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February at the Philosopher’s Cafe: Canada’s military, what should it do?

Jon Ambler will be leading the discussion at the next Philosopher’s Cafe on Feb. 8 about the future of the Canadian Military. - Submitted
Jon Ambler will be leading the discussion at the next Philosopher’s Cafe on Feb. 8 about the future of the Canadian Military.
— image credit: Submitted

This past year the federal government launched a public consultation on the role of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

This year Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan  is expected to release the findings in the form of a “White Paper” review of the main challenges to Canada’s security, the role of the CAF in addressing current threats and challenges, and the resources and capabilities needed to carry out the CAF mandate.

In his mandate letter from the Prime Minister, Minister Sajjan, was directed to renew Canada’s commitment to United Nations peace operations, maintain strong commitments to NORAD and NATO, renew focus on the surveillance and control of Canadian territory and approaches ( particularly the Arctic), ensure our men and women in uniform have the equipment and support they need, and ensure a strong link between defence policy, foreign policy and national security.

Some changes have already occurred. Canada has agreed to lead a new battle group in Latvia. We have committed to a new mission as UN peacekeepers, probably in Africa. We have cancelled the bombing missions in Iraq and increased our support on the ground.

President Obama and now President-elect Trump have chided Canada for not nearly meeting the 2 per cent of GDP military spending in support of NATO. Should we significantly increase the funding of our military?

From time to time people suggest the Coast Guard should move from Oceans Canada to the Department of National Defence. What are the options? What are the risks? Is there a clear path for the government choose?

The public consultation received 25,000 responses. Now it’s your turn. What should the CAF be tasked with in the next 10 or 20 years? How much tax money should be spent?

Join us as Jon Ambler leads us into a discussion on the role of Canada’s military.

Jon Ambler is a retired colonel of the Canadian Forces, having served  as a navigator, Flight Commander, Commanding Officer of 415 (MP) Squadron, and finally Base Commander of 19 Wing Comox. In September 2006 he was appointed an Officer in the Order of Military Merit.

After retirement in 2008, Colonel Ambler served as councillor for the City of Courtenay until 2014. He remains committed to Air Force heritage and works as the Comox Air Force Museum’s Program Manager and Volunteer Coordinator.

Once a month a speaker will introduce a theme to the Café, and then all who attend can join in respectful, non-partisan conversation, or just sit back and listen. Themes are of broad interest and national significance, and have an element of controversy to them.

As with each Café, Jon Ambler will have just 10 minutes to introduce the topic, and then the floor is open for 50 minutes of moderated discussion.

When: Wednesday, Feb. 8, 7-8 p.m.

Cost: Free

Location: Berwick by the sea, Tyee Lounge (take elevator to top floor)

1353 16th Ave. Campbell River. More Info: peter@peterschwarzhoff.ca

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