Canada considers joining U.S.-led military training mission in Ukraine

The notion drew a lukewarm response from opposition parties, who seem reluctant to see Canada venture further into the tinderbox of eastern Europe


OTTAWA–The Harper cabinet is actively and seriously considering whether Canada should join the U.S. and Britain in a military training mission to shore up embattled Ukrainian troops, Defence Minister Jason Kenney said Wednesday.

The notion drew a lukewarm response from opposition parties, who seem reluctant to see Canada venture further into the tinderbox of eastern Europe beyond the delivery of non-lethal military aid and satellite intelligence.

Britain said Wednesday that it would send 75 military trainers to Ukraine next month to provide instruction and training in military intelligence, logistics and battlefield medical procedures.

Kenney, who had already dropped broad hints of further Canadian involvement in concert with allies, said Canada is considering a similar commitment, with an emphasis on combat medical evacuation and trauma care.

“That’s the kind of technical training that we can offer,” he said Wednesday. “We are in discussions and looking at options, and we’re open to _ as I’ve been saying for two weeks now, open to participating in training missions.”

Kenney would not, however, rule out combat training, saying he “cannot be more specific at this point.”

The U.S. has committed 800 troops to train three battalions in western Ukraine.

Canada’s defence department has made two deliveries of defensive military gear, including flak vests, helmets and cold-weather clothes. The Harper government recently concluded a deal to provide radar satellite images to the Ukrainians in order to track Russian troop movements in its border region.

Canadians would be uncomfortable going beyond that, suggested NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, who insisted such a military training mission should be carried out as part of an alliance and approved by the House of Commons.

“If we are going to work towards anything different than what we’re doing now, which is non-kinetic flak jackets … we could send night vision goggles. That’s been agreed to and we’re onboard with that,” he said.

“Anything beyond that requires two things. One, concerted NATO action. Two, a decision by the Parliament of Canada.”

Deploying the military is strictly the prerogative of the federal cabinet, but the Conservatives have made it their practice to put combat deployments to a vote in Parliament. The Afghan troop training mission and the initial positioning of special forces with Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq were not voted on by MPs.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said he wants to see more details of the government’s proposal.

Kenney suggested military training, if approved, would be a logical extension of Canada’s involvement in NATO reassurance operations, which have included CF-18s flying Baltic air policing missions and the deployment of a frigate as part of the alliance’s standing naval task force.

“We’ll be doing more later this year in NATO exercises, all of which is designed to send a message to Russia that Canada, together with our NATO allies, stands with our eastern European friends against any intimidation or territorial aggression on the part of Vladimir Putin,” he said.

“And the message we’re sending to him with respect to Ukraine is to get out of Ukraine now.”

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Canada considers joining U.S.-led military training mission in Ukraine

  1. They turn down our oil….we join another of their military misadventures. Figures.

    • You think that Ukraine trying to defend itself from Russian invasion is a “military misadventure”?!?! You think they should let Russia come in and take over?!?!

  2. The Western coverage seems just as biased as Putin’s clamp over his media. The only time I’ve seen the West mention that it was a Western backed coupe that ousted the previous pro-Russia leader is in the music in a hidden msg on CBC’s World at Six or perhaps the show that comes on 1/2 an hour later.
    The cheerlead Arab Spring uprising has lead to increased Al Qaeda affiliate power in Africa.
    I think Ukraine would be about even either way. Many of their industries are big, for example, their space industries benefit from Russia links. A key question appears to be what sort of Russia is good for Russians and good for the world in the post Putin era. Does the West want a Russian democracy? Someone like Zhironevsky would probably sell nuclear weapons to USA enemies; he is a lot like Pat Buchanan. I think Russia would probably benefit most from a two Party system where both Parties are Right of Centre, along with concurrent education curricula that detail the world’s political history. But I haven’t looked at this in detail. What does Putin gain from consolidating power via a popular war? Is it personal pride? How does this affect the other checks on power (judges, etc) such as his opposition? This has not been discussed at all. It seems like your foreign policy is to instill democracies everywhere and wait until one of them sells nukes to someone who might use them on Toronto or Montreal.
    I’ve worked out most of a middle power Naval procurement. Only aircraft carriers can project power a little ways into the interior of a continent. If I read the USA’s Naval budget right, smaller (10000 ton) amphibious assault vessels cost $2B, and can carry 20 Harriers. Helicopters seem easy targets. I think an aircraft carrier ($4B) would be too critical to use. I’d like to see small 100-200 foot long vessel carry two Harriers each. Only WWII era mine sweepers seem aptly sized. Frigates are too big and expensive ($300M-$1.2B). Patrol vessels too slow and small. I’d like to see us build 8 vessels at $150M a pop. And to (cheaply) buy the 40-50 USA Harriers that will come out of service in 2025. I’m not sure on the speed requirements; if it is necessary to try to respond to an event before the USA. This would be useful as China, Russia and the USA have large prison populations, and having a middle power respond to a flashpoint or WMD lab is analogous to Pearson’s peacekeeping invention. Other middle powers could copy and order a new Harrier III design. Then you don’t need RW idiots to intervene to stop evil.
    It was suggested to me that all I should worry about is stopping AI here, but that has degenerated into whether or not we can emit neutrinos to image underground WMD labs…an open conversation with what Russia wants to be, and wants the world to be, would be useful.
    …I thought my community college was inattentive. Shouldn’t a college that promotes terrorism be shut down?! I guess this is the Provincial right of *democracy*. One use for my foreign policy is to create a new missile with insect sound sensors that infiltrate a mosque or a Republican retreat or a Wild Rose retreat, and look for people preaching hate. Then when a terrorist attack threatens, you apprehend or kill them. But you’d need to go after GOP and CPC members too.
    Think about it: you guys are advocating democracy in places where it might lead to nuclear terrorism or WWIII.

    • …the nature of land borders amplifies whatever the underlying human capital dynamic is. For example, if the Ukraine joins NATO and then seeks to develop nuclear weapons, what would you expect the result to be? The current situation, though it increased the likelihood everyone including Putin will get AIDS, is better than such a flashpoint. I suggest Ukrainian families immigrate to Canada. At least women and children.

      • A cutter Coast Guard vessel seems most appropriate here. The idea is to keep the costs down so the 10 vessels with 2 VTOL Harriers each are cheaper than is an amphibious assault ship carrying such. You’d want anti sub torpedoes but much of the other frigate faculties are not necessary. Our procurement is still cold war era thinking. This is a superior platform. I’d say with these ships: 40-50 Harriers in 2025 from the USA at $35M a pop. 36 Super Hornets. 36 of our existing Hornets upgraded to some degree. And 18 2025 Super Hornet of futuristic capabilities just for training purposes. I don’t see any role for the F-35 for Canada.

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