A Role of Pride and Influence in the World is the first review of Canada's defence policy in more than 10 years, and presents a vital new vision for the Canadian Forces that is firmly grounded in the realities of the post-Cold War, post-September 11th world. It is also informed by the rich operational experience of the Canadian Forces, both in Canada and locations ranging from Afghanistan to the Balkans, to Haiti.Events such as the tragic attacks against our neighbours on September 11, 2001, demonstrate that Canada is also vulnerable to terrorism and threats emanating from failed and failing states around the world.
This document articulates a vision for Canada's global engagement. Our first comprehensive, integrated international policy framework, the Statement delivers on the Government's commitment to invest in our international role.
To respond to these threats, the new policy statement sets out a plan to make Canadian security the first priority for the Canadian Forces. To better protect Canada and Canadians, the Canadian Forces will be reorganized to more effectively and quickly respond to domestic crises, as well as support other Government departments as required.
For over sixty years, we have worked collaboratively with the United States to ensure the protection of North America. We will continue to build on the successful bilateral defence arrangements currently in place, such as NOARD and the Bi-National Planning Group. And we will seek to develop new, innovative approaches to defence co-operation with the United States to better meet the threats to both countries.
Enhanced focus on domestic and continental security, however, does not mean a reduction in Canada's special international role. The new policy statement recognizes that security at home often begins with security abroad. The Canadian Forces must continue to play multiple roles in defending Canada, protecting our interests, and enhancing Canada's contribution to global security and peace building.
To meet these commitments, the new policy statement calls for key changes to the organization and planning of the Canadian Forces. Together these changes will regenerate and strengthen the Canadian Forces.
With the new resources provided in Budget 2005, the largest increase in the defence budget in a generation, the Canadian Forces are well positioned to implement these changes, and will work to recruit new personnel, replace outdated equipment and make many other key improvements.
The new visionary leadership in the Canadian Forces will oversee these changes and transform the Forces into a relevant, responsive and effective team – a team that is made up of some of the world's most dedicated, professional, skillful soldiers, sailors, and air personnel.
And with this new defence policy statement, we have the intellectual framework required to guide and shape the Canadian Forces to face the defence and security challenges of the 21st century.
In short, we have the right vision for the Canadian Forces, we have the right leadership and people to put the vision into action, and with the commitment of the Government in the recent budget we have the means to implement it.
It is with great pleasure that I introduce this policy statement to Canadians and I look forward to the discussions it will engender both in Parliament and across the country.
Through these combined efforts I believe we are building a national institution that Canadians can continue to be proud of and one that will contribute significantly to Canada's security needs for years to come.