Harman Patil (Editor)

Minister of National Defence (Canada)

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Style  The Honourable
Inaugural holder  George Perry Graham
Member of  Cabinet Privy Council
Formation  1 January 1923
Minister of National Defence (Canada)
Appointer  Governor General of Canada on behalf of the Queen of Canada
Term length  At Her Majesty's pleasure

The Minister of National Defence (French: Ministre de la Défense nationale) is a Minister of the Crown and is the Canadian politician within the Cabinet of Canada responsible for the management and direction of all matters relating to the national defence of Canada. 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. 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). 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. 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.


The current Minister of National Defence is Harjit Sajjan.


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.

The Defence Portfolio

The Defence portfolio for the Minister of National Defence includes:

  • Canadian Armed Forces
  • Cadets Canada and Junior Canadian Rangers
  • Military Grievances External Review Committee
  • Canadian Forces Housing Agency
  • Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency
  • Communications Security Establishment
  • Defence Research and Development Canada
  • Department of National Defence
  • Judge Advocate General
  • Military Police Complaints Commission
  • National Search and Rescue Secretariat
  • Office of the Chief Military Judge
  • Office of the Legal Advisor to the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces (DND/CF LA)
  • Office of the National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman
  • The Minister of National Defence is also the designated Lead Minister for Search and Rescue (LMSAR) within the federal government.



    Ministers with military experience

  • Colonel James Ralston, Canadian Army; commander (Lieutenant Colonel) of the 85th (Nova Scotia Highlanders) Battalion, CEF
  • General Andrew McNaughton, 5th Battalion Canadian Mounted Rifles, Canadian Expeditionary Force, commander of the Canadian Corps, Canadian Militia/Permanent Active Militia and Canadian Army
  • Battery Sergeant-Major Brooke Claxton, Victoria Rifles of Canada
  • Major General George Pearkes, Canadian Expeditionary Force, commander of the Canadian Corps, Canadian Militia and Canadian Army
  • Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Harkness, Royal Canadian Artillery, Canadian Army
  • Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Churchill, Vickers Machine Gunner, Canadian Expeditionary Force; commander of the Fort Garry Horse and commanding officer of the 1st Canadian Carrier Regiment (Canada Corps)
  • Brigadier General Charles Drury, commanding officer 4th Field Regiment Royal Canadian Artillery, General Staff Officer of the 2nd Canadian Division and acting commander of the Royal Artillery 4th Canadian Division (Canadian Army)
  • Lieutenant Barney Danson, The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada
  • Pilot Officer James Armstrong Richardson, Liberator anti-submarine patrol squadron of the RCAF
  • Major Allan Bruce McKinnon, Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery and Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
  • Flight Lieutenant Gilles Lamontagne, bomber pilot RCAF
  • Brigadier General (Ret'd) Gordon O'Connor, Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, Canadian Army
  • Lieutenant Colonel Harjit Sajjan, The British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught's Own), Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, Canadian Army
  • References

    Minister of National Defence (Canada) Wikipedia