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On October 25th, 2002, the Minister of National Defence articulated his priorities in a speech before the Toronto Board of Trade. The Minister's priorities are:

  • People - Over the past decade, the Government has been calling on the Canadian Forces more frequently. At the same time, the number of CF members has declined substantially. Clearly, this is not sustainable. It translates into too much time away from home for too many of our people, with negative implications for morale, family life, and general well-being. It also translates into personnel retention problems. It is wrong to continue overstretching our personnel and their families and we must find a way to address this.
  • Increase to Defence Spending - Through Budgets 1999, 2000 and 2001, the Government has authorized increases in defence spending commencing in fiscal year 2001-02 that will total more than $5 billion by the end of fiscal year 2006-07. Nevertheless, we should be spending more than is currently planned, now and in the future.
  • Ensuring Good Value for Money for the Canadian Taxpayers - Just as universities, banks and government departments have a responsibility to students, shareholders and taxpayers, we must ensure good value for money for the Canadian taxpayer.

    The Department has successfully embraced change to make improvements over the years and many elements of the organization have already successfully implemented new processes and ideas to significant advantage in doing work faster, better and cheaper.

    As part of this continuing responsibility, the Honourable John McCallum, Minister of National Defence, announced on January 30, 2003, the appointment of an Advisory Committee on Administrative Efficiency. The Committee's mandate is to study and provide advice in two general areas:
    • any issue(s) of administrative efficiency, broadly defined, within the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces that the Committee chooses to investigate; and
    • the material acquisition and procurement process within the Department of National Defence.

    On the issues of materiel acquisition and the procurement process within the Department of National Defence, the Committee will work in partnership with the Department of Public Works and Government Services Canada.

    The Committee will report its findings and recommendations to the Minister of National Defence within six months. The Committee may also bring forward recommendations on an interim basis and will be disbanded after six months.

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  • Defending Canadian Sovereignty and Contributing to the Defence of North America - Safety and security is a core function of government and we must be prepared to defend our citizens, our economy, our infrastructure, our economic systems, and even our way of life. We must also do our part in defending North America, particularly from asymmetric threats. Currently, we are in the final stages of negotiating the formation of a joint bi-national planning group with the United States. This planning group will allow Canada and the United States to share intelligence and contingency plans, and clearly identify how to access the resources necessary to respond quickly to crisis. Far from ceding our sovereignty, as some critics have suggested, this initiative is an expression of our sovereignty and our efforts to work together to protect Canadian and American lives.

A complete version of the MND's speech can be found at:

In addition, Defence Priorities are articulated on an annual basis in the Departmental Report on Plans and Priorities. Departmental Priorities for April 2002-2003 are:

Put our people first by strengthening recruiting and retention, learning and professional development.
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Respond to the new security environment through our contributions to the international coalition against terrorism.
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Optimize Canada's Defence and security capabilities by updating Canada's defence policy.
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Maximize management effectiveness by implementing a new information management strategy.
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Enhance our defence relationships by strengthening defence and security arrangements in North America.
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