Journal of Defense Studies and Resource Management ISSN: 2324-9315

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It’s time for Canadian Decisions on Lethal Drones

The newly-elected Canadian government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is engaged in a defence review process that will result in a new Defence White Paper. There is a strong possibility that Canada acquires more Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for a range of military tasks including disaster relief, surveillance, reconnaissance and the provision of close air support to soldiers in combat. States and sub-state actors can decide to use UAVs or drones to carry out strikes against targets in relatively distant or inaccessible locations. However, this article argues that more consideration, review, transparency and international law regarding drone policy are needed. It suggests Canada take the lead and abide by emerging international law concerning drones as well as become one of the first countries to establish impartisan and unbiased commissions to consider their merits and demerits. Further consideration, monitoring and stringent overview of this relatively new defence technology will be important. It is suggested that Canada’s Department of National Defence declare its intention to take the initiative in the international community in terms of abiding by new and emerging international law, if and when the government decides to acquire significantly more numbers of drones as part of its current defence review process.

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