8 avril 2024 | Local, Terrestre

Liberal government defence policy boosts military spending, commits to new purchases of helicopters, missiles, aircraft

Canada is to buy a new fleet of early warning aircrafts, helicopters and missiles—and bring defence spending up to 1.76 per cent of GDP


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  • Port of Montreal busier than ever, creating opportunities for smugglers

    12 mars 2019 | Local, Sécurité

    Port of Montreal busier than ever, creating opportunities for smugglers

    Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press On a crisp day in early March, Tony Boemi looks out on the stacked shipping containers that stretch into the horizon of the 26 kilometre-long Port of Montreal. "We've been going up tremendously," the port authority vice-president says. Traffic at Canada's second-largest port rose nine per cent in 2018 to the equivalent of more than 1.6 million 20-foot containers for the fifth straight year of record volumes, prompting concerns the docks will be overloaded by 2022. Vancouver and Halifax, the largest and third-largest ports, respectively, also saw record container traffic last year. "I'd be lying if I said we weren't struggling with managing the sudden surge," Boemi says. Driving the boom is Canadian demand for clothing, appliances and other consumer products made in Asia, as well as a new free trade agreement with Europe. However, the surge in traffic comes with a downside: The additional containers present an opportunity for criminals to capitalize on limited law enforcement resources and hide more contraband among the legitimate goods. Bud Garrick, an investigator with Presidia Security Consulting and former deputy director-general of the RCMP's criminal intelligence service, said imported drugs and exported stolen cars constitute the biggest smuggling problem, with authorities nabbing only a small fraction of the spoils. "Marine ports are an attractive environment for individuals with ill means and mind to smuggle things into Canada," he said. "The amount of cargo -- shipping containers -- that moves in and out of ports is phenomenal...It's a magnitude problem." The criminal allure of ports is simple. Airports are under too much scrutiny, and air freight is costly. Overland smuggling does occur, but on a smaller scale. "Trying to intercept smuggled cargo at a port is expensive and disruptive, and you'll never have enough resources to catch most things through random screening," Peter Hall, an associate professor of urban studies at Simon Fraser University, said in an email. "Mostly 1/8the CBSA 3/8 focus on screening for terrorist and bio-hazards." A 2015 federal auditor general's report found that the Canada Border Services Agency "did not fully have the necessary authorities, information, practices and controls to implement its enforcement priorities and prevent the export of goods that contravene Canada's export laws." Just like legitimate trade, black market port activity works both ways. Incoming ships bring drugs such as cocaine and heroin, while outbound ships contain a growing number of stolen vehicles. "The most prolific is actually in Alberta," said Henry Tso, vice-president of investigative services at the Insurance Bureau of Canada. "A lot of the cars are being shipped from Alberta to various ports in Canada, mainly Vancouver." More than 25,000 vehicles were stolen in Alberta in 2018, part of a 50 per cent increase over the past five years that stems in part from overseas demand for high-end pickup trucks and SUVs. The thefts, which recent cases have linked to criminal organizations in West Africa, northern Europe, the Middle East and China, rely on human as well as technological flaws. "Certain docks, there are some you know are run by organized crime. Even in Quebec, like the Montreal ports, one terminal is clean, the other one is not clean," said Tso. "The major issue is corruption," said Anthony Nicaso, who has authored more than two-dozen books on organized crime. "There is no political will to fight organized crime," he said, "probably because money does not stink, so who cares -- money is money." Back at the Montreal port, Boemi estimates the CBSA thoroughly inspects about three per cent of containers that roll through the port. The CBSA declined to give statistics, but noted that screening devices such as gamma-ray detectors -- which sense radioactive material -- scan each container. "The CBSA requires marine carriers to electronically transmit marine cargo data to the Agency 24 hours prior to the loading of cargo at a foreign port. This requirement allows the CBSA to effectively identify threats to Canada's health, safety and security and take actions prior to cargo and conveyances leaving foreign ports," the CBSA said in an email. A Canadian Senate report from 2006 found that 15 per cent of stevedores and more than two-thirds of checkers who worked at the Montreal port had criminal records, along with more than half of the workers at an outside company contracted to pick up waste and maintain ships at the docks. In an effort to boost security, the Port of Montreal now requires that truckers with Transport Canada security clearance have their fingerprints scanned upon entry. The port and CBSA have signed on for a trial run of blockchain technology that aims to better secure and streamline freight shipping. Jean-Pierre Fortin, president of the Customs and Immigration Union representing some 10,500 CBSA employees, is not satisfied. "With stolen cars, with drugs, with guns, we need to increase our capacity to monitor this properly," he said. https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/port-of-montreal-busier-than-ever-creating-opportunities-for-smugglers-1.4330014

  • Chinese-made equipment in Canada's Arctic ships under scrutiny

    4 octobre 2018 | Local, Naval

    Chinese-made equipment in Canada's Arctic ships under scrutiny

    Murray Brewster · CBC News Canadian queries about Chinese content could be response to American anxiety, says intelligence expert Canada's international trade minister quietly sounded out officials at the Department of National Defence last spring about how much of the content in the navy's new Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships could be sourced back to China, newly released documents reveal. The unusual April request from the office of François​-Philippe Champagne, who was international trade minister at the time, was made as Canadian negotiators were struggling to negotiate a revised North American Free Trade Agreement with the Trump administration — which has become increasingly suspicious of the involvement of Chinese companies in the defence and high-tech sectors. An information note, detailing the answers given to Champagne, was prepared for Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and obtained by CBC News under access to information law. "Equipment has been sourced from a variety of manufacturers, many of whom are offshore, with a very limited amount being procured from the People's Republic of China," said the April 4, 2018 briefing prepared by DND's project management office. Chinese steel The briefing made a point of underlining the Canadian content requirements that are part of every major capital project. It noted that 17 per cent of the steel being used to construct the warship — as well as the lifeboats, mooring and towing system components and various pipes and fittings — came from Chinese companies. Champagne was shuffled last summer to the infrastructure portfolio. Officials who worked for him said Wednesday they were not sure what his request was about. Defence and intelligence experts find the inquiry about the warship components curious — and not only because of Washington's growing trade fight with Beijing. The Pentagon has been quietly sounding out allies about who is building their military equipment, both hardware and software. "There's been some concern about this in ... U.S. military circles, about the degree to which there is Chinese ownership of firms working in sensitive areas," said Dave Perry, a procurement expert at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. "At a fairly high level, the U.S. (Department of Defence) was concerned about Canada having involvement of firms in defence supply chain that has Chinese angles, Chinese partial ownership." The documents demonstrate how hard it can be to trace the provenance of military parts. One of the firms supplying anchors for the Arctic ships was Apache International Ltd., which has listed itself as a Canadian company with an office in China. Following Champagne's questions, it was determined the original manufacturer of the equipment was Chinese. Wesley Wark, a University of Ottawa professor and one of the country's leading experts on cybersecurity and intelligence, said the Americans' concern relates mostly to electronics and other "warfighting equipment" — not necessarily the nuts and bolts. The U.S. Defence Department's acquisition chief said last summer the Pentagon was developing a so-called "Do Not Buy" list of software that does not meet national security standards. 'A certain xenophobia' Canadian concerns about Chinese product in the Arctic ships could be influenced by American concerns, said Wark, who noted that Canada has struck an independent tone when it comes to trade relations with China and has resisted U.S. and Australian pressure to ban Chinese telecom giant Huawei. "Canada has been under intense pressure by the Trump administration to follow the general lead on waging a trade war with China," he said. "There is White House pressure on the Pentagon. The Pentagon has legitimate concerns, like any Western military, about allowing certain elements of Chinese manufactured stuff into its infrastructure." Complicating matters is an almost-forgotten case of alleged espionage that is still grinding its way through the legal system. Chinese-born Qing Quentin Huang, who worked for Lloyd's Register, was charged in 2013 with "attempting to communicate with a foreign entity." He was accused of trying to pass design information about Canada's Arctic ships to the Chinese. Aside from its understandable military and economic policy concerns, Wark said the White House position on China is being driven in part by "a certain xenophobia" that is troubling. "You have to be careful not to find ourselves falling into that American model," he said. "We can make our own distinctions about what might be sensitive or dangerous." https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/chinese-made-equipment-in-canada-s-arctic-ships-under-scrutiny-1.4849562

  • Anita Anand ousted as Defence Minister because proposed policy update too costly, say sources

    28 juillet 2023 | Local, Sécurité, Autre défense

    Anita Anand ousted as Defence Minister because proposed policy update too costly, say sources

    Reworking of the defence policy update is underway after the document proposed by National Defence was deemed to be unrealistic.

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