20 septembre 2021 | Local, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

Canada caught off guard by new security pact between U.S., Australia and Britain






The Canadian government was surprised this week by the announcement of a new security pact between the United States, Britain and Australia, one that excluded Canada and is aimed at confronting China’s growing military and political influence in the Indo-Pacific region, according to senior government officials.

Three officials, representing Canada’s foreign affairs, intelligence and defence departments, told The Globe and Mail that Ottawa was not consulted about the pact, and had no idea the trilateral security announcement was coming until it was made on Wednesday by U.S. President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

The defence ministers from the U.K. and Australia reached out to Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan to inform him of the decision shortly before the late-afternoon announcement. Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau received a call from his Australian counterpart. Daniel Minden, a spokesperson for Mr. Sajjan, said Ottawa had been kept in the loop on talks between the countries.

One of the Canadian officials referred to the pact as the new “Three Eyes” and said it’s clear that Canada’s closest allies consider Ottawa to be a “weak sister” when it comes to standing up to China. The Globe and Mail is not identifying the officials because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Three Eyes is a reference to what is becoming a smaller club within the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance, which includes the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The Five Eyes pact dates back about 75 years. Members share signals intelligence gleaned from intercepted communications, as well as military intelligence and intelligence gathered directly from human sources.

The new trilateral alliance, dubbed AUKUS, after the initials of the three countries, will allow for greater sharing of information in areas such as artificial intelligence and cyber and underwater defence capabilities. The U.S. and U.K. have also agreed to help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines, which would allow it to conduct longer undersea patrols. Australia will become only the second country, after Britain in 1958, to be given access to U.S. nuclear propulsion technology.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday played down Canada’s exclusion from the Indo-Pacific security deal, saying it is merely a way for the U.S. to sell nuclear submarines to Australia.

Speaking to reporters in Montreal, Mr. Trudeau said Canada will still have access to defence and intelligence sharing as a member of the Five Eyes alliance.

“We continue to be strong members of the Five Eyes,” he said. “This is a deal for nuclear submarines, which Canada is not currently or any time soon in the market for. Australia is.”

Retired Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, who once commanded the Royal Canadian Navy, said Canada should have been part of this defence pact, which he described as a “somewhat unprecedented” trilateral arrangement.

He said he was surprised to hear Mr. Trudeau play down the pact as merely a submarine purchase deal. “I think it’s misleading and concerning … I would like to believe he was poorly briefed by his staff,” Mr. Norman said.

The retired naval flag officer said that, if Mr. Trudeau was fully briefed, “he doesn’t understand what is going on internationally and he doesn’t understand what the significance of an arrangement like this is as it relates to international security.”

He said the agreement goes far beyond access to U.S. submarine technology.

“This is about accessing both current and emerging technologies, from cyber and artificial intelligence, to acoustics and underwater warfare – a whole range of very important strategic capabilities.”

Mr. Norman said Canada has many national interests in the Indo-Pacific – including trade, promoting the rule of law and democracy, and countering China’s aggressive behaviour and posturing – but he suspects close allies do not take Canadian defence commitments seriously.

“I don’t think our allies think we are serious when it comes to defence. I think they have concerns not just about our defence expenditures, but also the extent to which our [international] commitments are both lasting and meaningful,” he said.

Stephanie Carvin, a former national security analyst and an associate professor of international relations at Carleton University, said the U.S.-U.K.-Australia defence pact is the latest evolution of military and intelligence co-operation between those three countries.

“Three Eyes is very real,” Prof. Carvin said. “Australia is strategic in making its presence known in Washington, arguably much more than Canada despite it being geographically closer.”

She said Canada not being a part of the new agreement is consistent with the country’s low engagement in the Indo-Pacific. “We haven’t been part of a military alliance in the Pacific since the Korean War. And the government has never addressed the question of if this is still the correct security posture.”

The leaders of the Conservative and New Democratic parties criticized Mr. Trudeau for Canada’s exclusion from the pact. AUKUS, they said, could put added pressure on China to respect international norms and rein in its expansionism.

“This is another example that Mr. Trudeau is not taken seriously by our friends and allies around the world,” Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole told reporters at a campaign stop on Thursday. “Canada is becoming more irrelevant under Mr. Trudeau.”

Mr. O’Toole said he would seek to join the new Indo-Pacific security arrangement if the Conservatives are elected on Monday.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, speaking to reporters on Thursday, questioned whether Mr. Trudeau had given serious thought to the importance of the new trilateral pact while preoccupied with campaigning. By joining this arrangement, Canada could have ratcheted up pressure on China to free Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, Mr. Singh said.

“The pact seems like a potential avenue to add more pressure [on China]. Canada was absent. Another reason why this election should not have been called,” Mr. Singh told reporters.

The U.S., U.K., Australia and Indo-Pacific countries have been growing alarmed about how Beijing is rapidly modernizing its armed forces and increasing its military presence in the disputed waters of the South China Sea and the East China Sea.

China reacted harshly to the new partnership. The three countries are “severely damaging regional peace and stability,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian.

White House spokesperson Jen Psaki defended the U.S. decision, saying “we do not seek conflict with China.” Instead, she said, this is “about security in the Indo-Pacific.”

The submarine deal also represented a blow for France, because Australia intends to tear up a $40-billion agreement to buy French conventional submarines. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called the loss of the deal a “stab in the back.”

Speaking at a news conference after meetings between the U.S. and Australian foreign and defence ministers in Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said France remains a “vital partner” in the Indo-Pacific region.


Sur le même sujet

  • Government of Canada awards third contract to help maintain Canada's fleet of combat vessels

    15 août 2019 | Local, Naval

    Government of Canada awards third contract to help maintain Canada's fleet of combat vessels

    GATINEAU, QC, Aug. 15, 2019 /CNW/ - Through the National Shipbuilding Strategy, the Government of Canada is revitalizing a world-class marine industry in order to provide the women and men of the Royal Canadian Navy with the safe and effective warships they require to protect Canadian sovereignty. The government is investing more than $7.5 billion in the Royal Canadian Navy's 12 Halifax-class frigates to provide necessary ongoing maintenance until they are retired in the early 2040s. Today, the Government of Canada awarded a $500-million contract to Irving Shipbuilding Inc., of Halifax, Nova Scotia, to carry out maintenance work on the Halifax-class frigates. This initial five-year contract guarantees a minimum of three frigates for the shipyard, with work planned to begin in the early 2020s. The contract is expected to rise in value as additional work packages are added. This contract is expected to result in up to 400 jobs at the shipyard, plus hundreds of related jobs for marine sector suppliers and subcontractors across the country. On July 16, 2016, the Government of Canada awarded similar contracts to Seaspan's Victoria Shipyards Limited in Victoria, British Columbia, and Chantier Davie in Lévis, Quebec. The Canadian Surface Combatants will replace the Halifax-class frigates and the retired Iroquois-class destroyers. With them, the Royal Canadian Navy will have modern and capable ships to monitor and defend Canada's waters, to continue to contribute to international naval operations for decades to come and to rapidly deploy credible naval forces worldwide, on short notice. Construction on the Canadian Surface Combatants is scheduled to begin at Irving in the early 2020s. Quotes "The National Shipbuilding Strategy continues to support the women and men of the Royal Canadian Navy by providing them with safe, reliable ships to carry out their important work on behalf of Canada. This contract is another example of how the Strategy is helping to maintain our existing fleet, while supporting economic opportunities for the Canadian marine sector across the country." The Honourable Carla Qualtrough Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility "This announcement is essential for supporting the modernization of the Royal Canadian Navy. With our government's continued investment, our navy will continue to contribute to maritime security and stability around the world. This is a testament to how our defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, continues Canada's re‑engagement in the world. I am proud of our sailors and the great work they do." The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan Minister of National Defence Quick facts Docking maintenance work periods are essential to ensure the Halifax-class frigates are available and reliable during their operational cycle and deployments. Of the current fleet of Halifax-class frigates, 7 have their home port in Halifax, Nova Scotia, while the 5 others are based in Esquimalt, British Columbia. The Royal Canadian Navy requires that at least 8 of the 12 frigates are able to deploy at all times to meet the Navy's commitment to the Government of Canada. The Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy, including the Value Proposition, was applied to this procurement. These frigates monitor and control Canadian waters, defend Canada's sovereignty, facilitate large-scale search and rescue activities, and provide emergency assistance when needed. The frigates operate with and integrate into the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and coalitions of allied states in support of international peace and security operations. Introduced into service in the 1990s, the Canadian-built Halifax-class frigates were recently modernized to remain effective and operationally relevant until the Canadian Surface Combatants enter into service   https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/government-of-canada-awards-third-contract-to-help-maintain-canada-s-fleet-of-combat-vessels-818012638.html

  • Airbus se retire de la course pour remplacer les CF-18 canadiens

    3 septembre 2019 | Local, Aérospatial

    Airbus se retire de la course pour remplacer les CF-18 canadiens

    Par LEE BERTHIAUME La division Airbus Defence and Space, en partenariat avec le gouvernement britannique, était l’une des quatre entreprises qui devaient selon toute vraisemblance soumissionner pour ce contrat de 19 milliards portant sur la construction des 88 nouveaux avions de chasse qui doivent remplacer les CF-18 vieillissants de l’Aviation royale canadienne. Mais dans un communiqué publié vendredi, Airbus annonce qu’elle a informé le gouvernement canadien de sa décision de retirer de la course son « Eurofighter Typhoon » pour deux motifs — déjà évoqués par ailleurs avant même le lancement officiel de l’appel d’offres en juillet. Le premier motif concerne l’obligation pour les soumissionnaires de préciser comment ils comptent s’assurer que leurs avions pourront s’intégrer au réseau canado-américain ultra-secret de renseignement, connu sous le nom de « Two Eyes », qui est utilisé pour coordonner la défense commune de l’Amérique du Nord.   Airbus conclut que cette exigence fait peser « un coût trop lourd » sur les avions qui ne sont pas américains. Le géant européen explique qu’il aurait été tenu de démontrer comment il envisageait d’intégrer son Typhoon au système « Two-Eyes » sans même connaître les détails techniques de ce système ultra-secret de renseignement. Le deuxième facteur a été la décision du gouvernement libéral de modifier la politique qui obligeait traditionnellement les soumissionnaires à s’engager légalement à investir autant d’argent dans des produits et activités au Canada que ce qu’ils tirent des contrats militaires décrochés. En vertu du nouveau mécanisme, les soumissionnaires peuvent plutôt établir des « objectifs industriels » et signer des accords non contraignants promettant de tout mettre en œuvre pour les atteindre. Ces soumissionnaires perdent des points dans l’appel d’offres, mais ils ne sont plus écartés d’emblée de la course. Les États-Unis soutenaient que la politique précédente violait un accord signé par le Canada en 2006 pour devenir l’un des neuf pays partenaires dans le développement du F-35 de Lockheed Martin. Or, cet accord prévoit que les entreprises des pays partenaires se feront toutes concurrence pour obtenir des contrats en sous-traitance. Deuxième retrait Dans son annonce, vendredi, Airbus soutient que la nouvelle approche ne valorise pas suffisamment les engagements contraignants qu’elle était prête à offrir et qui constituaient l’un de ses principaux arguments. La ministre des Services publics et de l’Approvisionnement, Carla Qualtrough, a défendu à nouveau l’approche de son gouvernement dans ce dossier. Dans une déclaration écrite publiée après l’annonce du retrait d’Airbus, elle a estimé que cette nouvelle approche « assurera une participation maximale des fournisseurs ». « Notre gouvernement priorise les retombées économiques solides dans ce projet, a soutenu Mme Qualtrough. Nous sommes convaincus que cet investissement soutiendra la croissance de la main-d’œuvre canadienne hautement qualifiée dans les industries de l’aérospatiale et de la défense pour les décennies à venir et créera d’importantes retombées économiques et industrielles dans l’ensemble du pays. » Airbus devient la deuxième entreprise à retirer son chasseur de l’appel d’offres canadien, après le retrait du « Rafale » de la société française Dassault en novembre dernier. Il ne reste plus maintenant comme prétendants que le « F-35 » de Lockheed Martin, le « Super Hornet » de son concurrent américain Boeing et le « Gripen » du suédois Saab. Boeing et Saab ont déjà exprimé leurs préoccupations au sujet de la nouvelle politique en matière d’exigences industrielles, affirmant que ces changements ne profiteront pas aux contribuables et à l’industrie canadienne de l’aérospatiale et de la défense. Les entreprises devraient soumettre leurs offres l’hiver prochain et le contrat final doit être signé en 2022 ; le premier avion ne sera pas livré avant au moins 2025. Les gouvernements fédéraux successifs s’emploient à remplacer les CF-18 depuis plus de dix ans. Selon le porte-parole conservateur en matière de défense, James Bezan, le retrait d’Airbus prouve que le gouvernement libéral a mal géré tout ce dossier pendant son mandat — notamment en attendant quatre ans avant de lancer l’appel d’offres promis en campagne électorale en 2015. « Alors que d’autres pays ont choisi des avions de combat en moins de deux ans, le bilan du premier ministre Justin Trudeau en matière d’achats militaires en est un de retards et d’échecs », a estimé M. Bezan. Le gouvernement conservateur précédent avait annoncé en 2010 un plan pour acheter des F-35 de Lockheed Martin sans appel d’offres, mais il y a renoncé deux ans plus tard à la suite de préoccupations concernant les coûts et les capacités de ce chasseur furtif. https://www.lapresse.ca/affaires/entreprises/201908/30/01-5239279-airbus-se-retire-de-la-course-pour-remplacer-les-cf-18-canadiens.php

  • Plus question pour le Canada de se retirer du très coûteux programme des F-35 américains

    28 janvier 2019 | Local, Aérospatial

    Plus question pour le Canada de se retirer du très coûteux programme des F-35 américains

    Par Stéphane Parent | francais@rcinet.ca Le responsable de l’approvisionnement militaire au ministère de la Défense révèle que le Canada, l’un des neuf pays partenaires du programme de mise au point des F-35, n’a pas planifié de s’en retirer. Il semble qu’Ottawa ira de l’avant avec le versement de dizaines de millions de dollars pour le développement de cet avion de chasse F-35, même si le gouvernement fédéral continue d’étudier la pertinence ou non d’acheter ces appareils pour remplacer près d’une centaine de CF-18 qui ont plus de 40 ans d’usure. Le F-35 figure parmi les quatre modèles qui seront évalués à partir du printemps prochain dans un appel d’offres de 19 milliards, qui résultera dans l’acquisition de 88 nouveaux avions de combat. Le Canada a investi plus de 500 millions dans le programme des F-35 au cours des 20 dernières années, dont 54 millions l’an dernier. Son prochain paiement annuel doit être fait ce printemps, et il y en aura sans doute d’autres, étant donné que l’appel d’offres n’est pas censé se conclure avant 2021 ou 2022. Ce versement annuel permet au Canada de demeurer pendant encore un an membre du club des neuf partenaires dans le projet du futur avion de chasse F-35, dont la mise au point connaît des déboires majeurs. La stratégie de rester dans le camp du F-35 Le Canada demeure donc résolument dans le camp de l’aviation militaire américaine avec l’Australie, le Danemark, l’Italie, la Norvège, les Pays-Bas, le Royaume-Uni et la Turquie. Ces pays pourront soumettre des offres pour les contrats de milliards de dollars liés à la fabrication et à l’entretien des avions de chasse, mais aussi bénéficier de rabais s’ils décident d’en acheter. D’autres modèles de rechange proposés sont de conception européenne – le Gripen de Saab, le Typhoon du consortium Eurofighter et le Rafale de Dassault – et Ottawa privilégie une conception  http://www.rcinet.ca/fr/2019/01/24/plus-question-pour-le-canada-de-se-retirer-du-tres-couteux-programme-des-f-35-americains/

Toutes les nouvelles