by David J. Bercuson
November 27, 2018
The Canadian military seems to be spread all over these days. During its deployment in Afghanistan, most of Canada’s non-North American military effort, especially that of the army, was focused almost exclusively on that mission. That was in keeping with the views of then Chief of the Defence Staff Rick Hillier—and apparently shared by Prime Minister Paul Martin and Defence Minister Bill Graham—that Canada should no longer send small deployments to different trouble spots in the world. Instead, Canada would concentrate a large force (for Canada) in one place to gain the most political influence possible.
That place, of course, was the province of Kandahar. It will be up to the historians and political scientists to show, over time, whether there was any merit to that approach.
The current government obviously looks at Canadian military deployment in an entirely different manner. Current Canadian deployments are spread over several different missions, with no more than 500 or so troops in any one place at any one time, in situations where they are hardly likely to suffer casualties but would be doing important work in the missions to which they have been assigned.