Defence Minister Anand delivers keynote speech at CANSEC

Speech

June 1, 2022
CANSEC
Ottawa
Minister of National Defence

Thank you, Kevin.

Minister Quinn, Lieutenant-General Allen,

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces,

Distinguished guests,

My dear friends,

Good morning. Bonjour.

I acknowledge that we are gathering on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Anishinabeeg Peoples. Today, we reaffirm our commitment to meaningful reconciliation and respectful partnership with Indigenous peoples.

It is a pleasure to join you – our industry partners – for my first CANSEC as Canada’s Minister of National Defence.

As many of you know, I previously served as Minister of Public Services and Procurement, and in this role, oversaw many defence contracts. Now, I see their output every day as Minister of National Defence. So, it is great to be with you today, in this new role.

To Christyn and everyone at the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries – thank you, and congratulations, for organizing the first CANSEC conference in two years, and for all that you do to support the Canadian defence and security industry.

To everyone joining us from Canada and around the globe, welcome to Ottawa. Welcome.

The very first item in my mandate letter is to ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces is a 21st century military with the capabilities, equipment and culture to implement Canada’s Defence Policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, and anticipate and respond to the full range of current and emerging threats.

And – I will say right off the top, that it would be impossible to fulfil this commitment without all of you – our security and defence industry.

You are central to our efforts to provide the Canadian Armed Forces with the tools they need to carry out the important missions that we ask of them.

Today, I will focus on three main areas.

First – Canada’s response to Putin’s illegal war on Ukraine, including, how collaboration with industry partners has helped our government respond to Ukraine’s defence needs.

Second – Our major defence investments to equip our Canadian Armed Forces to meet tomorrow’s security challenges.

And third – Some concrete ways in which we are increasing our collaboration with the Canadian defence and security industry.

Ukraine

Let us begin with the situation in Ukraine.

A little over three months ago, Vladimir Putin began an illegal and unacceptable war of choice against a sovereign democracy – Ukraine.

Since then, Ukrainian forces have been fighting with courage, valour, and bravery to defend their country – and we salute them.

Since late last year, and throughout the crisis, I have been in regular contact with my Ukrainian counterpart and friend, Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov.

During our conversations, and at multilateral forums like the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, Minister Reznikov informs Ukraine’s defence partners about their most pressing needs.

And, Canada has, and will continue, to respond to these needs by providing Ukraine with comprehensive military aid.

From February to April, Canada donated well over $100 million in military equipment to help Ukraine fight and win this war.

In Budget 2022, we announced a further investment of $500 million in military aid for Ukraine, and we are working around the clock to utilize these funds to get Ukrainians the equipment they need.

During his visit to Kyiv on May 8, Prime Minister Trudeau announced $50 million in additional assistance for Ukraine.  

And, just over one week ago, I announced Canada’s purchase of over 20,000 rounds of artillery ammunition, at a cost of at least $98 million.

This ammunition is compatible with the M777 howitzers that we have donated to Ukraine, and trained Ukrainian forces to use.

Further, our Royal Canadian Air Force detachment in Europe has now delivered 2 million pounds of aid to Ukraine from Canada and our allies.

While Canada provided this equipment to Ukraine, our collaboration with industry was the key to our success.

For example -- Ukraine asked Canada to provide precision cameras for military drones, which are manufactured domestically. In just three or four days, we managed to turn around a contract for these devices – in collaboration with the manufacturer. In just one week, those cameras were in Ukraine and affixed to drones for use in combat. We now have a contract to maintain those cameras and supply additional ones as needed.

In addition, Ukraine asked Canada to donate equipment such as armoured vehicles, which we manufacture here in Canada. In a few days, we had signed a contract for eight of them, and they were quickly given to our Ukrainian friends.

As we work diligently to provide Ukrainian forces with vital defence capabilities, we will continue to work in partnership with you.

Budget 2022 & major procurements

Now, I will turn to our investments to enable our own Canadian Armed Forces to respond to emerging security threats – in the air, land, maritime and cyber domains.

Our world appears to be growing darker. We have all watched in horror as Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has attacked and brutalized innocent civilians – and many Canadians have been reminded of the importance of a strong military that can meet any threat.

Through our government’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, (or, SSE) Canada’s defence spending is once again on an upward trajectory. We are raising defence spending by over 70% between 2017 and 2026.

We are about to mark the five-year anniversary of SSE – and this policy is delivering results.

And, through Budget 2022, we are doing even more. We are investing an additional $8 billion in new defence spending, on top of the increase I just mentioned.

What do these investments mean for our Canadian Armed Forces?

We are moving full steam ahead to equip our Royal Canadian Air Force with a new fleet of 88, state-of-the-art fighter jets – the most significant investment in our Air Force in decades.

This will strengthen our Arctic sovereignty, improve our ability to contribute to NATO and NORAD operations, and allow us to continue to defend every centimetre of Canadian airspace.

We have now entered the finalization phase of the procurement process with Lockheed Martin, for the F-35 fighter jet.

Further, we will, invest substantively in NORAD modernization – to ensure the continued security of our North American continent.

In the short term, I will present a robust and detailed plan for NORAD modernization, and I discussed this issue when I met with my American counterpart, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, at the Pentagon in late April.

We discussed the four key areas of new investment for NORAD that our countries have agreed upon, namely:

  1. enhanced situational awareness;
  2. modernized Command and Control;
  3. improved capabilities to deter and defeat aerospace threats; and finally,
  4. strengthening critically important research and development.

And – just this year, we awarded a contract worth almost $600 million to the Inuit-owned Nasittuq Corporation, for the operation of the North Warning System.

As we modernize our continental defence systems, we are committed to ensuring that the new investments benefit Indigenous and Northern communities and businesses.

We have a 5% per cent Indigenous procurement target and we will always seek out opportunities for greater collaboration with Indigenous-owned and Northern businesses.

We call upon you to work with us, to achieve this goal. I ask for your collaboration, and for you to find opportunities in your supply chains to help us reach this target. And, if you fall into this category, please reach out, so that we can explore opportunities together.

In the land domain, we are investing in new capabilities for our Canadian Army. Last year, the first of 360 new Armoured Combat Support Vehicles rolled off the production line in London, Ontario.

Our government is also investing substantively in new and modernized equipment for the Royal Canadian Navy. The first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship – HMCS Harry DeWolf, recently circumnavigated the North American continent. And just this weekend, we named AOPS 2 and 3 – now called HMCS Margaret Brooke and HMCS Max Bernays.

We are also purchasing a new fleet of 15 Canadian surface combatants, and we are modernizing our Victoria class submarines.

And, let me reiterate that cyber security is a key priority for me as Minister of National Defence. Around the world, countries are feeling the impact of malicious cyber activities coordinated by adversarial states and non-state actors, as well.

We see disinformation campaigns, IP theft, and the targeting of critical infrastructure — to name just a few malicious activities — that occur just below the threshold of armed conflict.

One year ago, Canada made its own cyber capabilities available to NATO on a voluntary basis, enhancing our transatlantic alliance’s resilience against our adversaries’ cyber threats.

Another key tool in our cyber toolbox is the clear and transparent legal framework we have in place which allows both the CAF and our national cryptologic agency, the Communications Security Establishment, or CSE, to disrupt foreign cyber threats.

To further clarify this important function, the Government of Canada released a statement in April on the Application of International Law in Cyberspace, as part of an effort to promote greater transparency and predictability in cyberspace.

One country that blatantly disregards any semblance of responsible behaviour in this domain is the Russian Federation. In response to its continued aggression against Ukraine, both the Canadian Armed Forces and the CSE are helping Ukrainians bolster their cyber defence and cyber security every day.

Here at home, the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security continues to protect Canadian interests online and provides free advice to Canadian businesses.

Its website is filled with valuable information, including a guide on ransomware. We encourage you to take advantage of this valuable resource.

Budget 2022 also committed $875.2 million dollars over five years to bolster Canada’s ability to prevent, detect, and respond to current and emerging cyber threats.

As we make significant investments to ensure that our military and security agencies remain ready to address any threat to Canada, we will continue to rely on you – our industry partners – to equip our personnel with the tools that they need.

And, as we pursue the projects that I have just mentioned, we must take into account that the security environment has shifted since we released our defence policy five years ago.

As we announced in Budget 2022, Strong, Secure, Engaged will soon undergo a swift update.

Given the new and emerging threats, this policy update will guide our work to protect Canadians in the years ahead.

Partnership with industry and experts

Finally, let me address our innovative approach when it comes to collaboration and support for you – our industry partners.

Despite unprecedented global supply chain and staffing challenges, disruption, and uncertainty during the pandemic, the defence and security industry has helped our government deliver on its commitment to equip the Canadian Armed Forces with the equipment that they need.

At last count, in 2020, your sector contributed close to 78,000 jobs to the Canadian economy, an increase of nearly 14,000 jobs from 2018.

Nearly 80% of your sector’s supply chain expenditures were incurred with suppliers based in Canada and the United States.

And your exports amounted to approximately $6.5 billion dollars, with close to 55% per cent of those exports going to our Five Eyes partners.

We are looking to strengthen our relationship with you, and we have implemented several programs to enable innovation and support your industries.

We recently established the Innovation in Defence Excellence and Security program, or IDEaS – which provides funding to Canadian innovators with promising ideas from the concept stage, through prototype testing and capability development.

Through this program, we are investing $1.6 billion over two decades to spur innovation in many fields, with the immediate goal of investing $313 million over the first five years. DND has received impressive proposals from top innovators across the country. In the first year alone, we received more than 600 proposals, and awarded more than 200 contracts.

And, we have established the MINDS program, an acronym for, Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security. Through the MINDS program, we are signing multi-year agreements with networks of experts to help inform our policies and approaches on key priorities — such as information security, organizational culture, military design, continental defence and NORAD modernization.

MINDS has brought in experts to brief our department on subjects like AI and quantum computing. MINDS helps develop the next generation of defence and security experts through scholarships, and an annual fellowship at the NATO Defence College.

This program is not limited to academia. We are also working with the private sector, think tanks and civil society.

As we map out the future of Canadian defence policy, we want you to be involved, to help us deliver real-world solutions to our most pressing defence and security challenges.

Conclusion

Friends, as I tell members of the Canadian Armed Forces when I visit bases across the country --- the global threat environment is changing. In the years to come, our country will ask more and more of our military.

We must, and we will, expand the Canadian Armed Forces.

And we must invest so that our military members have the equipment they need to ensure our security.

In so doing, our relationship with our homegrown defence and security industry is crucial. DND will continue working in tandem with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, and PSPC, to enable partnerships – and I spoke just this week with Minister Champagne to plan further engagements between our government and your industries.

In short, you enable so much of what our Armed Forces do.

You transform a blueprint of a ship, or an armored vehicle, into the final product that our people in uniform operate in defence of Canada.

You design training programs that help our Canadian Armed Forces ensure their readiness to fight and win.

This industry delivers significant economic benefits for all Canadians, and drives thousands of well-paying jobs across this country.

And as we tackle current and future challenges together, our government remains a ready partner.

I thank you for coming to Ottawa for this important conference, and I look forward to continuing our work together to ensure the security of our country.

Thank you, merci, meegwetch.

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