Minister of National Defence (Canada)

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Minister of National Defence of Canada
Government of Canada signature.svg
Canadian Minister of Defense Harjit Sajjan.jpg
Harjit Sajjan

since 4 November 2015
The Defence Portfolio
Style The Honourable
Member of
Appointer Governor General of Canada on behalf of the Queen of Canada
Term length At Her Majesty's pleasure
Inaugural holder George Perry Graham
Formation1 January 1923
Salary$255,300 (2017) [1]
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The Minister of National Defence (French : Ministre de la Défense nationale) is a Minister of the Crown and is the politician within the Cabinet of Canada responsible for the management and direction of all matters relating to the national defence of Canada. [2] The Department of National Defence is headed by the Deputy Minister of National Defence, the department's senior civil servant, while the Canadian Armed Forces are headed by the Chief of the Defence Staff, Canada's senior serving military officer. [3] Both are responsible to the Minister. The Queen of Canada (represented by the Governor General of Canada) is the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces and has final authority on all orders and laws for the "defence of the realm" (see Queen-in-Council). [4] [5] The minister is responsible, through the tenets of responsible government, to Parliament for "the management and direction of the Canadian Forces". Any orders and instructions for the Canadian Armed Forces are issued by or through the Chief of the Defence Staff. [6] The Department of National Defence exists to aid the minister in carrying out his responsibilities, and acts as the civilian support system for the Canadian Forces. [7] [8]

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the Germanic Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Minister of the Crown is a formal constitutional term used in Commonwealth realms to describe a minister to the reigning sovereign or their viceroy. The term indicates that the minister serves at His/Her Majesty's pleasure, and advises the sovereign or viceroy on how to exercise the Crown prerogatives relative to the minister's department or ministry.

A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking office in government. In democratic countries, politicians seek elective positions within a government through elections or, at times, temporary appointment to replace politicians who have died, resigned or have been otherwise removed from office. In non-democratic countries, they employ other means of reaching power through appointment, bribery, revolutions and war. Some politicians are experienced in the art or science of government. Politicians propose, support and create laws or policies that govern the land and, by extension, its people. Broadly speaking, a "politician" can be anyone who seeks to achieve political power in any bureaucratic institution.


The current Minister of National Defence is Harjit Sajjan.

Harjit Sajjan Canadian Liberal politician

Harjit Singh Sajjan is a Canadian Liberal politician, the current Minister of National Defence, acting Minister of Veterans Affairs, and a Member of Parliament representing the riding of Vancouver South. He is Canada's first Sikh Minister of Defence. Sajjan was first elected during the 2015 federal election, defeating Conservative incumbent MP Wai Young, and was sworn as defence minister into the Cabinet, headed by Justin Trudeau, on November 4, 2015. Before politics, Sajjan was a detective investigating gangs for the Vancouver Police Department and at the same time a Lieutenant Colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces decorated for his service in Afghanistan. Sajjan was also the first Sikh-Canadian to command a Canadian Army reserve regiment.


Historically, the position was pre-dated by the Minister of Militia and Defence. During World War II, the Minister of National Defence was assisted by two subordinate ministers, the Minister of National Defence for Air and Minister of National Defence for Naval Services. The portfolio was merged into a single ministry following the end of the war.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Minister of National Defence for Air (Canada) was the minister responsible for the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. post created by the 1940 War Measures Act. The act specifically amended the National Defence Act of 1923.

Minister of National Defence for Naval Services (Canada) was the minister responsible for the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II. The post was merged into the current post of the Minister of National Defence (Canada)

The Defence Portfolio

The Defence portfolio for the Minister of National Defence includes: [9]

Canadian Armed Forces combined military forces of Canada

The Canadian Armed Forces, or Canadian Forces (CF), are the unified armed forces of Canada, as constituted by the National Defence Act, which states: "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces."

The Canadian Cadet Organizations, marketed under the name of Cadets Canada, are a youth program known as the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets, Royal Canadian Army Cadets, and Royal Canadian Air Cadets. The program is sponsored by the Canadian Armed Forces and funded through the Department of National Defence (DND), with support from civilian groups, namely the Navy League, the Army Cadet League and the Air Cadet League, as well as local community sponsors that include service organizations and parents of cadets.

The Canadian Forces Housing Agency is a Special Operating Agency, established in October 1995, to operate and maintain 15,000 military family housing units across Canada for military members and their families located on wings and bases. Funds are distributed amongst Housing Management Offices on a pro-rata basis by portfolio size and condition in relation to others nationally, and on average occupancy rates at each site. The organization is headed by a Chief Executive Officer.

The Minister of National Defence is also the designated Lead Minister for Search and Rescue (LMSAR) within the federal government.



   Liberal Party of Canada
  Historical conservative parties: Liberal-Conservative, Conservative (historical), Unionist, National Liberal and Conservative, Progressive Conservative
   Conservative Party of Canada
No.PortraitNameTerm of officePolitical partyMinistry
1 George Perry Graham.jpg George Perry Graham January 1, 1923April 27, 1923 Liberal 12 (King)
2 Edward Mortimer Macdonald.jpg Edward Mortimer Macdonald April 28, 1923
(Acting until Aug.17)
June 28, 1926Liberal
3 Hugh Guthrie.jpg Hugh Guthrie June 29, 1926
(Acting until Jul.13)
September 25, 1926 Conservative (historical) 13 (Meighen)
VACANTSeptember 25, 1926September 30, 1926 14 (King)
James Alexander Robb.jpg James Robb
October 1, 1926October 7, 1926 Liberal
4 James Ralston3.png James Ralston
(1st time)
October 8, 1926August 7, 1930Liberal
5 Donald Matheson Sutherland.jpg Donald Matheson Sutherland August 7, 1930November 16, 1934 Conservative (historical) 15 (Bennett)
6 No image.svg Grote Stirling November 17, 1934October 23, 1935Conservative (historical)
7 Ian Alastair Mackenzie.jpg Ian Alistair Mackenzie October 24, 1935September 18, 1939 Liberal 16 (King)
8 Norman McLeod Rogers.jpg Norman McLeod Rogers September 19, 1939June 10, 1940Liberal
Charles Gavan Chubby Power.jpg Charles Power
June 11, 1940July 4, 1940Liberal
(4) James Ralston3.png James Ralston
(2nd time)
July 5, 1940November 1, 1944Liberal
9 LGen Andrew McNaughton, 1942 cropped.jpg Andrew McNaughton November 2, 1944August 20, 1945Military
10 Douglas Charles Abbott.jpg Douglas Abbott August 21, 1945December 9, 1946 Liberal
11 Brooke Claxton.jpg Brooke Claxton December 10, 1946November 15, 1948Liberal
November 15, 1948June 30, 1954 17 (St. Laurent)
12 No image.svg Ralph Campney July 1, 1954June 20, 1957Liberal
13 George Pearkes June 21, 1957October 10, 1960 Progressive Conservative 18 (Diefenbaker)
14 No image.svg Douglas Harkness October 11, 1960February 3, 1963Progressive Conservative
VACANTFebruary 4, 1963February 11, 1963
15 No image.svg Gordon Churchill February 12, 1963April 21, 1963Progressive Conservative
16 Paul Hellyer-c1969.jpg Paul Hellyer April 22, 1963September 18, 1967 Liberal 19 (Pearson)
17 No image.svg Léo Cadieux September 18, 1967April 19, 1968Liberal
April 20, 1968September 16, 1970 20 (P. E. Trudeau)
No image.svg Charles Drury
(1st time; Acting)
September 17, 1970September 23, 1970Liberal
18 No image.svg Donald Macdonald September 24, 1970January 27, 1972Liberal
19 Edgar Benson January 28, 1972August 31, 1972Liberal
No image.svg Jean-Eudes Dubé
September 1, 1972September 6, 1972Liberal
No image.svg Charles Drury
(2nd time; Acting)
September 7, 1972November 26, 1972Liberal
20 No image.svg James Richardson November 27, 1972October 12, 1976Liberal
21 No image.svg Barney Danson October 13, 1976
(Acting until Nov.3)
June 3, 1979Liberal
22 No image.svg Allan McKinnon June 4, 1979March 2, 1980 Progressive Conservative 21 (Clark)
23 No image.svg Gilles Lamontagne March 3, 1980August 11, 1983 Liberal 22 (P. E. Trudeau)
24 No image.svg Jean–Jacques Blais August 12, 1983June 29, 1984Liberal
June 30, 1984September 16, 1984 23 (Turner)
25 No image.svg Robert Coates September 17, 1984February 11, 1985 Progressive Conservative 24 (Mulroney)
26 No image.svg Erik Nielsen February 12, 1985
(Acting until Feb.26)
June 29, 1986Progressive Conservative
27 No image.svg Perrin Beatty June 30, 1986January 29, 1989Progressive Conservative
28 Bill McKnight.jpg Bill McKnight January 30, 1989April 20, 1991Progressive Conservative
29 Marcel Masse 2012-04-12.jpg Marcel Masse April 21, 1991January 3, 1993Progressive Conservative
30 KimCampbell.jpg Kim Campbell January 4, 1993June 24, 1993Progressive Conservative
31 No image.svg Tom Siddon June 25, 1993November 3, 1993Progressive Conservative 25 (Campbell)
32 No image.svg David Collenette November 4, 1993October 4, 1996Liberal 26 (Chrétien)
33 No image.svg Doug Young October 5, 1996June 10, 1997Liberal
34 Art Eggleton June 11, 1997June 25, 2002Liberal
35 John McCallum.jpg John McCallum June 26, 2002December 11, 2003Liberal
36 No image.svg David Pratt December 12, 2003July 19, 2004Liberal 27 (Martin)
37 Bill Graham by Rod Brito.jpg Bill Graham July 20, 2004February 5, 2006Liberal
38 Gordon O'Connor with Robert Gates, Jan 23, 2007, cropped.jpg Gordon O'Connor February 6, 2006August 14, 2007 Conservative 28 (Harper)
39 Peter MacKay crop.JPG Peter MacKay August 14, 2007July 15, 2013Conservative
40 Rob Nicholson infobox.jpg Rob Nicholson July 15, 2013February 9, 2015Conservative
41 Jason Kenney 2014.jpg Jason Kenney February 9, 2015November 4, 2015Conservative
42 Canadian Minister of Defense Harjit Sajjan.jpg Harjit Sajjan November 4, 2015IncumbentLiberal 29 (J. Trudeau)

Ministers with military experience

Colonel is a senior military officer rank below the brigadier and general officer ranks. However, in some small military forces, such as those of Monaco or the Vatican, colonel is the highest rank. It is also used in some police forces and paramilitary organizations.

James Ralston Canadian politician

James Layton Ralston, was a Canadian lawyer, soldier and politician.

Canadian Army land component of the Canadian Armed Forces

The Canadian Army is the command responsible for the operational readiness of the conventional ground forces of the Canadian Armed Forces. As of 2018 the Army has 23,000 regular soldiers, about 17,000 reserve soldiers, including 5,000 rangers, for a total of 40,000 soldiers. The Army is supported by 3,000 civilian employees. It maintains regular forces units at bases across Canada, and is also responsible for the Army Reserve, the largest component of the Primary Reserve. The Commander of the Canadian Army and Chief of the Army Staff is Lieutenant-General Jean-Marc Lanthier.

See also

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  1. "Indemnities, Salaries and Allowances". Parliament of Canada.
  2. "Laws Defining Responsibilities and Authorities of National Defence". Department of National Defence. March 25, 2010. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
  3. "About DND - What is the relationship between DND and the Canadian Forces?". Department of National Defence. February 1, 2012. Archived from the original on March 1, 2012. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
  4. Lagassé, Philippe (December 2013). "The Crown's Powers of Command-in Chief: Interpreting Section 15 of Canada's Constitution Act, 1867" (PDF). Review of Constitutional Studies. 18 (2): 189–220.
  5. Federal Court of Canada (21 January 2008), In the Matter of Aralt Mac Giolla Chainnigh v. the Attorney-General of Canada (PDF), T-1809-06; 38, Ottawa: Queen's Printer for Canada, p. 5, 2008 FC 69, retrieved 7 February 2008
  6. National Defence Act. Ottawa: Her Majesty the Queen as represented by the Minister of Justice. 2011. pp. 8, 12.
  7. "FAQ - What is the relationship between DND and the CF?". Department of National Defence. February 13, 2012. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
  8. "Civilians Supporting the Army". Department of National Defence. August 5, 2011. Archived from the original on May 16, 2013. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
  9. "The Defence Portfolio". Department of National Defence. August 5, 2011. Retrieved March 8, 2012.