Further to this post, excerpts from pretty stinging piece at the Globe and Mail by two leading Canadian academics dealing with national security matters, both former government analysts:
Stephanie Carvin and Thomas Juneau
Stephanie Carvin is an associate professor at Carleton University. Thomas Juneau is an associate professor at the University of Ottawa. They are co-authors of the forthcoming book Intelligence Analysis and Policy Making: The Canadian Experience.
Australia has…developed a more mature intelligence and national security culture, one that is firmly integrated with the policy world and has an appetite for risk-taking. To that end, the country has overhauled its legislative framework and national security architecture to meet evolving threats, and there is also a greater willingness to critically assess strategy and priorities through “white papers,” research reports that then help inform the government’s policy-making process.
Canada, on the other hand, often performs weakly in these areas. Ottawa devotes fewer resources toward cultivating relationships with its most important security partners. Indeed, there seems to be a belief that our proximity to the United States in particular means that our relationship can sometimes be taken for granted.
…there are important geopolitical reasons for these differences. The Australians have been forced to develop an intelligence culture and engagement policy because they live in a more challenging threat environment. Canada, on the other hand, has the luxury of being in a relatively safe international neighbourhood…
…While no one should doubt that there remains excellent intelligence co-operation between Canada and its Five Eyes partners, the country’s neglect of all things intelligence and national security – as illustrated by the issues’ complete absence from the electoral campaign – is increasingly unsustainable…
In other words, if our politicians and senior bureaucrats cannot be bothered to take a serious interest in these issues, why should our allies and close partners bother to take us seriously? Even bother to talk to us much?