Canada’s Security Policies

Published: Winter 2002-2003    |    By: George Lindsey et al.    |    Volume 60, No. 2


The new federal government under Paul Martin has stated its intention to reverse the decline, evident over the last few decades, in Canada’s position in the world. Achieving this goal will involve review and revision of our present programs in the areas of foreign policy, security policy, and international aid policy, which are to a considerable degree interdependent. This paper relates mainly to security and defence policies and programs.

Canada’s basic defence objectives remain very much the same as they have been since the end of the Second World War. Our situation in North America, our vast extent and our wealth of resources, to say nothing of our proud military history, require us to maintain armed forces. We must ensure the protection of our sovereign territory. We wish to co-operate with like-minded countries in defending against possible external aggression, and in preventing or containing threats to peace and security elsewhere in the world. Like most other developed countries, Canada is currently seeking to reorient its international relations in the aftermath of the Cold War and following the emergence of new and very different threats to peace and stability. Some of these threats relate not only to the world outside, but also to our own territory.

About the Author

This paper, prepared by George Lindsey, is based on discussions of a study group organized by the National Capital Branch of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs. The members of the study group, mostly retired after long service in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade or the Department of National Defence, were BGen Clay Beattie, Bob Cameron, Col Ron Cleminson, Bob Edmonds, Ross Francis, Dwight Fulford, George Grande, BGen Keith Greenaway, John Hadwen, Hugh Henry, David Kirkwood, George Lindsey, Blair Seaborn, Ken Williamson and Gerry Wright.