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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.
 

Furniture

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I would actually prefer US equipment vice European.
I'd prefer equipment...

The USA pays a premium for the best kit out there, Canada has little appetite to pay that premium. I'd rather see Canadians armed with the 90% solution from Europe, than the 0% solution we currently have for many problems.
 

OldSolduer

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I'd prefer equipment...

The USA pays a premium for the best kit out there, Canada has little appetite to pay that premium. I'd rather see Canadians armed with the 90% solution from Europe, than the 0% solution we currently have for many problems.
You make a good point but the US is just over the border while Europe is a very large nasty ocean away.
 

TacticalTea

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Anyone else surprised seeing the Bloq support increased funding for the Canadian military?
Certainly a departure from Quebec's usual ''Screw anything that can be associated with British imperialism, to wit, the military, conscription, and overseas deployments''. The Bloc is generally a centrist party, though, and - just like Quebeccers at large - strongly values the right of peoples to self-determination.

It is no surprise to me that Russia's violation of that right would elicit in them (us) a strong militarist attitude that is usually inexistant.

It also follows logically (from their own self-determination) that they would favour Quebec's right to develop and manage dental/pharmacare, and thus would prefer the federal government to focus on national defence rather than what is seen here as interference in a field of provincial competence.
 

FJAG

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On the other hand, we are more likely to fight there, so the systems could be a LPO... :ROFLMAO:
My guess would be that if we're 'fighting there' then the only spare parts and maintenance we'll get there is the ones we brought with us and what we can do ourselves.

I'd prefer to be tied into the US logistics chain then be grafted on to the German and Swedish and French and Brit for different systems. And boy, do I ever hope we have something better than an NSE and the current logistics chain to work through. It was challenging enough in Afghanistan. I can't see it working in a high intensity conflict.

🍻
 

Furniture

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Except a lot of European stuff is crap, and Europe never builds enough which is why most of Europe is starting to go American.
It seems to work against our enemy... Again, my idea is buy what we can get our hands on now, then launch the project to find the "best" we can afford.

I'm not anti-American made kit, I'm anti-buy-what-America-has-just-because, as I would be if this was 1937 and you were saying we should buy British because everything else is crap.
 

GR66

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It seems to work against our enemy... Again, my idea is buy what we can get our hands on now, then launch the project to find the "best" we can afford.

I'm not anti-American made kit, I'm anti-buy-what-America-has-just-because, as I would be if this was 1937 and you were saying we should buy British because everything else is crap.
Volume, supply chain and interoperability should be huge factors in most equipment/weapon purchases. Wherever we go fight we are almost certain to be fighting alongside the Americans. The French, Brits, Swedes or Germans may not be there. Being able to tap into the Walmart of Militaries when you need replacements is not just a convenience in combat, it may mean the difference between mission success and mission failure.

I'm not saying we should blindly buy whatever the Americans are using without any thought, but the first thing we should do in most cases is look at what the Americans are using and then demonstrate why that item CAN'T work for us before we go looking at alternatives.
 

WLSC

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Certainly a departure from Quebec's usual ''Screw anything that can be associated with British imperialism, to wit, the military, conscription, and overseas deployments''. The Bloc is generally a centrist party, though, and - just like Quebeccers at large - strongly values the right of peoples to self-determination.

It is no surprise to me that Russia's violation of that right would elicit in them (us) a strong militarist attitude that is usually inexistant.

It also follows logically (from their own self-determination) that they would favour Quebec's right to develop and manage dental/pharmacare, and thus would prefer the federal government to focus on national defence rather than what is seen here as interference in a field of provincial competence.
Bang on. Qc at large don’t like federal insertion in provincial domaine. That exactly why there’s never enough money for the CAF. Sadly, it’s not the end of insertion. The current GC would a find provincial gouv. This were their priority are.
 
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Remius

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It seems to work against our enemy... Again, my idea is buy what we can get our hands on now, then launch the project to find the "best" we can afford.

I'm not anti-American made kit, I'm anti-buy-what-America-has-just-because, as I would be if this was 1937 and you were saying we should buy British because everything else is crap.
Totally get what you are saying. But if our focus is going to be things like NORAD and the Arctic (ie fighting the Russians on our own front) then it makes sense to buy American. From interoperability and supply points of view not to mention that they are our biggest and friendliest trading partner.

Not saying we buy everything from there but a lot of things we could seem like no brainers.
 

calculus

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CTV reporting $8Billion, but "it won’t be allocated all in one year". If correct, disappointing, to say the least, and tone deaf on the part of the Liberals.

 

markppcli

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Except a lot of European stuff is crap, and Europe never builds enough which is why most of Europe is starting to go American.
Who’s going American ? I can’t think of any real major procurements beyond the F35?
 

Fishbone Jones

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CTV reporting $8Billion, but "it won’t be allocated all in one year". If correct, disappointing, to say the least, and tone deaf on the part of the Liberals.

That should just about cover the cost for the new, mandatory, 'I'm OK, You're OK' type training
 

Underway

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I would actually prefer US equipment vice European.

I certainly don't. Plenty of things is better to buy Euro than from the US. In particular, ITAR creates a massive problem for importation and usage. Sweeden, UK, France, and Italy make some excellent naval items.

Who’s going American ? I can’t think of any real major procurements beyond the F35?
CSC has quite a lot of US parts in it. The radars, missile systems (barring CAMM), comms, likey EW suite, Combat Management System (Aegis components) etc...

CAF radios usually have two options that make sense, German or US. Some German stuff isn't fully compatible with some US stuff. Which may inhibit Cdn international comms rule #1 - be interoperable with the United States. As such I expect the majority of communication upgrades to be using US equipment at some point along the line (subcontractor level at least).
 

markppcli

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I certainly don't. Plenty of things is better to buy Euro than from the US. In particular, ITAR creates a massive problem for importation and usage. Sweeden, UK, France, and Italy make some excellent naval items.


CSC has quite a lot of US parts in it. The radars, missile systems (barring CAMM), comms, likey EW suite, Combat Management System (Aegis components) etc...

CAF radios usually have two options that make sense, German or US. Some German stuff isn't fully compatible with some US stuff. Which may inhibit Cdn international comms rule #1 - be interoperable with the United States. As such I expect the majority of communication upgrades to be using US equipment at some point along the line (subcontractor level at least).
Yes but Kevin specifically mentioned Europe buying American equipment.
 

GR66

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Yes but Kevin specifically mentioned Europe buying American equipment.
Poland just purchased 250 M1 Abrams tanks.

Poland has also purchased Patriot and both Switzerland and Croatia have Patriot orders pending approval.

The Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Ireland, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Ukraine and the UK all have purchased Javelin.

Montenegro, Slovenia, Lithuania, Belgium, North Macedonia and Romania have purchased the JTLV (with Portugal and the UK considering)

Just four major systems off the top of my head.
 

markppcli

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France bought Javelin as a stop gap, they’re producing their own system. On the rest I shall eat some humble pie.
 

Navy_Pete

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For a while there ITAR requirements were so over the top we looked at having it as a disqualifying item on non-weapon system procurements. They are getting a bit better, but sometimes they catalogue insane things like fasteners and washers and can take years to get it removed from the list, when you can buy it at home depot. Just because it happens to be holding a radar or something in place doesn't make it protected military equipment, but once it's catalogued...

If you are buying a rifle, or some other standalone kit pretty awesome, but if you are bolting it on to existing equipment can be a really big headache for the initial buy and ongoing maintenance.
 

Booter

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The media doesn’t care.
Current, serving military officers can’t (won’t?) openly speak about the current dire situation because they worry about the repercussions to their careers.
What the US should do is kick us to the curb and force us to shoulder our true burdens, this may wake up the public.
I think this is a key. Canadians believe the constant shell game from politicians and military officers on TV touting our prowess and never honestly answering the question of how many for how long can we actually field- and what can we effectively field with no outside support.

The opposite side of that is- there is also the immediate cries from people that you’re somehow disparaging the people in uniform when you criticize it’s effectiveness- because we allow people to conflate our personnel and their desire with the absolute disrepair the material and planning has been left in.
 
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