Russia and China at war with Canada, says Gen. Wayne Eyre in new military document

‘The hostile intentions and actions of our adversaries show that they consider themselves to be at war with the West. We must accept this reality and respond accordingly’

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China and Russia are Canada’s main enemies, with both nations considering themselves to be at war with the west, according to a new document from the Canadian military.

In language similar to that now being used by the Pentagon and NATO, the document outlines how the Canadian Forces must change to prepare for a long-term conflict.

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“We must remember that Russia and China do not differentiate between peace and war,” Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre states in the introduction to the Pan-Domain Force Employment Concept.

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“The hostile intentions and actions of our adversaries show that they consider themselves to be at war with the West,” the document added. “We must accept this reality and respond accordingly.”

The concept paper talks about the need for better planning and coordination with other government agencies in the battle against Russia as well as China, Canada’s second-largest trading partner.

Meanwhile, the employment concept barely acknowledges the security implications of one of the biggest threats that has directly affected Canadians over the last several years – climate change. Record-breaking forest fires earlier this year forced more than 120,000 Canadians to flee their homes, burned more than 10 million hectares of forests, and cost billions of dollars to fight and contain.

The Canadian Forces concept document talks about how Canada’s adversaries are trying to undermine the country’s prosperity, a situation it noted is being aggravated by the effects of climate change. The document does state that Canada’s Arctic has experienced warming temperatures and melting sea ice, making the region “increasingly accessible to exploitation and military activity.”

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Eyre’s warnings about China and Russia in the document used almost identical language from his October 2022 appearance before the House of Commons standing committee on national security as well as his other presentations.

But the employment concept further drives home his views that Canada must rise to meet the challenge through a whole of government effort.

“The absence of armed conflict between Canada and its adversaries has, at times, left the country in general, and the CAF in particular, slow to respond to hostile actions,” the document noted.

The Canadian Forces would not release the unclassified concept paper to this newspaper. It was, however, eventually obtained through sources.

The concept paper calls for the Canadian military to quickly embrace artificial intelligence in its battle against adversaries. It defined AI, where machines simulate human intelligence, as encompassing various capabilities ranging from robotics to “human-machine teaming.”

“These enablers present immense opportunity for Defence; as such, we must rapidly adopt and widely integrate this technology,” the concept paper noted.

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“These applications may include event prediction, sense-making, assessment of adversary intent, course of action development, and support to decision-making,” it added.

The Liberal government has yet to release its long-awaited defence policy update which is supposed to provide a long-term vision of the way forward for National Defence and the Canadian Forces. It is unclear why the employment concept document was produced before the policy update.

The employment concept document hammering home the threat to Canada from China and Russia comes as the military leadership and its supporters advocate for billions more dollars in defence spending.

But pumping more money into the military comes at a time when the Liberal government is pushing fiscal restraint on federal departments. In addition, the Canadian Forces and National Defence have faced questions about how they manage the money they already receive as well as concerns about equipment projects that have gone tens of billions of dollars over budget without providing additional military capability.

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The department and military have also had problems spending the money they already receive. The recently released Public Accounts document shows that National Defence failed to spend $1.5 billion of its budget.

The military is also dealing with other challenges in recruiting and retaining personnel.  Canadian Forces personnel are increasingly leaving the ranks rather than move to a new military base where they can’t afford housing, according to internal military documents recently obtained by this newspaper.

Young Canadians have also been reluctant to join the Canadian Forces, with some not interested in a lifestyle which requires moving around the country while others view the organization as a toxic employer struggling to deal with sexual misconduct.

David Pugliese is an award-winning journalist covering Canadian Forces and military issues in Canada. To support his work, including exclusive content for subscribers only, sign up here: ottawacitizen.com/subscribe

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