Murray Brewster

Defence and security

Murray Brewster is senior defence writer for CBC News, based in Ottawa. He has covered the Canadian military and foreign policy from Parliament Hill for over a decade. Among other assignments, he spent a total of 15 months on the ground covering the Afghan war for The Canadian Press. Prior to that, he covered defence issues and politics for CP in Nova Scotia for 11 years and was bureau chief for Standard Broadcast News in Ottawa.

Latest from Murray Brewster

Mental health access for families of veterans still lacking, says new ombudsman

Veterans Affairs Canada hasn't gone far enough in reversing restrictions on mental health counselling for the families of former soldiers, sailors and aircrew, the county's new veterans ombudsman says in a hard-hitting report.

Federal government looking to settle lawsuit over $165 million error in veterans benefits

The federal government is in exploratory talks to settle a combined class-action lawsuit over a $165 million accounting error at Veterans Affairs Canada that shortchanged more than 250,000 mostly elderly former soldiers, sailors and aircrew, CBC News has learned.

A sea change: Canada's new top military commander apologizes to victims of racism

Canada's new top military commander officially took charge on Thursday in bare-bones virtual ceremony that marks a sea change in leadership for the Armed Forces. Admiral Art McDonald began his tenure by offering a personal apology to victims of racism and hateful conduct.

Is it time for Western intelligence agencies to treat pandemics as security threats?

Learning the lessons of early-warning intelligence and information-sharing before the next pandemic strikes should be a priority for Canada and its allies, say experts and former government officials.

Armed Forces commanders signal hard line against racism and sexual violence in the ranks

Both the incoming and outgoing commanders of the Royal Canadian Navy today delivered some of their most forceful public condemnations of racism and sexual violence in the ranks — an apparent signal the military's campaign against misconduct has entered a new phase.

Canada's top soldier says he's not worried about U.S. military response in wake of Capitol riot

Canada's outgoing top military commander and his U.S. counterpart will have their first conversation today about the violent protests that rocked Washington last week and the impending political showdown over President Donald Trump.

Military medical intelligence warnings gathered dust as public health struggled to define COVID-19

Canada and its closest military allies have exchanged important global health warnings and assessments for decades, but newly released documents show the Public Health Agency of Canada did not examine classified information about COVID-19 — something one intelligence expert calls a strategic failure.

Vice-Admiral Art McDonald named new chief of the defence staff

Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, the current head of the navy, has been named Canada's chief of the defence staff. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement during an address Wednesday afternoon.

Battle of the budget: DND gears up to defend cost of new warships in the new year

The coming year will see intense scrutiny on the navy's plan to build 15 new warships to replace its existing fleet of frigates. Some defence experts estimate the lifetime cost of the frigates will exceed $213 billion over four decades. The challenge will be to avoid an F-35-style political fiasco.

Battle diary: a Canadian soldier looks back on a year commanding NATO troops in Iraq

Almost a month ago, Canadian Maj.-Gen. Jennie Carignan bid farewell via video to the NATO troops she had commanded and, in an understated way, said her time in Iraq had come to end after "an eventful year."

Defence Minister Sajjan launches panel to probe racism in the ranks

The Department of National Defence (DND) has launched a four-member advisory panel to investigate and report on incidents of hate and racism within the Canadian military, the defence minister tells CBC News.

Canada's ties to China's military underscore the weird contradictions in its foreign policy

It's been obvious for some time that there is something a little weird about the way Canada approaches its relationship with China — a disconnect brought into sharp relief this week by the news that Global Affairs and the Department of National Defence were not on the same page when it came to military ties and training involving the People’s Liberation Army.

Most of the used fighter jets bought by Canada are still not in service, MPs hear

Only three of seven F-18 fighter jets purchased from Australia by the Canadian government have been integrated into the air force so far, and the Department of National Defence says key upgrades to as much as one-third of Canada's fighter force will take up to five years, according to documents recently tabled in the House of Commons.

Veterans Affairs was wrong to cancel child care support for prominent department critic, says ombudsman

One day after former veterans minister Seamus O'Regan publicly rebuked outspoken critic Sean Bruyea in 2018, officials in his former department improperly cancelled rehabilitation support for the long-time veterans advocate's child care expenses, a veterans ombudsman investigation has found.

Canadian military was warned of reservist's hard-right online ties by allied intelligence agency

The Canadian military's counterintelligence branch was alerted to the right-wing online activities of a B.C. reservist by a member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance and the criminal intelligence branch of an Ontario municipal police service, CBC News has learned.