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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.
 

ueo

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Should the RCN still be operating the MCDVs, which were supposed to get paid off to free up people for the AOPs? Has the RCN been beating on the fleet like rentals for over a decade and never scheduling long enough work periods to get the required maintenance done?

The RCN has been ignoring this my entire career and it's just in a death spiral at this point. Martechs are at 50-60% PMLs on the coasts, that's insane, and it's continuing to get worse as the RCN keeps the pedal down on the OPSCHED.

Even before the CDS order they should have been begging to slow things down. Instead they are still planning on RAMPING UP TRAINING to a level higher than we've ever acheived, despite numerous instructor billets being empty, major maintenance needed to the schools and a general lack of throughput capacity..

Institutionally completely out of touch. So either CRCN and staff is getting their arses shined on or they are just ignoring reality, and not sure which is worse.
So go the others!
 

Edward Campbell

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next group photo of the NATO leaders put Trudeau on the outer edge and then crop him out in the press release
Which appears to be exactly what Xi Jinping did:

"After more than two years without leaving his country, Chinese President Xi Jinping isn’t missing the chance for in-person diplomacy as he joins other world leaders at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, this week ... [and]... Mr. Xi had a highly anticipated meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday, and will meet with the leaders of Australia and Japan, as well as Indonesian President Joko Widodo ... [but] ... Not on the list, however, is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau."
 

Good2Golf

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Which appears to be exactly what Xi Jinping did:

"After more than two years without leaving his country, Chinese President Xi Jinping isn’t missing the chance for in-person diplomacy as he joins other world leaders at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, this week ... [and]... Mr. Xi had a highly anticipated meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday, and will meet with the leaders of Australia and Japan, as well as Indonesian President Joko Widodo ... [but] ... Not on the list, however, is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau."
1668517942266.gif
The Good Grey Globe gave me a perk this morning with that.
 

Rifleman62

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How about stating the CAF will take unnecessary casualties in any conflict due to lack of, and aging equipment. Tell citizens, who are watching what is happening in the Ukrainian, that Cdn troops don't have Javelins to stop tanks killing our troops, have zero air defense capabilities to stop attacking aircraft/helicopters from killing our troops, minimal modern tanks to to stop enemy tanks from killing our troops, and, largely in the news, minimal artillery, zero MLRS, to stop our troops from being killed. Let alone logistics.
 

Rifleman62

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"After more than two years without leaving his country, Chinese President Xi Jinping isn’t missing the chance for in-person diplomacy as he joins other world leaders at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, this week ... [and]... Mr. Xi had a highly anticipated meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday, and will meet with the leaders of Australia and Japan, as well as Indonesian President Joko Widodo ... [but] ... Not on the list, however, is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau."

CBC is making a big deal of the few minutes together they did spend when they passed each other. CBC did say minutes. I am sure Global, CTV, CBC and the print media will blow the few minutes up,. Somewhat the Quebec Conference, with Mackenzie King in the photo with Roosevelt and Churchill.
 

Good2Golf

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CBC is making a big deal of the few minutes together they did spend when they passed each other. CBC did say minutes. I am sure Global, CTV, CBC and the print media will blow the few minutes up,. Somewhat the Quebec Conference, with Mackenzie King in the photo with Roosevelt and Churchill.
If it ain’t a pre-planned sit down with an agenda, it ain’t worth squat.
 

OldSolduer

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How about stating the CAF will take unnecessary casualties in any conflict due to lack of, and aging equipment. Tell citizens, who are watching what is happening in the Ukrainian, that Cdn troops don't have Javelins to stop tanks killing our troops, have zero air defense capabilities to stop attacking aircraft/helicopters from killing our troops, minimal modern tanks to to stop enemy tanks from killing our troops, and, largely in the news, minimal artillery, zero MLRS, to stop our troops from being killed. Let alone logistics.
Like we have done with EVERY war Canada has joined. Woefully unprepared.
 

Underway

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You mean the little nation that already bought P-8s to remain serious ASW players, while we look to extend our aged platform out to 60-year lifecycle?
Wow, the Kiwi's bought some P-8's. Do they let US nuclear vessels into their waters yet? There are plenty of Kiwi and US friction points. Particularly the one where the contribute zero info the the Five Eyes.

By “massive” you mean the US share of the “bi”-lateral relationship? The US could cease all bilats with Canada tomorrow and the morning hiccups will be done by afternoon.
Massive as in criminal, legal, trade and NORAD. What about ELINT which is huge, full cooperation between CSIS, CSE and military INT. When Canada goes onto a mission whatever we learn is fed directly to the US analyists. Which is more then NATO does.
That’s a classically Canadian view that isn’t shared by many south of the border.
We see what we want to see in these relationships often. The classic Canadian view is complete ignorance of the entire situation. I'm not so nieve that the US isn't entering a period of "America First" and isn't willing to bully us around. We saw it with the renegotiation that was USMCA where they basically forced us to cave on almost every single point. Canada is a competator to the US now, no longer a market or a partner in many ways.

I would caution that its more likely the US is able to leverage Canada into doing what it wants using the bilats as a lever, then getting what they want by cutting ties. They also are smart enough to know that a single election cycle can change things for them and for us.
 

Good2Golf

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I would caution that its more likely the US is able to leverage Canada into doing what it wants using the bilats as a lever, then getting what they want by cutting ties.
Oh, I think we both agree on this. My point was more along the lines that if push came to shove and Canada was pompously resistant, the US wouldn’t blink twice to thump us and not lose any sleep that night, nor any night thereafter.
 

Edward Campbell

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CBC is making a big deal of the few minutes together they did spend when they passed each other. CBC did say minutes. I am sure Global, CTV, CBC and the print media will blow the few minutes up,. Somewhat the Quebec Conference, with Mackenzie King in the photo with Roosevelt and Churchill.
But Team Trudeau's decision publicize the brief chat has, now, further annoyed Xi Jinping ... le Dauphin cannot seem to figure out this diplomacy stuff, can he?

"Chinese leader Xi Jinping angrily confronted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the G20 meeting Wednesday, complaining Mr. Trudeau’s office had published details of an earlier conversation between them ... [saying] ... “Everything we said has been leaked to the papers, that’s not appropriate, that’s not the way the conversation was conducted ...[and] ... “If you are sincere, we should communicate with each other in a respectful manner, otherwise it will be hard to say what the result will be like.”"
 

Edward Campbell

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^^
“If you’re sincere”
I wonder if JT has ever been sincere.
In fairness to le Dauphin, the overarching political aim was a photo that Canadian media could use showing that he was NOT excluded from meeting Paramount Leader Xi Jinping. He appears to have correctly recited the 30 second, two point script that someone (PMO or Global Affairs) drafted ... so it's a win, right?
 

FSTO

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In fairness to le Dauphin, the overarching political aim was a photo that Canadian media could use showing that he was NOT excluded from meeting Paramount Leader Xi Jinping. He appears to have correctly recited the 30 second, two point script that someone (PMO or Global Affairs) drafted ... so it's a win, right?
Not quite like the interaction between LBJ and Pearson but I think the same message was sent.
 

KevinB

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In fairness to le Dauphin, the overarching political aim was a photo that Canadian media could use showing that he was NOT excluded from meeting Paramount Leader Xi Jinping. He appears to have correctly recited the 30 second, two point script that someone (PMO or Global Affairs) drafted ... so it's a win, right?
and perhaps to show Team America he knew what team he was batting for...
 

Good2Golf

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In fairness to le Dauphin, the overarching political aim was a photo that Canadian media could use showing that he was NOT excluded from meeting Paramount Leader Xi Jinping. He appears to have correctly recited the 30 second, two point script that someone (PMO or Global Affairs) drafted ... so it's a win, right?
The other photo op ‘available’ didn’t pass PMO’s selection… ;)
3277DEB1-70F3-40B8-A0CC-36A5C831C38E.jpeg
(Photo: Global News/Corus)
 

Edward Campbell

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and perhaps to show Team America he knew what team he was batting for...
My guess, and it's a guess based on one rumour, is that neither the Conservative nor Liberal parties is terribly upset by the message that may have been delivered three weeks ago by Secretary of State Blinken. Both major parties know that the USA is p!ssed at us for being strategic shirkers but the overarching political objective to is to put loyal Liberal (or loyal Conservative) bums in the seats of (not really luxurious) ministerial limos in Ottawa. That means not annoying the Canadian populace.

I think that Justin Trudeau really, honestly believes that climate change is the battle of the century - the only war that really matters to the modern world. It doesn't matter why he thinks that, it also doesn't matter if you and I agree or not. The fact - and I assert it is a fact - is that at least a very, very large minority, likely a majority of Canadians agrees with him. Within that large group are many, many well educated "opinion leaders" including many, many high-school teachers and university professors (including from science and engineering) ands many, many senior civil servants.

I believe that there remains, as there was in the 1960s and '70s, a broad consensus, in the "chattering classes" that:

  • Unfettered American capitalism - red in tooth and claw - is a greater threat to the world than are Chinese or Russian autocracies;
  • Military spending is wasteful and unnecessary; and
  • Canada is a "nice" nation and people should listen to our preaching, pretentious though it may be.

Canada will "bat" for Team America because we have no choice, but our political leaders, Conservative and Liberal alike, will do the bare minimum that can be found acceptable - that's the Canadian way.
 
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