Winter 2004 (Volume II, Issue IV)
Promoting new understanding and improvement of Canadian foreign and defence policy.
In this issue:
- Message from the President – Robert S. Millar
- CDFAI New Fellow
- Congratulations – Ross Munro Award Recipient
- Research Paper: Confusing The Innocent With Numbers And Categories: The International Policy Statement And The Concentration Of Development Assistance
- Article: Some thoughts about soldiers’ complaints and the Ombudsman - Anne Irwin
- Article: Security and North American Relationships – Reid Morden
- Article: Just the Facts, Ma’am: Measuring Canadian Multilateralism and Listening to Our Global Conscience – Frank Harvey
- About Our Organization
Welcome to the Winter issue of “The Dispatch” newsletter. In this edition we introduce one new Fellow, Nelson Michaud from Laval University to our network of Canadians interested in providing informed opinion on Canadian security, defence and foreign affairs issues.
Since our last newsletter CDFAI co-sponsored, with the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at University of Calgary, a Conference on The Special Commission on the Restructure of the Reserves, 1995: Ten Years Later from December 2-4. The Conference was well attended with each of the Chief of Maritime Staff, Chief of Land Staff and Chief of Air Staff, as well as Commander Canada Command, making prsentations.
Confusing The Innocent With Numbers And Categories: The International Policy Statement And The Concentration Of Development Assistance written by Denis Stairs and released mid-December is the last in this year’s research paper series.
The three articles in this newsletter continue the discussion on Canada’s evolving role on the international scene. The first article written by Anne Irwin is titled “Some thoughts about soldiers’ complaints and the Ombudsman.” Dr Irwin uses her PhD thesis research to situate the challenges that Yves Côté recently announced as the new Canadian Forces Ombudsman, will face.
Reid Morden has written an interesting article on “Security and North American Relationships” in which he discusses the ubiquitous nature of security in any discussions about cooperation and coordination with our North American neighbours, no matter what the subject. He discusses border security, intelligence agencies and activist foreign policies as necessary but carry a risk for Canada.
“Just the Facts, Ma’am: Measuring Canadian Multilateralism and Listening to Our Global Conscience” authored by Frank Harvey discusses the Global Partnership Program Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction (GPP) and one of the most serious security threats facing our world today. Dr Harvey moves behind the rhetoric of the recently released DFAIT report on this subject and analyzes Canada’s performance.
As 2005 draws to a close and the Federal election is underway, all of us at CDFAI, wish all of you our readers, a Merry Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New Year. These are challenging times for Canada and there is so much that this country can and should do.
Enjoy this newsletter; if you have any comments please contact us.
|Nelson Michaud (Ph.D. Laval) is Associate professor of Political Science and International Relations, Chair of Laboratoire d’étude sur les politiques publiques et la mondialisation (LEPPM) et and Chair of the Groupe d’études, de recherche et de formation internationales (Gerfi) at the École nationale d’administration publique; he is Researcher-Member of the Institut québécois des Hautes Études Internationales, Associate Researcher at the Centre d’études interaméricaines and Research fellow at the Centre for foreign policy studies (Dalhousie University). He has taught at Dalhousie and Laval Universities and has been invited as a guest professor at the Canadian Royal Military College.|
2005 - Ross Munro Media Award Recipient: Bruce Campion-Smith The Conference of Defence Associations Institute (CDAI) and the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute (CDFAI) are pleased to announce that Bruce Campion-Smith has been selected as the recipient of the 2005 Ross Munro Award.
Click here for more information.
Confusing The Innocent With Numbers And Categories: The International Policy Statement And The Concentration Of Development Assistance.
On December 15, 2005, Dr. Denis Stairs’ paper entitled: Confusing The Innocent With Numbers And Categories: The International Policy Statement And The Concentration Of Development Assistance was released. In April the federal government presented Canadians with an International Policy Statement (IPS) that the government said would bring greater strategic focus to Canada’s development assistance. In his paper released today for CDFAI, Dr. Stairs concludes the IPS has changed almost nothing with respect to development assistance. The complete paper is available online at www.cdfai.org.
Click here to dowload the full-length paper in PDF format.
This is the final research paper for 2005. A similar series of papers will be released in 2006.
by Anne Irwin
Now that the new Ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces has reported for duty, we shall see whether he interprets his mandate in the same fashion as did his predecessor, André Marin. The current Ombudsman, Yves Côté, appointed in July 2005, certainly has big shoes to fill. Throughout the eight years of his tenure, Marin interpreted his terms of reference very liberally, and on March 30th, 2005, he issued an unsolicited White Paper in which he called for the enshrinement of the position in the National Defence Act and an extension of the Ombudsman’s mandate to include complaints which are now covered under the Military Police Complaints Commission as well as those that have been made under the Forces’ internal Redress of Grievance procedure, which are at this time exempt from his jurisdiction.
The Office of the Ombudsman for the Canadian Forces/Department of National Defence was established in 1998 as part of a number of policies intended to increase civilian oversight of and transparency in the military in the wake of the Somalia inquiry and reports of widespread sexual harassment and poor morale in the CF. The Ombudsman acts independently of the chain of command and reports directly to the Minister. The establishment of this new forum for the complaints of serving and retired personnel was not greeted with enthusiasm by the higher leadership of the CF; in fact, in his final annual report André Marin accused the chain of command of “ … defensiveness and an unwillingness to evaluate [his] criticism with objectivity and introspection” (www.ombudsman.forces.gc.ca/reports/annual/2003-2004_e.asp). Relations between the Ombudsman and the senior leadership of the CF deteriorated to such an extent that there were reports of probes and investigations of the Ombudsman’s office by senior military officers, with Marin suggesting that these were attempts to “undercut his office” (Pugliese 2005).
It might seem that this resistance on the part of the CF leadership was simply due to a conservative mindset bent on protecting the status quo and, perhaps, even on professional jealousy. The argument can be made, however, that something more fundamental yet complex was going on: this perceived defensiveness can be traced in part to a cultural gap between the Ombudsman’s staff and the senior leadership of the Canadian Forces. More specifically, this cultural gap entailed a very different understanding of the nature of discourses of complaints within the military.
Soldiers have always been complainers. Despite the fact that they belong to a hypermasculine culture which values stoicism and physical toughness, soldiers are chronic, creative and voluble complainers. Complaint is so much a part of the soldier’s everyday life that when officers and NCOs are assessing soldiers’ capabilities, the quality of being a non-complainer is worthy of comment, as the following, recorded during a meeting at which soldiers were being evaluated, demonstrates: “in our platoon I can't see Vanik moving ahead of Martin … Martin never complains”. During the same meeting, when asked how a particular soldier performed in the field, a Warrant Officer replied, “he doesn't complain, he never complains”. Both of the soldiers in question were indeed hard workers, but they certainly participated quite regularly and enthusiastically in the litany of complaints that was a feature of soldiers’ routine discourse. What constitutes a complaint, then, is not a simple thing.
There are a number of different types of complaints which soldiers regularly make, and not all of them, in fact, most of them, are not directed at redressing a wrong. The majority of complaints routinely made by soldiers are in the form of derogations, which are negative statements without the intent of changing a situation (Weeks 2004). Although they are not attempts at changing an unpleasant situation, derogations are not pointless, but, in fact, serve a number of different functions in the context of the culture of an infantry battalion. One of the most important functions they serve is to define the complainer as an insider, because one of the markers of cultural competence in a given social setting is knowing how to complain effectively. Members demonstrate their cultural competence by recognizing the settings in which particular types of complaint are acceptable and by framing their complaints such that they are responded to in the way intended or hoped for by the complainer.
Derogations include a number of sub-types of complaints, among them: complaints which serve as a running commentary on the moral shortcomings of superiors; complaints on behalf of subordinates, intended to demonstrate an intermediate commander’s concern for the welfare of his or her troops; and complaints about the physical hardships which soldiers are expected to tolerate. This last sub-type is used creatively by soldiers to validate claims to particular experiences and thereby to bolster their identities as warriors. These derogations are so common and, indeed, expected, that officers treat the absence of complaint as a noticeable matter, interpreting lack of complaint as evidence of poor morale.
The problem facing soldiers is that, in a setting like the army, in which complaining is endemic, in order for a complaint to be heard above the noise of chronic grumbling as a genuine request for redress or change a soldier must complain very loudly. But to complain loudly enough to be heard is to risk being labeled a complainer or a whiner. The alternative to go silent, to become mute, which contributes to the folk wisdom that when soldiers stop complaining it is the time to start worrying about morale.
The fundamental misunderstanding that lies behind the defensiveness of the senior leadership of the CF to the activities of the Ombudsman relates to the tendency of military leaders to hear all complaints as derogations, and not worthy of attention, or as coming from “whiners and complainers” and discount them, while only paying attention to the silences. In contrast, the Ombudsman hears all complaints as requests for redress and worthy of attention, even if some of the complaints he hears may be meant as derogations. The new Ombudsman is a lawyer with extensive experience in human rights. He is also a former military legal officer. It remains to be seen whether he will be able to bridge the cultural gap with the senior leadership of the CF.
1 The analysis which follows is based on anthropological fieldwork which I conducted with an infantry regiment; the complaint discourses I collected and analyzed may well, and probably do, differ in the other elements and arms of the Forces. The fieldwork was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship Award #52-94-0219 and the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester for which I am very grateful.
The three countries of North America are struggling with the question of whether it is desirable, or possible, to take two sets of multilayered arrangements with substantial histories and find enough points of commonality to build a true trilateral North American community.
There are differing views. Should NAFTA be the vehicle for launching labour, social, and other initiatives as part of a trilateral building process? Should we “clutter” Canada’s vital bilateral relationship with the United States with the massive complexity of Mexico-US affairs?”1
Whatever the differing views on the broader issue, North American security issues are almost ubiquitous whenever there is talk about closer coordination and cooperation. Why? One need look no further than the statement by the leaders of the three countries in Waco, Texas, in the spring of this year. There, the three leaders declared that “Our (Security and Prosperity) Partnership will ……….. increase the security, prosperity, and quality of life of our citizens. This work will be based on the principle that our security and prosperity are mutually dependent and complementary…..”2
Complementary? Not likely. To borrow a phrase from Paul Cellucci, the former US ambassador to Canada, security, post 9/11, trumps trade. Dr. Frank Harvey at Dalhousie University puts it a little differently: “The economics of security (the negative economic impact of security failures) will invariably trump the security of economics (the positive impact of sound economic policies) for at least two reasons: “First, any terrorist attack on U.S. soil will inevitably have a major, immediate and uniformly negative impact on the American (and international) economy anyway. Second, in a security-conscious society faced with the challenge of perfection in the war on terror, the loss of 3,000 lives will invariably be perceived by the American public as a far more significant tragedy than the loss of 300,000 jobs. Conversely, the potential to save 3,000 lives will be perceived as far more important than the potential to create 300,000 new jobs.”3
What is Dr. Harvey getting at? The 2004 Auditor General’s report on Canada’s contributions to security after 9/11 summarized Canadian priorities in terms of a profound sense of “economic insecurity” resulting from “heightened border security” and the “shutdown of civil air transport”.4 In short, while the Americans are very worried about another attack, the strategic calculations in Canada remain focused on preventing or mitigating the economic consequences of America’s response. This is understandable given our economic dependence on the U.S. -- 43% of our wealth; 87% of our trade; the 35,000 trucks and 500,000 individuals cross the border every day. Billions of dollars tied to Canada-U.S. trade were lost as a direct consequence of 9/11, and despite the obvious economic benefits to both countries of keeping the border open, there is no reason to expect a different outcome after the next attacks.5
Obviously, multilateral approaches to gathering and coordinating intelligence on terrorist activities and recruitment efforts, or tracking terrorist fund raising and other financial activities, are likely to be more efficient and cost effective than trying to do these things alone.
Except that intelligence organisms, wherever they may be housed (intelligence agencies, police forces, immigration services) are not prone to share. In fact they are highly allergic to sharing even with the occupant of the next office, never mind----foreigners. When they do share, it is the result of broadly perceived and accepted national interest and years in the build up of mutual trust and confidence. This is a reality between Canada and the US. It is not a reality between Canada and Mexico. It is a partial reality between the US and Mexico, driven by drugs, crime, and immigration factors.
Leaving this cavil aside, the leaders missed an opportunity in Waco to look at the continent as a single entity, a single perimeter, in all aspects of which each of the three countries has an individual and collective interest. The idea of a perimeter causes a neuralgic reaction among many politicians in Canada. They fear that giving content to the concept will lead to the “harmonization” of laws with others (read USA) on the continent, thereby inevitably leading to a loss of sovereignty. That is utter nonsense and John Manley, Pedro Aspé and Governor Weld, in their report of the Independent Task Force on the future of North America, have addressed this head on.6
Dr. Janice Stein of the University of Toronto describes where terrorist networks work most effectively:
“Often with life-cycles of decades, networks of terror thrive on the openness, flexibility and diversity of post-industrial society, crossing borders almost as easily as do goods and services, knowledge and cultures. They have global reach, particularly when they can operate within the fabric of the most open and multicultural societies, and through post-industrial organizational forms.”7
How well that could describe Canadian society today!
Simply as the next door neighbour and traditional close ally of the United States, the principal target of the terrorist’s wrath, Canada and Canadians have become targets.
In the past, Canada has always been able to say that if there was a terrorist presence or activity here, it was because some small elements of an immigrant community had imported their homeland strife. Now, however, Canada’s very foreign policy leads us into areas of ideological and religious conflict where violence, more often than not, is seen as a means of resolution. In short, our own policies and actions may well motivate those who disagree with us to retaliate on Canadian soil.
Closer to home, nothing is more important than our overall relationship with the United States. Thus, in the intelligence and security community, nothing could be more important than its ability to manage the border. The chance arrest of would-be bomber, Ahmed Ressam, at the BC/Washington border just before the millennium still resonates among many American politicians and media as evidence of a porous, and therefore dangerous, border. While their criticisms may not be well founded, they continue to have an important impact on Americans. Canada is not “a Club Med for terrorists” but there remains a very serious job of re-building trust and confidence with the American administration, the American Congress and American public opinion.
In Canada this essentially starts with the RCMP and the CSIS. They must, at all costs, deepen and strengthen their internal cooperation, and their exterior links. Adequate funding to play a truly cooperative and effective role is a sine qua non. Equally neither Canadian governments nor Canadian citizens should be tolerant of any continuation of earlier turf wars and the obvious lack of trust and cooperation.
In his autobiography, Louis Freeh, former Director of the FBI, reflects on the fragility of public trust in government institutions8. This is relevant in today’s Canada. Leaders of both the RCMP and CSIS have a role to play in explaining their role and functions to Canadians at large. Even more important, it is vital for Canada’s political leadership to be at the forefront of public education and public debate. They must not wait for a tragedy, as with the bombings in London this past summer, to concede that there may be a problem.
In sum, the terrorist issue is going to be with us for a long time. Like it or not Canada is involved. Involved as a matter of self interest in keeping our southern border open. Involved because an activist foreign policy, which few Canadians would wish to change, carries with it real risk in this volatile and dangerous century. Most important, open debate is crucial so that Canadians can better draw the line between essential security needs and their rights and freedoms.
1 Jean Daudelin, The Tri-Lateral Mirage: The Tale of Two North Americas, Carleton University, May, 2003
by Frank Harvey
The International Policy Statement (IPS) was not the only major document to be released by the Canadian Government in 2005. Shortly after the IPS hit the streets Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew released the inaugural Annual Report of Canada’s contribution to the Global Partnership Program Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction (GPP).1
Since proposing the program in 2002 at the G8 meeting in Kananaskis, Alberta, the Canadian government has consistently highlighted the Global Partnership as a key foreign policy priority, for a very good reason – the program deals with “one of the most serious security threats facing our world today.”2 The report goes on to point out that the GPP constitutes “a new generation of funded mechanisms that deliver policy through direct project implementation….Together, they respond to the priorities set out in Canada’s International Policy Statement issued in April 2005 and offer a vibrant reminder that Canada has an important role to play in international affairs.” In others words, the GPP encompasses a prime example of the specific programs, projects and actual funding priorities that put the words of the IPS into practice. As Pettigrew (2005: 1) correctly points in his introductory remarks, “making such a commitment is one thing; making good on it is another,” and he invites all Canadians “to read this report and take pride in how we are meeting our international responsibilities.”3
I accept the invitation and offer the following report card on Canada’s performance. I will leave it to others to decide how proud Canadians should be.
Comparing Multilateral Commitments
Figure 1 compares country pledges, commitments and spending since 2002 (all funds are in Canadian currency).4 From the point of view of measuring real investments (as distinct from promises), pledges are not as relevant as commitments, and commitments, in turn, are less relevant than actual spending. Arguably the most relevant measure of a state’s priorities emerges from Figure 2 -- the proportion of a country’s ‘commitment’ that remains ‘unspent’. France and Italy deserve special mention here for spending nothing on GPP programs during the three year reporting period – 100% of committed funds remain unspent. However, among G8 members who have expressed at least some serious interest in dealing with the global threat of proliferation, Canada ranks third, behind France and Italy, in its failure to spend a large portion of the money committed to GPP projects -- 76% of committed funds remain unspent. A third place finish in this category is particularly noteworthy in view of the repeated references to the GPP in the International Policy Statement, in Canada’s National Security Policy, and in almost every major speech by a Canadian official on the issue of non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament since 2002.
Why has it been so difficult for Canada to find and fund projects worthy of any portion of the remaining $276,049,600 the government committed to help deal with “one of the most serious security threats facing our world today”? Ottawa’s reluctance to live up to its multilateral commitments is even more puzzling considering the fact that other GPP participants managed in the same period to find and fund projects totalling $3,724,771,737 -- roughly 13.5 times the amount Canada is having a hard time spending (Figure 3).
With these facts in mind, the following excerpts from the International Policy Statement can now be placed in their proper context:
The Prime Minister and other senior government officials have an even more important “responsibility to be honest,” as Kim Nossal concludes in his excellent contribution to the 2005 CDFAI report on Canada’s International Policy Statement.x If Canada has such a hard time meeting commitments to a policy initiative it considers a priority, one has to wonder how well the government is doing with other ‘important’ policy initiatives (Kyoto benchmarks, foreign aid, AIDS in Africa, our Responsibility to Protect the people of Darfur, etc.).
Perhaps the most relevant numbers to emerge from a comparative assessment of GPP contributions is the fact that American investments account for 72% of all spending to date, compared with 25.7% from everyone else, and 2.3% from Canada (Figure 4). Despite having a GDP that is only 11 times larger than Canada’s, the U.S. has spent almost 31 times more on GPP initiatives. Germany’s GDP is about 2.3 times Canada’s yet it has spent almost 4 times as much. Conversely, Canada’s GDP is about 5.6 times that of Norway’s but Ottawa has spent only about 1.8 times more on GPP projects.
Canadian officials repeatedly claim to be among the world’s staunchest defenders of multilateralism, but they obviously have something very important to learn from the world’s most criticised unilateralist about how to make meaningful and honest contributions to multilateral security.
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CDFAI or the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute is a unique charitable organization, headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. It is the largest Canadian non-governmental organization dedicated solely to studying and providing policy recommendations on Canadian defence, security and foreign affairs issues.
Canadians depend on and support a world that is politically free and open. Both Canadian values and Canadian interests are served by the free flow of people, goods, and ideas across international boundaries. Such a world requires a strong Canadian diplomatic presence, effective security and adequate military capacity. CDFAI is dedicated to educating the Canadian public about the importance of these issues.
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"There is a connection between a democratic and prosperous Canada and an active and engaged Canadian foreign policy. Let us refer to this as “Canada’s necessary international connection.” From the earliest colonial days to the present, Canada’s small population base has made it imperative for Canada to trade abroad in order to achieve a high standard of living. Canada has also required substantial inflows of immigrants to build its population base and it has always needed access not only to international markets, but also ideas."
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