Quite a discussion, and I'm not knowledgeable enough to take a definitive stance, let alone get into a debate about a particular piece of kit. My problem with the way we do things is, even if we come up with a cohesive defence and security policy that everybody is happy with, by the time we fund and equip it into reality, it is out of date and the world has moved on. Rather than do incremental or generational modernization, we keep out infrastructure until a wholesale replacement is necessary, and the attendant price tag and timeline causes everyone to run for cover, demand more studies and reviews and otherwise generally poo themselves. It's all about votes - and the general public generally doesn't care.
Taking a stand that, for example, we don't need tanks, strategic lift or heavy lift rotary is fine - until a political or foreign policy decision is made where we do. Military leadership speaking truth to power should be listened to, but at the end of the day they serve the Crown and will go into the fight with what they have, not what they want. Gone are the days where we can take some prairie farm boys and turn them into sailors on board ships that were built in a month.
Do we need a large standing army or a smaller core supplemented by reserves? If there is to be a greater reliance of reserves, they still need access to and be trained on modern equipment. The government and population has to accept that good money will be spent on buying and maintaining expensive stuff that largely sits around outside of training, and may well be tossed out someday. If it is decided that we will continue to supply formations to NATO and/or peacekeeping or peacemaking missions, said reserves need better legislated employment protections. If 'no' to main battle tanks, then what else to project fire and protect ground forces?
Maybe it makes sense that we pick niches or specialties to work with our allies but, as mentioned, what is the industrial impact. Do we just determine our specialties and expect our allegiances to simply deal with it or should it be done in a more collaborative way ('ok Canada, you're bringing the napkins so nobody else has to'. But we [country x] have our own napkins and we like them better). May concern with allowing ourselves to pick the niche is that we will pick 'safe stuff' because it is relatively safe and cheap, doesn't have Canadian actually committing violence, or have them come home in caskets. King originally thought that by offering to be the major host of the Commonwealth Aircrew Training Program, our allies would be satisfied with our contribution and allow us to stay out of much of the fighting in Europe. More recently, apparently to our Global Affairs Minister, we are convenors, not warriors. We could excel in strategic air or sealift, but would we be viewed by the world as protecting the vulnerable or ensuring peace and security by having a very efficient way of repatriating the bodies of others to their home nations?