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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.
 

ArmyRick

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Not so fast says Comrade Singh…..

NDP against Canada increasing defence spending to hit 'arbitrary' NATO target​



Wouldn’t want the NDP to go against the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics now would we.
Why is now Liberal back bencher saying anything? He gave it up to his master, Trudeau. Hopefully the PM reels him in.
 

daftandbarmy

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Go Canada!

Nothing says 'we care about Russia destroying Ukraine' than a social media fundraiser.

Can a virtual bottle drive be far behind? I mean, tapping into skills honed over decades of fundraising for minor hockey, and a photgenic Prime Minister who likes to hang around with actors, shouldn't go to waste.... ;)

Canada, Europe to co-host social media fundraiser for displaced Ukrainians​


Canada and the European Commission will spearhead an international fundraising campaign to help people fleeing the war in Ukraine.

The fundraising effort, called "Stand Up For Ukraine," will engage politicians, artists and businesses, among others, and is to culminate with an April 9 pledging event to be hosted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

They are partnering with the international advocacy organization Global Citizen to raise funds for the humanitarian crisis spawned by the worst fighting in Europe since the Second World War.

A statement from Trudeau's office says Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is inviting musicians, actors, athletes, business leaders, politicians and anybody else so inclined to take part in a large-scale social media rally.

 

Oldgateboatdriver

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I think the starting point for any decision on defence spending has to begin (and end?) with the informal bargain that was struck with the US at the start of WW2: (I am paraphrasing) By the US: We will not tolerate any invasion of the Canadian territory; By Canada: we will do all that is in our capacity so that Canadian terrritory will never be used to attack the US.

Basically, Canada needs to defend and secure its air and sea approaches to fulfill its end of the bargain.

To me, this means that we have to put defence money immediately here (and almost in that order):

(1) fighter replacement - NOW!
(2) North warning system upgrade - with extensions to both other coasts;
(3) Ballistic missile defence;
(4) Nuclear attack submarines (entering the USAUS deal);
(5) Aircraft carriers (one per coast - West first, then East) Queen Elizabeth class;
(6) build the escorts required for the Carrier Battle Group.

Most this should be done in a hurry and nearly simultaneously.

Then, and only then, if there is room left in the 2%, a sea deployable capability to move Army equipemnt, strategic capability to move troops in large number and high end deployable equipement for the Army so we can quickly deploy battle groups in support of friendly countries up to and inclusive of a full brigade on short notice, ramping up to a full division in six months.

This also means: (1) a rapid increase of full time personnel, probably to around 110k tarined pers; (2) a lowering of ops tempo and operations in the short term to provide for, (3) increased training capability to train up the various trades.

Sorry Army, but you come last in the shoping list.

P.S. With a quick calculation, all of this is feasible on 2% GDP.
 

Humphrey Bogart

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I agree totally with those points, however, we need an alternative metric.

If 2% GDP isn't the metric wanted, what is the plan? What capabilities do they want added? What are the timelines?

SSE isn't worth the paper it's written on, so that can't possibly be a guide or point of reference
I do like how when SSE was first being produced, the big complaint was that the Canada First Defence Strategy that SSE replaced was criticized for being essentially a "shopping list" rather than a strategy.

SSE was then published and was the exact same shopping list, only this time, it had flashy numbers included and it was "costed" LOL.
 

Quirky

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(1) fighter replacement - NOW!
(2) North warning system upgrade - with extensions to both other coasts;
(3) Ballistic missile defence;
(4) Nuclear attack submarines (entering the USAUS deal);
(5) Aircraft carriers (one per coast - West first, then East) Queen Elizabeth class;
(6) build the escorts required for the Carrier Battle Group.

I think the first step is reducing the wait time for recruitment, waiting a year or more is not sustainable. Needs to be cut to 30-60 days max. We are severely short staffed in all areas so all that new equipment will just sit collecting dust.
 

Halifax Tar

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I sort of agree with Comrade Singh. The CAF needs direction on what its purpose is, then we can figure out the budget. Dumping another $20b into the budget will just mean new office furniture every year rather than anything meaningful like new equipment.

The title of the article and the actual written article don't really match up. And I agree your summation.

I think the starting point for any decision on defence spending has to begin (and end?) with the informal bargain that was struck with the US at the start of WW2: (I am paraphrasing) By the US: We will not tolerate any invasion of the Canadian territory; By Canada: we will do all that is in our capacity so that Canadian terrritory will never be used to attack the US.

Basically, Canada needs to defend and secure its air and sea approaches to fulfill its end of the bargain.

To me, this means that we have to put defence money immediately here (and almost in that order):

(1) fighter replacement - NOW!
(2) North warning system upgrade - with extensions to both other coasts;
(3) Ballistic missile defence;
(4) Nuclear attack submarines (entering the USAUS deal);
(5) Aircraft carriers (one per coast - West first, then East) Queen Elizabeth class;
(6) build the escorts required for the Carrier Battle Group.

Most this should be done in a hurry and nearly simultaneously.

Then, and only then, if there is room left in the 2%, a sea deployable capability to move Army equipemnt, strategic capability to move troops in large number and high end deployable equipement for the Army so we can quickly deploy battle groups in support of friendly countries up to and inclusive of a full brigade on short notice, ramping up to a full division in six months.

This also means: (1) a rapid increase of full time personnel, probably to around 110k tarined pers; (2) a lowering of ops tempo and operations in the short term to provide for, (3) increased training capability to train up the various trades.

Sorry Army, but you come last in the shoping list.

P.S. With a quick calculation, all of this is feasible on 2% GDP.

Where have I heard that before ? ;)

Remember this is Army.ca ;)
 

TacticalTea

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I think the first step is reducing the wait time for recruitment, waiting a year or more is not sustainable. Needs to be cut to 30-60 days max. We are severely short staffed in all areas so all that new equipment will just sit collecting dust.
Yep, this.

Also I don't agree with the notion that our only focus should be self-defense. We get basically no return out of it because, let's face it, no country other than the US would be capable of carrying out a north to south invasion of Canada.

The western approaches are protected geographically by the Alaskan peninsula, the Rockies, and thousands of miles between the coast and Ottawa, and militarily by the Puget Sound naval facilities.

The first three big ticket items are 1. Fix recruitment, as you said. 2. Fix whatever's broken (many, many buildings notably). 3. Fix procurement. Pork barreling is a fool's errand. The government would get more bang for its buck with efficient military spending and separate, but also more efficient economic development. That's not to say we can't consolidate defence production, such as for munitions and ships (NSS), but it needs to happen only where it makes sense.

Now, with that said, my procurement priorities would be pretty similar, given a few changes here and there. I think it's pretty clear to everyone what we're in need of, so as always, devil's in the details.
 

rmc_wannabe

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I think the first step is reducing the wait time for recruitment, waiting a year or more is not sustainable. Needs to be cut to 30-60 days max. We are severely short staffed in all areas so all that new equipment will just sit collecting dust.
Agreed. We need to find the log jams and clear them. Starting with the "Write a CFAT and see if you're qualified" approach to recruiting. Unless absolutely required for technical trades, wave it. DEO and ROTP already have metrics to show capability. It just becomes another hurdle for no reason.
 
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Grimey

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2. Fix whatever's broken (many, many buildings notably).
We should be looking at divesting ourselves of as many buildings as possible. We shouldn’t be in the real estate business. Maintain what’s essential, sell off the rest, lease as required.
 

Colin Parkinson

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We should be looking at divesting ourselves of as many buildings as possible. We shouldn’t be in the real estate business. Maintain what’s essential, sell off the rest, lease as required.
The Feds divested many of their buildings here in Vancouver and then got hosed by the Real Estate companies that are twice as smart and cunning as PWGS, the Fed stopped divesting as the cost of maintaining the buildings was cheaper than getting nickled and dimed to death by the companies.
 

rmc_wannabe

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CFAT is a valid, proven predictor of success. The timeline and process to get to the point of writing the CFAT is the issue, not the test itself.
Having worked in a technical trade most of my career, especially in a school environment, CFAT scores aren't a solid indicator of success. I still see folks come in at PRB for trg failures and it has little to do with aptitude, mainly performance deficiencies or improper instruction.

Notice I said remove it in cases where it has no relevance: DEOs and ROTP already need to show educational achievement...why make them write another test to prove competency? I also don't see a reason someone coming in for an entry level, non-technical job should have one more hurdle in the way. Have those trades decide if that person is a good fit through assessing performance at the DP1 level. We cull the pool of applicants before they even finish the recruiting process.

Finally, aptitude testing has been treated as quackery in most academic settings for at least 20 years. For us to use it as a metric for assessing employment suitability is a bit ridiculous.
 

dapaterson

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Having worked in a technical trade most of my career, especially in a school environment, CFAT scores aren't a solid indicator of success. I still see folks come in at PRB for trg failures and it has little to do with aptitude, mainly performance deficiencies or improper instruction.

Notice I said remove it in cases where it has no relevance: DEOs and ROTP already need to show educational achievement...why make them write another test to prove competency? I also don't see a reason someone coming in for an entry level, non-technical job should have one more hurdle in the way. Have those trades decide if that person is a good fit through assessing performance at the DP1 level. We cull the pool of applicants before they even finish the recruiting process.

Finally, aptitude testing has been treated as quackery in most academic settings for at least 20 years. For us to use it as a metric for assessing employment suitability is a bit ridiculous.
Survivorship bias on your part; you only see individuals after selection; you don't see the population that's selected out. That is in fact the point of selection - to increase potential for success by not offering marginal performers employment. Letting in anyone and their dog is neither effective nor efficient use of limited resources.

And there's ample evidence that a degree, in and of itself, is not strongly correlated with some necessary abilities.
 

YZT580

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I think the starting point for any decision on defence spending has to begin (and end?) with the informal bargain that was struck with the US at the start of WW2: (I am paraphrasing) By the US: We will not tolerate any invasion of the Canadian territory; By Canada: we will do all that is in our capacity so that Canadian terrritory will never be used to attack the US.

Basically, Canada needs to defend and secure its air and sea approaches to fulfill its end of the bargain.

To me, this means that we have to put defence money immediately here (and almost in that order):

(1) fighter replacement - NOW!
(2) North warning system upgrade - with extensions to both other coasts;
(3) Ballistic missile defence;
(4) Nuclear attack submarines (entering the USAUS deal);
(5) Aircraft carriers (one per coast - West first, then East) Queen Elizabeth class;
(6) build the escorts required for the Carrier Battle Group.

Most this should be done in a hurry and nearly simultaneously.

Then, and only then, if there is room left in the 2%, a sea deployable capability to move Army equipemnt, strategic capability to move troops in large number and high end deployable equipement for the Army so we can quickly deploy battle groups in support of friendly countries up to and inclusive of a full brigade on short notice, ramping up to a full division in six months.

This also means: (1) a rapid increase of full time personnel, probably to around 110k tarined pers; (2) a lowering of ops tempo and operations in the short term to provide for, (3) increased training capability to train up the various trades.

Sorry Army, but you come last in the shoping list.

P.S. With a quick calculation, all of this is feasible on 2% GDP.
carriers are a very expensive nice to have means of force projection which we don't need. As for the rest of your list, I would replace carriers with additional frigates and more aircraft. The ones we have now and are projected to buy won't last long and getting replacements will be impossible in wartime. Also, additional ice breakers so we are able to sail into our own waters in winter
 

Haggis

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Also I don't agree with the notion that our only focus should be self-defense.
Self-defence is our reason for being now. We are "conveners".
The first three big ticket items are 1. Fix recruitment, as you said.
It's not all on the CAF. Often, the delays in recruitment are the fault of the applicant not being responsive to recruiters, not providing information in a timely fashion or providing incomplete information. We're still far faster than many OGDs, like mine, which has a 2+ year long recruiting program.
Pork barreling is a fool's errand. The government would get more bang for its buck with efficient military spending and separate, but also more efficient economic development.
The catchphrase is "regional economic benefits".
 

MilEME09

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The catchphrase is "regional economic benefits".
I think most of us hate this, if Canadian companies cannot deliver a quality product, at a competitive price, we should not force our selves to buy Canadian. It should be up to industry to win the contract through innovation, and good economics, not through simply bring Canadian.
 
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GR66

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I think the starting point for any decision on defence spending has to begin (and end?) with the informal bargain that was struck with the US at the start of WW2: (I am paraphrasing) By the US: We will not tolerate any invasion of the Canadian territory; By Canada: we will do all that is in our capacity so that Canadian terrritory will never be used to attack the US.

Basically, Canada needs to defend and secure its air and sea approaches to fulfill its end of the bargain.

To me, this means that we have to put defence money immediately here (and almost in that order):

(1) fighter replacement - NOW!
(2) North warning system upgrade - with extensions to both other coasts;
(3) Ballistic missile defence;
(4) Nuclear attack submarines (entering the USAUS deal);
(5) Aircraft carriers (one per coast - West first, then East) Queen Elizabeth class;
(6) build the escorts required for the Carrier Battle Group.

Most this should be done in a hurry and nearly simultaneously.
Then, and only then, if there is room left in the 2%, a sea deployable capability to move Army equipemnt, strategic capability to move troops in large number and high end deployable equipement for the Army so we can quickly deploy battle groups in support of friendly countries up to and inclusive of a full brigade on short notice, ramping up to a full division in six months.

This also means: (1) a rapid increase of full time personnel, probably to around 110k tarined pers; (2) a lowering of ops tempo and operations in the short term to provide for, (3) increased training capability to train up the various trades.

Sorry Army, but you come last in the shoping list.

P.S. With a quick calculation, all of this is feasible on 2% GDP.
I get where you're coming from and in broad a broad sense agree with you, but where I disagree is with your apparent narrow focus on of defence of North America to the (more or less) complete exclusion of expeditionary land capability.

What good does it do us if we draw back into a North American island and let the broader "West" fend for themselves? If we are to truly prosper as a nation we need to engage with the rest of the world in not only the exchange of goods, but the exchange of people and ideas. We are lessened as a society if we become insular and strictly inward looking and let out overseas friends and allies be threatened by forces opposed to our basic principles. And sometimes that means we will need to stand side by side (literally) with our allies on the battlefield and pay the price in blood to defend our collective interests.

I am in total agreement with you that as essentially an island nation the bulk of our defense dollars and effort should be in the air and sea realms but I do think that an expeditionary land force is a vital political element of our defence strategy. What form that takes an whether our current Army is fit for task is another story all together.
 
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