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Canadian Civil-Military Relations in Comparative Perspective: It Could Be Worse?

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Abstract

In most advanced democracies, civilian control of the military is taken for granted even though it is fundamental to democracy itself. In many democracies, relatively few elected officials have significant power and responsibility over this very important domain. Canadian institutions, like those in many democracies, provide few incentives for politicians to become seriously engaged in defence issues. This chapter puts Canada into comparative perspective, indicating both that oversight over the Canadian Armed Forces is rather weak and that Canada is not alone. Using principal-agent theory, this chapter considers who are the relevant actors for the supervision of the armed forces, what their powers and interests are, and what this means for the Canadian Armed Forces. The focus here is on the prime minister, the defence minister, the chief of defence staff, the deputy minister and parliament, with a quick look at the limited private sector. The end of the chapter then considers what the Canadian Armed Forces does with its substantial autonomy.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-26403-1_8
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This is based on research funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council, the Social Science Research Council and the Paterson Chair at Carleton University.

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Correspondence to Stephen M. Saideman .

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Saideman, S.M. (2020). Canadian Civil-Military Relations in Comparative Perspective: It Could Be Worse?. In: Juneau, T., Lagassé, P., Vucetic, S. (eds) Canadian Defence Policy in Theory and Practice. Canada and International Affairs. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-26403-1_8

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