Title: White paper on defence of Canada - Conclusion
Several years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet empire, Canada finds itself in a world fundamentally transformed, characterized by considerable turbulence and uncertainty. Similarly, at home, Canadians now live and work in a society of more limited resources and new challenges, where many of the old rules and certainties have lost their validity. In these circumstances, ensuring Canada's security and defining an appropriate role for our armed forces is more than ever a challenge for all Canadians.
With this White Paper, the Government has fulfilled its obligation to provide Canadians with an effective, realistic and affordable defence policy. From the outset, our objective was not to discard sound practices in favour of simplistic solutions. Rather, the Government was committed to reviewing carefully every aspect of Canada's defence policy so that it could make reasoned judgements on how best to ensure the nation's security and well-being. At the heart of our approach were extensive and far-reaching public consultations, lasting for most of 1994. The Government believes the defence policy enunciated in this White Paper reflects a Canadian consensus.
The White Paper affirms the need to maintain multi-purpose, combat-capable sea, land and air forces that will protect Canadians and project their interests and values abroad. It also concludes that to maximize the contributions of our armed forces, their traditional roles -protecting Canada, cooperating with the United States in the defence of North America, and participating in peacekeeping and other multilateral operations elsewhere in the world - should evolve in a way that is consistent with today's strategic and fiscal realities.
The Canadian Forces will maintain core capabilities to protect the country's territory and approaches, and to further national objectives. Given that the direct military threat to the continent is greatly diminished at present, Canada will reduce the level of resources devoted to traditional missions in North America. It will, however, remain actively engaged in the United Nations, NATO, and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. It will become more actively involved in security issues in Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region.
To achieve these goals, the Regular and Reserve Forces will both be reduced and refocused, the command and control system will be reorganized, and affordable equipment will be purchased so our troops have the means to carry out their missions. The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces will operate more efficiently, making optimum use of infrastructure and equipment, and ensuring full value is derived from the skills, experienceand professionalism of Canada's armed forces and civilian defence employees. The Government will also work towards harmonizing industrial and defence policies to maintain essential defence industrial capabilities.
This policy recognizes that the defence budget will be under continuing pressure as the Government strives to bring the deficit under control. More reductions can and will be accommodated, including the military reductions outlined in this Paper and cuts in the Department's civilian work force arising from a number of additional facilities closures and consolidations. Further savings will be achieved through the elimination, reduction or delay of major acquisition projects currently included in the capital program. Only a few major re-equipment programs remain affordable, and these will directly support the new defence priorities identified in the White Paper. Taken together, these measures will have substantial implications for the Department and the Forces, their members and employees, as well as for local communities and the private sector across Canada.
This White Paper provides Canada's men and women in uniform and their civilian colleagues the direction they require to carry out their duties on behalf of the nation, whether the world of the future is a peaceful and stable one, or is plagued by increasing violence within and among states.
Indeed, whatever the future brings, the new defence policy will enable Canada to respond and adjust as necessary to deal with the range of challenges to our security that could arise, now and into the next century.