Office of the Prime Minister
House of Commons
Dear Prime Minister,
Enclosed you will find a package [containing two appreciations: Sea Horses for a Canadian BOFIB – A Rapid Reaction Force That Counts and An Appreciation: Meeting The Needs of Joint Overseas Deployments of Canadian Forces In Support of Our Foreign Policies] with recommendations for a military option born from a desire that the Canadian government have an enhanced ability to make a credible military contribution abroad in a much more timely manner than is now the case.
Myself and three other former officers embarked on this project. The larger group of retired senior officers listed overleaf subsequently endorsed our recommendations. All three services and all political stripes and persuasions were involved in the undertaking. We undertook it with the best interests of the nation at heart, in anticipation that, if accepted and implemented, it would significantly improve Canada’s security at home and abroad.
During the research and deliberation phases, our drafts and conclusions were available to those who requested them. Some political parties referred to them while developing their own foreign and defence policy platforms. It should be noted that our consultations began well over a year ago and, while we were pleased to see some of our ideas reflected in one party’s policy to date, our recommendations are submitted as a non-partisan document.
A key element of the plan is to restore to the Armed Forces the mobility and support by sea and air that is essential for rapid and effective response in assignments to serve Canada’s vital interests and goals in humanitarian and security operations overseas. This requires a restoration and improvement of the capability we once had in Lester Pearson’s time, in a modern expeditionary ship, not an aircraft carrier but a vessel like those of our large and small NATO allies, able to transport and deliver our troops and equipment swiftly and efficiently.
We have therefore been encouraged by your positive comments, and those of other parties including the Commons and Senate defence committees, regarding the critical role the Canadian Forces execute at home and on the international stage and the need for them to have the proper numbers and equipment to do the job. As such, a copy of the letter has been sent to the leader of the Official Opposition and the Chairs of those committees.
While the process of rebuilding the Armed Forces will take at least a decade, the implementation of these recommendations would concurrently permit Canada’s continued international military participation in a meaningful and improved manner when so desired.
Two documents are enclosed. The narrative establishing the context for our deliberations will be published in the June edition of the Conference of Defence Associations Institute newsletter, On Track. The military appreciation that gave birth to the narrative is also enclosed for those who wish to review our thought process in more detail, and it will be posted on the Royal United Services Institute (Vancouver Island) web site www.rusiviccda.org.
Should you or your staff be interested in a more comprehensive briefing on the enclosed recommendations, we would be pleased to do so.
//Original signed by Lewis MacKenzie, MGen (Ret)//
CC: Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Minister of National Defence,
Chief of Defence Staff,
Leader of the Loyal Opposition,
Chairmen of the Commons and Senate Defence Committees.
Panel Of Supporting Retired Senior Officers
- Lieutenant General C. H. Belzile
- Lieutenant General R. Crabbe
- Lieutenant General K. Foster
- Lieutenant General J. Fox
- Major General P. Mitchell
- Major General B. Vernon
- Major General R. Stewart
- Major General R. Goudreau
- Vice Admiral H.A. Porter
- Vice Admiral P.W. Cairns
- Rear Admiral R P. Welland
- Rear Admiral K.J. Summers
- Commodore H.A. Cooper
- Major General D. Wightman
- Brigadier General M. Dodd
- Brigadier General J. Neroutsos
- Colonel R. Annis
- Colonel J. Frazer