The House

Midweek podcast: Charting a new course for Canada and its military

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland outlined the Liberals' vision for Canada's role in the world on Tuesday, and a day later the Defence Minister presented the results of the defence policy review. On The House midweek podcast, we get the rundown from the CBC's Murray Brewster and Stephanie Carvin, a former national security analyst.
A member of the military looks on as Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan unveils the Liberal government's long-awaited vision for expanding the Canadian Armed Forces in Ottawa on Wednesday June 7, 2017. Canada will increase defence spending by $13.9 billion over the next decade. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Canada's new defence policy coupled with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland's address to Parliament this week show this country is moving into a post-American phase, says Stephanie Carvin, a former national security analyst, as well as an assistant professor at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University.

On Wednesday, the Liberal government revealed its new defence policy, which lays out a plan to increase the defence budget by 70 per cent over the next decade to $32.7 billion, a mixture of new and previously committed money.

From 2012-2015, Stephanie Carvin was an analyst with the Government of Canada focusing on national security issues. (

The details of the new policy were released the day after Freeland's speech to the House of Commons. While never mentioning Donald Trump by name, Freeland rejected many of the U.S. president's policies, including the withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, imposing protectionist trade policies, and closing the nation's doors to refugees.

"What was so kind of astonishing about [Freeland's speech] was the fact that it was actually basically stating what the new context is for the world and that is an America that no longer seeks to be the guarantor of civility and the guarantor of the rule of law," Carvin told Chris Hall, host of CBC Radio's The House.

She argued for the past 70 years Canada has benefited from the U.S.'s lead on the world stage, propping up international institutions, forums and even trade.

"What's scary about this new world order is if America isn't there to guarantee all of these good things will Canada still  be able to thrive?" 

The long-anticipated review also calls for a slight increase in the size o f the military, both regular and reserve forces, and a modest increase in the size of the special forces.

"I felt like the speech was Pearsonianism mugged by reality," she said.

Click on the podcast link to hear more from Stephanie Carvin and a debrief with CBC's defence and foreign policy specialist Murray Brewster.