The Harper government's new focus on the Americas means a dramatic change of effort for the Canadian Forces and an overt participation in the U.S. war on drugs.
The commander of Canada's operational forces, Lt.-Gen. Stuart Beare, says Canada is now focusing new efforts on Central America and the Caribbean.
In an exclusive interview with CBC News, Beare said Canada was active in attempts to sever the Central American drug artery pumping narcotics northwards into the United States in Canada.
"We're partnered with our U.S. partners in the counter-narcotic effort on the southern flank, in Central and South America, as the flow goes north," Beare revealed.
For years, Canada has participated in naval operations in the Caribbean Sea designed to thwart narcotics-smuggling efforts. Canada has also provided specialized radar and reconnaissance patrol aircraft to that fight.
But Beare suggests much more is being done in the region now than ever before.
Canadian troops are working and training with troops from Chile, Brazil, even Colombia, Beare said. But the effort is sharpest in Central America.
"We're staying connected in the hemisphere, in particular, in capacity-building partners in the Caribbean Basin, sustaining a great effort with Jamaica, reaching into Belize and Guatemala, helping them to build their own capacity, to manage their own security forces and security conditions."
Troops from the Petawawa, Ont.,-based Canadian Special Operations Regiment assisted in the training of a special Jamaican force, called the Counter Terrorism Operations Group.
Those Jamaican troops put their Canadian-taught skills to use in 2009 to free six Canadian crew aboard a CanJet 737 hijacked at Montego Bay. (Negotiators had previously convinced the hijacker to release roughly 150 passengers.)
Jamaica in turn has allowed Canada to construct and staff a forward-deployed operational staging centre, to help Canadian troops leap more quickly into action in the event of natural disasters or security threats in the region.
Increasing military co-operation
In Belize, Canada has engaged for several years trying to build both police and military capability through the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program, run by the Foreign Affairs department. So far, more than $2 million has been spent to help improve Belize's national forensic centre and its defence force.
But the military aspect of Canada's engagement is increasing.
Last June, Canada donated 2,000 surplus military load-carrying vests to the Belize Defence Force. Belize is also a participant in the Canadian-run Military Training Co-operation Program — a program that provides military education and skills training to poor and developing countries.
I am certain that CANADA either has no historians, or that they must be the biggest idiots, who never informed anyone, especially the POLITICIANS - the war on drugs is a sham, and has not worked.
So CANADA will now give it a try too eh?
I think they should also look at invading Vietnam, and try to irradiate communism there.