study, although similar case studies could have been done for the Canadian army or air force. The Canadian navy has warships divided between the East and West coasts, with one naval base on each coast. This study reduces the number of ships, and associated base support on each coast, in a defined sequence until all ships are eliminated, and illustrates potential savings throughout this process. The study concludes that unless infrastructure, as well as the number of military and civilian personnel, is reduced as ships are decommissioned, savings are minimal.
  • Topic: National Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Canada
  • Author: Alan Stephenson
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Purchasing a fleet of fighter aircraft is a complex process with many variables and the Canadian government has a duty to ensure the billions of procurement dollars required are properly spent. The interplay between the four dimensions involved in military procurement (military, technological, economic, and political) defies simple analysis. The government has directed the Canadian Armed Forces to ensure Canadian sovereignty, defend North America, and engage in extraterritorial missions. The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) has responded to its responsibilities to support these commitments with a thorough, capability-based Statement of Requirements for the future fighter, taking critical functionalities of operating in the future battlespace and emerging technologies into consideration.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Randolf Mank
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Canada’s contemporary foreign policy has been shaped by deep integration with, and dependence on, the United States, offset by multilateral support for a rules-based international order. The Trump administration’s confrontational nationalism, combined with other global events and trends, has now disrupted Canada’s position and assumptions. This raises the question of whether or not it’s time for a Canadian foreign policy review. While the Trudeau government deserves credit for several initiatives, a series of discontinuities in Canada’s domestic and foreign policies suggests that our interests could be better served. The Canadian government has two main options: it can follow its current path of adjusting its policies in an ad hoc fashion, while waiting out the Trump administration and hoping for more favourable successors, or it can attempt to set Canada on a new path, in which case a foreign policy review would be warranted.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Canada
  • Author: Jeff Collins
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: While both Canada and Australia share similar constitutional frameworks and imperial histories, they are also no stranger to procurement challenges. Cost overruns, delays, regionalism, and protracted intellectual property disputes have all been part of major defence acquisition projects in recent decades. This Policy Paper analyzes the largest and most expensive procurement projects undertaken by either country, Canada’s $73 billion (estimated) National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), launched in 2010, and Australia’s A$90 billion Naval Shipbuilding Plan (NSP), launched in 2017. Each project represents an attempt to implement a rational, multi-decade approach to naval acquisition. Driven by a desire to overcome previous boom-and-bust cycles, the NSS and NSP aim to create a sustainable shipbuilding sector capable of meeting the immediate and future naval demands of Ottawa and Canberra. Neither country has attempted a shipbuilding plan on this scale before.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ron Wallace
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Canada and the Russian Federation have pursued significantly different strategies for economic development and security in their respective circumpolar regions. These policies have resulted in very different northern strategic outcomes. While Canada and its circumpolar neighbours (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway and the United States) have advanced their polar resource claims through the UN, Russia has taken additional bold steps to secure its polar resources. Events since 2000 have demonstrated a fierce Russian political resolve to secure its economic independence from the West and to achieve a prominent place on the world geopolitical stage. In a steadily warming Arctic, Russia has recognized the potential economic and strategic significance of its Northern Sea Route and is now the foremost military and shipping leader in the circumpolar region. Russia continues to accelerate its efforts to re-open abandoned former Soviet Siberian military bases and to construct new operational bases. The largest Russian military build-up in the polar region since 1991 provides an indication that, consistent with its geopolitical aspirations, Russia is prepared to assert and defend its Arctic resources and sea routes. This accelerating Russian presence and military capability, paralleled by certain Chinese initiatives (China increasingly views itself as a near-Arctic state) have occasioned not just re-evaluations, but a reinvigoration of certain Arctic defence postures among circumpolar allies in NATO.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Hanna Norberg
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Blockchain technology is still in its infancy, but already it has begun to revolutionize global trade. Its lure is irresistible because of the simplicity with which it can replace the standard methods of documentation, smooth out logistics, increase transparency, speed up transactions, and ameliorate the planning and tracking of trade. Blockchain essentially provides the supply chain with an unalterable ledger of verified transactions, and thus enables trust every step of the way through the trade process. Every stakeholder involved in that process – from producer to warehouse worker to shipper to financial institution to recipient at the final destination – can trust that the information contained in that indelible ledger is accurate. Fraud will no longer be an issue, middlemen can be eliminated, shipments tracked, quality control maintained to highest standards and consumers can make decisions based on more than the price. Blockchain dramatically reduces the amount of paperwork involved, along with the myriad of agents typically involved in the process, all of this resulting in soaring efficiencies.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Cynthia Bansak, Nicole Simpson
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The federal government has pledged to update Canada’s official development assistance (ODA) policy and this paper examines the potential important role of remittances in the development program. Remittances can serve as a significant form of cross-border capital flows and can have sizable effects on both the sending and receiving countries. This policy piece provides an overview of trends in global remittances and gives a context for the policy discussion on the relationship between remittances and ODA. The paper discusses the primary reasons behind global remittances and their impacts on sending and receiving countries, with a particular emphasis on Canada, the United States and Mexico. Past findings provide insight into the reasons and impacts of remittances on both developed and developing countries. Within the context of Canada, the paper also examines how remittances have been able to complement and possibly drive other development reform efforts domestically and abroad. The goal of the analysis is to help inform the policy discussion in Canada and concludes with a set of policy recommendations for the Canadian federal government.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus