CDMA 2008: CANADA TO HIGHLIGHT NEW FOCUS ON THE AMERICAS

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08OTTAWA1068 12 August 2008 Confidencial / No para extranjeros Embassy Ottawa

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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 OTTAWA 001068

NOFORN
SIPDIS

STATE FOR PM JBURNETT
STATE ALSO FOR USMISSION OAS
DOD/OSD FOR CPHONGKHAMSAVATH

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2018
TAGS: PREL, MARR, PGOV, OAS, CA
SUBJECT: CDMA 2008: CANADA TO HIGHLIGHT NEW FOCUS ON THE
AMERICAS

REF: STATE 3680

OTTAWA 00001068 001.4 OF 003

Classified By: DCM Terry Breese, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary: Canada will highlight its renewed focus on
the Americas at the Conference of Defense Ministers of the
Americas (CDMA) 2008 in Banff, September 2-6. Canadian
officials look forward to a robust U.S. presence at the CDMA
and want to collaborate with the U.S. to ensure that the
Declaration calls for concrete, measurable progress in
regional security, capacity building, and governance; and to
translate the Declaration into action in other venues such as
the OAS. Canada’s new, but not yet Cabinet-approved,
hemispheric defense strategy will guide its engagement at the
CDMA. The strategy looks to the southern cone for strategic
partners, to the Andean region with an emphasis on
counterterrorism and counternarcotics, and to the Caribbean
with a view towards increasing security. It is silent so far
on Cuba. Canada is keen to expand Latin American
participation in the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti, and is
looking for ways to partner with Mexico to advance regional
and global defense and security. The Canadians hope to
leverage their considerable support for the 2010 CDMA in
Bolivia into an effort by that country to stifle Venezuelan,
Ecuadorian, and Nicaraguan mischief-making in Banff. End
summary.

2. (C) Canadian Prime Minister Harper’s new Americas
strategy focuses on enhancing prosperity, democratic
governance, and security via increased trade, aid, and
defense and security engagement that delivers tangible,
measurable results. The September 2-6 Conference of Defense
Ministers of the Americas (CDMA) is one of five high-profile
events in 2008 meant to underscore Harper’s assertion that
"Canada is back" and is prepared to strengthen its engagement
in the hemisphere. To that end, other high profile events
this year include the state visits of the presidents of
Brazil and Chile, the visit of CARICOM leaders, and the
meeting of the Caribbean Development Bank in Canada.

Canada’s CDMA Goals


3. (C) Canadian officials have emphasized privately that
their goals for the CDMA align with those put forward by the
U.S. Canada wishes to demonstrate its leadership at the
Conference by promoting regional security, defense and
security capacity building, and training and governance in
the hemisphere. More specifically, Canada plans to join the
U.S. in pressing others to reach consensus on the need to
improve domain awareness, develop professional civilian
expertise at defense ministries, promote confidence and
security-building measures, and seek endorsement of and
participation in the 2009 Western Hemisphere Regional
Operational Experts Group Meeting.

4. (C) Canadian officials are keen to collaborate with U.S.
officials in devising ways to use the CDMA’s Banff
Declaration to win concrete, measurable progress in other
venues such as the OAS. Further, they have stressed the
importance of a robust U.S. presence at the meeting because,
they say, the CDMA is "useful only to the extent that the
U.S. plays an important role in it."
QU.S. plays an important role in it."

Hemispheric Defense Engagement Strategy


5. (C) Since 2007, Department of National Defence (DND)
officials have worked to translate the PM’s strategic
guidance for the hemisphere into its Defense Engagement
Strategy for Latin America and the Caribbean. The current —
but not yet approved by Cabinet — draft strategy looks to
the Caribbean with a greater security focus, to the Andean
Region with an emphasis on counter-narcotics and
counterterrorism, and to the Southern Cone for partners with
whom Canada can engage the rest of the hemisphere and beyond.
It articulates the need to leverage Canada’s strong

OTTAWA 00001068 002.4 OF 003

relations with its continental partners, the U.S. and Mexico,
to promote regional security, defense & security capacity
building, and training and governance throughout the
hemisphere. It does not, however, come with a near- or
mid-term increase in funding.

6. The DND Strategy groups South and Central American and
Caribbean countries according to four ’Defense Engagement
Levels’ of varying importance from Strategic Partnership at
the top, to Defense Cooperation, Defense Contact and,
finally, Defense Interest.

— Strategic Partnership: Applies to countries capable of
making important contributions to regional and international
peace and security, and integral to advancing Canada’s
interests at the regional or global level. Canada will seek
close defense relations with these countries across the
spectrum of engagement, including high-level visits, staff
talks, combined training and exercises, and urge
interoperability with Canadian forces. This short list of
capable potential strategic partners includes Argentina,
Brazil and Chile.

— Defense Cooperation: Applies to countries of lesser
capability with whom DND will seek to promote warm defense
relations and partial interoperability. Belize, Bolivia,
Colombia, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Peru, Trinidad &
Tobago and Uruguay comprise the list.

— Defense Contact: Applies to countries with whom
activities provide little or no benefit to the Canadian
forces. Engagement is limited to the understanding of
tactics and procedures, military confidence-building
measures, etc. The list includes Barbados, Ecuador, El
Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

— Defense Interest: Applies to countries meriting minimal
to non-existent defense-related activities, but about which
Canada hopes to gain defense and security awareness. They
are The Bahamas, Costa Rica, Guyana, Haiti, Panama, Paraguay,
Surinam and all Eastern Caribbean countries not named above.
The draft Strategy is silent on Cuba.

Haiti


7. (C) Ottawa accepts that Canada and the U.S. will remain
the top two donors in Haiti and that both countries will have
to stay engaged for the long haul in order to deal with
endemic security and health risks, including drugs,
trafficking, and poverty. Canadian aid to Haiti amounts to a
five-year, $555 million commitment, making it Canada’s
number-two aid priority after Afghanistan. Canada is keen to
maintain, and to expand, the current international — and
particularly Latin American — involvement in the UN
peacekeeping operation in Haiti (MINUSTAH).


Mexico


8. (C) Realism, gradualism, and sensitivity are the
watchwords guiding Canadian engagement with Mexico. The
"awkward but useful" 2007 political-military talks looked at,
but made little progress on, bilateral collaboration on
non-proliferation, peacekeeping operations, counterterrorism,
and increased cooperation in the OAS and the UN. In
particular, the Canadians pressed the Mexicans lightly on
peacekeeping, trying unsuccessfully to pique their interest
Qpeacekeeping, trying unsuccessfully to pique their interest
in contributing to MINUSTAH. The Canadians are keen to
collaborate quietly with the U.S. on Mexican engagement.
They agree with DOD DASD Johnson’s assertion that now is
"moment of opportunity" when maturing democracies are
prepared to partner with the U.S. and Canada to shape the
economic, security and ideological spaces in order to keep
more Latin American countries from going the way of Venezuela
and Bolivia.

OTTAWA 00001068 003.4 OF 003

Venezuela and Bolivia


9. (C) Canada hopes to leverage its considerable mentoring
and financial support of the Bolivia-hosted 2010 CDMA into
that country’s help to stifle Venezuelan antics and negative
influences in Banff. According to DND officials, Canada and
Bolivia have a "politically useful understanding" that the
two will depend on each other to ensure that both the 2008
and 2010 CDMAs are successful. This "understanding" obliges
Bolivia to work against any potential Venezuelan effort to
block consensus on the CDMA Declaration and, as the Canadians
put it, to keep Ecuador and Nicaragua from "screwing up the
process."

Logistics


10. (C) U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins will
participate in the CDMA September 2-4. Defence Minister
Peter MacKay will host the September 2-6 CDMA and participate
in bilateral meetings, while the top career civilian at DND,
Deputy Minister Robert Fonberg, will serve as the Canadian
delegation head to the CDMA. DND Assistant Deputy Minister
for Political Affairs Vincent Rigby will join the CDMA
Secretariat. Because most CHODs do not plan to travel to
Banff, Chief of Defense Staff General Walter Natynczyk will
be present on September 2-3 only.

Comment


11. (C/NF) Whether and to what extent Canada’s no-nonsense
Prime Minister perceives that his strategic vision for the
hemisphere has been advanced at the CDMA will determine to a
considerable degree his willingness to direct more resources
to defense engagement in the region. The broader
ramifications of success, or failure, in this matter are
therefore behind Canada’s concerted effort to ensure that
mischief-makers do not disrupt the CDMA. As is the effort to
ensure that the Declaration translates into concrete,
measurable outcomes at the OAS and other defense and security
venues in the hemisphere.

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