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George Petrolekas's picture
Last debate was great, but where was defence?
Posted on Sep 30, 2015
The Munk Debate on Monday was by far the best debate so far in this campaign
It was civil, generally not a cacophony, and Canadians could hear leaders positions on a variety of themes – well articulated and without interruption.  We are better for that, and congratulations to Munk and Rudyard Griffiths for that success.  
Alas, except for the Arctic little new ground was covered. There were questions on standing up to Putin, but on the same day when Putin and Obama spoke at the UN on Syria with competing visions on the road forward, no questions delved into what the leaders thought of these developments in Syria.
Surprisingly, when most analysts see defence as the handmaiden of foreign policy, whether in peacekeeping, in disaster relief, in aid, in capacity building, or in more muscular responses to crises, not a word on how the foreign policy tool would be used, equipped, nor how it would be supported fiscally – a surprise given that defence represents the largest component of direct federal program spending.
From a strategic standpoint, the horizon was all near term – what we can see in front of us now with an event horizon extending a few years hence.  What of the world 20 years from now, and how do we position for it?  Defence investments today, will limit or enhance government options long into the future.
And though it was indeed a great debate, one was left aching for more.