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Justin Trudeau hints at boosting Canada’s military spending

Justin Trudeau hints at boosting Canada’s military spending

Canada says it will look at increasing its defence spending and tacked on 10 more Russian names to an ever growing sanctions list.

By Tonda MacCharles
Ottawa Bureau
Mon., March 7, 2022

Riga, LATVIA—On the 13th day of the brutal Russian bid to claim Ukraine as its own, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is showing up at the Latvian battle group led by Canadian soldiers, waving the Maple Leaf and a vague hint at more money for the military.

Canada has been waving the NATO flag for nearly seven years in Latvia as a bulwark against Russia’s further incursions in Eastern Europe.

Canada stepped up to lead one of NATO’s four battle groups in 2015 — part of the defensive alliance’s display of strength and solidarity with weaker member states after Russia invaded Ukraine and seized the Crimean peninsula in 2014. Trudeau arrived in the Latvian capital late Monday after meetings in the U.K. with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Earlier Monday, faced with a seemingly unstoppable war in Ukraine, Trudeau said he will look at increasing Canada’s defence spending. Given world events, he said there are “certainly reflections to have.”

And Canada tacked on 10 more Russian names to an ever-growing sanctions list.

The latest round of sanctions includes names Trudeau said were identified by jailed Russian opposition leader and Putin nemesis Alexei Navalny.

However, on a day when Trudeau cited the new sanctions, and Johnson touted new measures meant to expose Russian property owners in his country, Rutte admitted sanctions are not working.

Yet they all called for more concerted international efforts over the long haul, including more economic measures and more humanitarian aid, with Johnson and Rutte divided over how quickly countries need to get off Russian oil and gas.

The 10 latest names on Canada’s target list do not include Roman Abramovich — a Russian billionaire Navalny has been flagging to Canada since at least 2017. Canada appears to have sanctioned about 20 of the 35 names on Navalny’s list.

The Conservative opposition says the Liberal government is not yet exerting maximum pressure on Putin, and should do more to bolster Canadian Forces, including by finally approving the purchase of fighter jets.

Foreign affairs critic Michael Chong said in an interview that Ottawa must still sanction “additional oligarchs close to President Putin who have significant assets in Canada.”

Abramovich owns more than a quarter of the public shares in steelmaking giant Evraz, which has operations in Alberta and Saskatchewan and has supplied most of the steel for the government-owned Trans Mountain pipeline project.

Evraz’s board of directors also includes two more Russians the U.S. government identified as “oligarchs” in 2019 — Aleksandr Abramov and Aleksandr Frolov — and its Canadian operations have received significant support from the federal government.

That includes at least $27 million in emergency wage subsidies during the pandemic, as well as $7 million through a fund meant to help heavy-polluters reduce emissions that cause climate change, according to the company’s most recent annual report.

In addition to upping defence spending, the Conservatives want NORAD’s early warning system upgraded, naval shipbuilding ramped up and Arctic security bolstered.

In London, Johnson sat down with Trudeau and Rutte at the Northolt airbase. Their morning meetings had a rushed feel, with Johnson starting to usher press out before Trudeau spoke. His office said later that the British PM couldn’t squeeze the full meeting in at 10 Downing Street because Johnson’s “diary” was so busy that day. The three leaders held an afternoon news conference at 10 Downing.

But before that Trudeau met with the Queen, saying she was “insightful” and they had a “useful, for me anyway, conversation about global affairs.”

Trudeau meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Tuesday in Latvia.

The prime minister will also meet with three Baltic leaders, the prime ministers of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, in the Latvian capital of Riga.

The Liberals announced they would increase the 500 Canadian Forces in Latvia by another 460 troops. The Canadians are leading a multinational battle group, one of four that are part of NATO’s deployments in the region.

Another 3,400 Canadians could be deployed to the region in the months to come, on standby for NATO orders.

But Canada’s shipments of lethal aid to Ukraine were slow to come in the view of the Conservatives, and the Ukrainian Canadian community.

And suddenly Western allies are eyeing each other’s defence commitments.

At the Downing Street news conference, Rutte noted the Netherlands will increase its defence budget to close to two per cent of GDP. Germany has led the G7, and doubled its defence budget in the face of Putin’s invasion and threats. Johnson said the U.K. defence spending is about 2.4 per cent and declined to comment on Canada’s defence spending which is 1.4 per cent of GDP.

But Johnson didn’t hold back.

“What we can’t do, post the invasion of Ukraine is assume that we go back to a kind of status quo ante, a kind of new normalization in the way that we did after the … seizure of Crimea and the Donbas area,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to recognize that things have changed and that we need a new focus on security and I think that that is kind of increasingly understood by everybody.”

Trudeau stood by his British and Dutch counterparts and pledged Canada would do more.

He defended his government’s record, saying Ottawa is gradually increasing spending over the next decade by 70 per cent. Then Trudeau admitted more might be necessary.

“We also recognize that context is changing rapidly around the world and we need to make sure that women and men have certainty and our forces have all the equipment necessary to be able to stand strongly as we always have. As members of NATO. We will continue to look at what more we can do.”

The three leaders — Johnson, a conservative and Trudeau and Rutte, progressive liberals — in a joint statement said they “will continue to impose severe costs on Russia.”

Arriving for the news conference from Windsor Castle, Trudeau had to detour to enter Downing Street as loud so-called Freedom Convoy protesters bellowed from outside the gate. They carried signs marked “Tuck Frudeau” and “Free Tamara” (Lich).

Protester Jeff Wyatt who said he has no Canadian ties told the Star he came to stand up for Lich and others who were leading a “peaceful protest” worldwide against government “lies” about COVID-19 and what he called Trudeau’s “tyranny.”

Elsewhere in London, outside the Russian embassy, other protesters and passersby reflected on what they said was real tyranny — the Russian attack on Ukraine. “I think we should be as tough as possible to get this stopped, as tough as possible,” said protester Clive Martinez.
 

Edward Campbell

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My opinion - worth exactly what you're paying for it - is that no matter what President Biden (and, indeed, other world leaders say or (in the cases of e.g. Kim Jong-un and Ali Khamenei) do) Canadian voters will find it very hard to support any substantial action to make Canada more powerful ... militarily. It is also my opinion that that overwhelming majority of Canadian does not understand that there is an important, unbreakable nexus between hard and soft power. It is great to have soft power - the more the better - but Joseph Nye himself pointed out that soft power works only when the country wielding it has demonstrated that it has and is wiling to use enough hard power to make its voice heard.

I know I'm repeating myself, but both the Conservative and Liberal parties know that Canadians oppose rebuilding our military - they poll assiduously and they ask hard question; they want to know what we think; and we, most Canadians (my guess is 60%+ of us) tell them, over and over again, that we don't like the idea of Canada using military power and, therefore, don't want Canada to have much military power; they certainly, by and even larger percentage, don't want to see their taxes go up our their entitlements go down not pay for it.

I don't know how Pierre Poilievre could sell rebuilding Canada's military to his own party, much less to the country at large. I'm about 99.9% certain that Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland would find the notion totally impossible.
 

Booter

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I suspect the next relationship with the way politicians on the right are courting the anti government vote is that you’ll see less desire on their part to make strong “government forces”. Strong security isn’t in line with “draining the swamp”.
 

Rifleman62

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If we ever rebuild the CAF, possibly the UK method may make sense.


Minister of State (Minister for Defence Procurement)​


Organisations: Ministry of Defence

Contents​

  1. Responsibilities
  2. Previous holders
  3. Announcements

Responsibilities​

The Minister for Defence Procurement is responsible for the Defence Equipment Plan, relations with defence industry and exports, science and technology.
Responsibilities include:
  • delivery of the Equipment Plan
  • nuclear enterprise
  • defence exports
  • innovation
  • defence science and technology including Dstl
  • information computer technology
  • the Single Source Regulations Office (SSRO)
  • DIO estates and investment
  • environment and sustainability
  • Defence Supply Chain and Defence Estate monitoring, engagement and resilience in the context of COVID-19.


Britain’s military procurement agency gets new management​


Defence Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin said Start’s appointment comes at an important time for U.K. defense. “I am pleased that DE&S will be led by a CEO with extensive commercial experience,” Quin said.
 

daftandbarmy

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If we ever rebuild the CAF, possibly the UK method may make sense.


Minister of State (Minister for Defence Procurement)​


Organisations: Ministry of Defence

But without the Ajax disaster, right? ;)


Inside Britain's £5.5 billion military disaster​

The Ajax tank was meant to revolutionise modern warfare – but after a succession of setbacks, is it now destined for the scrap heap.

There is a saying in the arms business about how some deals get done: ‘a conspiracy of optimism’. It’s a term for the bargains that are struck when military men dreaming of revolutionary new kit meet manufacturers desperate to land what might be the only contract for decades.
Neither side wants to dwell on limitations of design or problems that have derailed past procurements. Instead, the soldiers ask for the earth and manufacturers promise they can deliver it, on time and on budget.

It tends not to work that way. This year the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, which evaluates the Government’s major spending plans, analysed 52 projects underway at the MoD, worth a total of £194.7 billion – about one and a half times the entire NHS budget. Of those 52, just three were given the green rating suggesting that ‘successful delivery appears highly likely’. Most, in the amber zone, are freighted with difficulties. And nine are flagged red, where ‘the project appears to be unachievable’.

These now include critical programmes like the Crowsnest helicopter surveillance programme; the production capability which builds the nuclear reactors for our Navy subs; a futuristic anti-ship weapon known as FCASW; the F35B Lightning combat jet; the Sea Venom anti-surface missile; and a communications system known as MoDnet Evolve.

In all, notes a recent Defence Select Committee report, attempts to equip Britain’s armed forces in the last two decades amount to ‘a woeful story of bureaucratic procrastination, military indecision, financial mismanagement and general ineptitude’. As a result, it goes on, if British soldiers had to go to war today, they would have to rely on ‘obsolete armoured vehicles… [be] very heavily outgunned by more modern missile and artillery systems and [be] chronically lacking in adequate air defence’.

Even amid this blizzard of failure, however, a single programme stands out, symbolising the nation’s procurement failings: Ajax.

Ajax, a type of light tank, has been repeatedly delayed. It was supposed to provide unparalleled protection to its crew, while delivering devastating fire through a 40mm cannon and hitting top speeds of 45mph. When one was finally delivered for trial in 2019 it shook so violently and was so noisy that it injured not the enemy but the personnel using it, with the vibrations also affecting the automatic loading of the cannon. Meanwhile billions of pounds of public money have so far been spent in return for not a single tank that the Army deems acceptable. According to a National Audit Office report, the project was ‘flawed from the start’.

 

Good2Golf

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My opinion - worth exactly what you're paying for it - is that no matter what President Biden (and, indeed, other world leaders say or (in the cases of e.g. Kim Jong-un and Ali Khamenei) do) Canadian voters will find it very hard to support any substantial action to make Canada more powerful ... militarily. It is also my opinion that that overwhelming majority of Canadian does not understand that there is an important, unbreakable nexus between hard and soft power. It is great to have soft power - the more the better - but Joseph Nye himself pointed out that soft power works only when the country wielding it has demonstrated that it has and is wiling to use enough hard power to make its voice heard.

Sadly (vis-a-vis Canadians becoming less and less the masters of their own destiny), they won’t have much of a say about it, as the Govermnent of the day will put whatever appeasing, Maskirovkaic coverings on “their own” defense investment policies, onto their direction from South of the border. It could be that Canada leads the World in becoming, as Trudeau says, the first post-nation state (for as long as the US doesn’t accept the role of ‘Benevolent Annexer.’


I know I'm repeating myself, but both the Conservative and Liberal parties know that Canadians oppose rebuilding our military - they poll assiduously and they ask hard question; they want to know what we think; and we, most Canadians (my guess is 60%+ of us) tell them, over and over again, that we don't like the idea of Canada using military power and, therefore, don't want Canada to have much military power; they certainly, by and even larger percentage, don't want to see their taxes go up our their entitlements go down not pay for it.

Perhaps one day a poll will ask, “Do you support Canada equipping its own moderate military force, if the alternative was accepting US military ‘assistance’ leveraged against Canada’s existing bi-lateral agreement with the U.S.?”

I don't know how Pierre Poilievre could sell rebuilding Canada's military to his own party, much less to the country at large. I'm about 99.9% certain that Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland would find the notion totally impossible.
I don’t think any (of the) mainstream political parties in Canada give a fig about defence…so someone will ensure defense that affects their own country is effected…
 

Rifleman62

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Perhaps one day a poll will ask, “Do you support Canada equipping its own moderate military force, if the alternative was accepting US military ‘assistance’ leveraged against Canada’s existing bi-lateral agreement with the U.S.?”

Yes, super idea.
 

Colin Parkinson

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The Ross Rifle was a great sporting rifle, but too sensitive for the trenches.
More like to sensitive to crappy British ammunition not made to spec. But better to blame the Colonials right? Also there was not a lot of other options at the time. The Ross continued in the trenches often preferred by snipers.
 

Brad Sallows

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There are a couple of routes by which Canadians might be convinced to spend more. One, other countries start ignoring our claims in the north. Two, other countries start cutting us out of things from which we benefit. In both cases, it'd have to be stated bluntly that it's a consequence of not carrying enough weight.
 

FSTO

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Could you just imagine the howls of outrage from the chattering classes if a Democrat Administration, one who the Liberal Party loves to emulate lets it be known that if Canada doesn't pull its weight in the defence of North America that the US will pull its support of keeping Canada in the G7.

There isn't enough beer and popcorn in the world to satisfy that amount of entertainment!
 

Quirky

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Could you just imagine the howls of outrage from the chattering classes if a Democrat Administration, one who the Liberal Party loves to emulate lets it be known that if Canada doesn't pull its weight in the defence of North America that the US will pull its support of keeping Canada in the G7.

There isn't enough beer and popcorn in the world to satisfy that amount of entertainment!

What would be worse, Canada getting booted from the G7 or US troops on Canadian soil manning our their bases?
 

GK .Dundas

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Since the average Canadian neither knows nor cares about any these matters
I actually wonder how long it would take for them to react to a complete loss of sovereignty ?
A good month or two at least.
 

OldSolduer

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Since the average Canadian neither knows nor cares about any these matters
I actually wonder how long it would take for them to react to a complete loss of sovereignty ?
A good month or two at least.
As long as curling was on Tv or maybe HNIC most would not notice
 

YZT580

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There are a couple of routes by which Canadians might be convinced to spend more. One, other countries start ignoring our claims in the north. Two, other countries start cutting us out of things from which we benefit. In both cases, it'd have to be stated bluntly that it's a consequence of not carrying enough weight.
next group photo of the NATO leaders put Trudeau on the outer edge and then crop him out in the press release
 
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