The Liberal Government and Canadian Defence Policy:


  • Andrew Richter Department of Political Science, University of Windsor


The Liberal government of Justin Trudeau has been in office for almost three years, and thus enough time has passed to reach some early observations on its defence record.  This paper looks at 3 critical issues – the government’s approach to defence spending, its recent defence White Paper, and its actions regarding the CF-18 replacement project – and concludes that while there have been some positive developments, defence is clearly not a priority of the government.  Moreover, its tendency to politicize the defence file and to issue misleading policy pronouncements on matters related to it do not inspire much confidence. Thus, barring an unexpected increase in spending, Canada’s defence prognosis is poor and the Canadian Armed Forces will likely see their capabilities erode further over the near-to-medium term.

Author Biography

Andrew Richter, Department of Political Science, University of Windsor

Andrew Richter is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Windsor.  His primary areas of research are Canadian foreign and defence policy, Canada-US relations, and nuclear strategy.  Dr. Richter has published in numerous journals, including International Journal, The American Review of Canadian Studies, and Comparative Strategy, and is the author of Avoiding Armageddon: Canadian Military Strategy and Nuclear Weapons, 1950-1963.  In 2007, Dr. Richter was the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Canada-US relations at the WoodrowWilsonInternationalCenter for Scholars, in Washington, DC, and a visiting professor at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), JohnsHopkinsUniversity.