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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.
 

Good2Golf

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Explain to me how an infantry officer is trained to understand procurement.

When the CAF insists on inserting military personnel who are at best enthusiastic amateurs into procurement, results suffer.
So other than some LPO, what ‘procurement’ is DND actually allowed to do? I mean as opposed to what a 100% civilian staffed department that has….you know…the word ‘Procurement’ in its title…

If only the Government had come to know that major capital project related procurement is problematic before this week…
 

Good2Golf

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MilEME09

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So other than some LPO, what ‘procurement’ is DND actually allowed to do? I mean as opposed to what a 100% civilian staffed department that has….you know…the word ‘Procurement’ in its title…

If only the Government had come to know that major capital project related procurement is problematic before this week…
maybe military procurement needs it's own department? no TB or anyone else. just one department to overlook it all, spend it all, etc
 

FJAG

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KevinB

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Explain to me how an infantry officer is trained to understand procurement.

When the CAF insists on inserting military personnel who are at best enthusiastic amateurs into procurement, results suffer.
Down here there is a Combat Requirements course that both green suiters and GS Civilians can take.
It’s designed to make people understand how requirements are supposed to be written, and how to turn them into programs.
The USN and USAF have similar programs for big ticket items, the Army course deals with smaller things like small arms, STANO etc - generally items that are less than several hundred k each.

Each service then prioritizes it’s list and funds them, asking congress for more money if they need it.

Realistically it should be pretty easy for the CAF to ask each service to do the same.
The CAF seems risk adverse to go to the government and say we need 67B for these things. Here are the priorities by service….

The government can say to the CAF pound sand you get 28B only sort it out.

The CAF seems at times to relish being an underfunded stepchild.
 

Halifax Tar

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Explain to me how an infantry officer is trained to understand procurement.

When the CAF insists on inserting military personnel who are at best enthusiastic amateurs into procurement, results suffer.

Exactly.

It's long been thought in my trade that procurement should be removed and made its own separate trade with its own officer's.

Generally we do procurement on a much less grand scale. But it would create the foundation for a competent, dedicated, professional procurement corps, if you will. Or it should anyways, who knows what bastardized form we'd come up with.
 

McG

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Imagine if we had these things called aptitude tests and this other thing called, Tech Staff, which we didn't pay complete lip service to.

Btw, I used to work for an Infantry Officer who was #1 in Mech Eng at UofT. They also went to Tech Staff but then basically never used any of it because the Army felt no need to employ this individual in that capacity.

🤣🤣🤣
Engineering ≠ Procurement

The tech staff program prepares people to be requirements staff who are a little harder for corporate sales reps to snow. Graduates can still have no idea how to run a capital project.

The Army does need to do better at employing people in the role after the training. Most officer occupations seemed good at that, though the infantry had a tendency to always send someone to the school where they may or may not have been employed as a “tech Adjt.” The WO & MWO for the most part went on to do anything but tech jobs.
 

Halifax Tar

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Engineering ≠ Procurement

The tech staff program prepares people to be requirements staff who are a little harder for corporate sales reps to snow. Graduates can still have no idea how to run a capital project.

We have an issue with this. Our SC and Procurement is littered with Engineers.
 

ArmyRick

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So this budget still shows the Liberals do NOT take defence seriously. At all. Notta.

Add in a dose of NDP and it becomes downright clownish.

I wonder how many average Canadians (especially Trudeau cult worshippers) realize Canada went from a respected nation globally to a laughing stock that most other countries say "whatever, Canada"
 

WLSC

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See this, please, which I wrote about 15 years ago: General versus Economist

As far as I can see, nothing has changed.

-----
P.S. I knew the general, but not well; I worked for the economist ~ once or twice directly, on projects he initiated.
I understand what you wrote however this is not M. Harper. He vision of the federal government is not in line with what the founding fathers layed out. The results is 5Eyes as become the 4Eyes and we are now a burden to our allies and he doesn’t care. DND is a nuisance for is great goal.
 

calculus

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The story circulating around the office is the Minister was presented with a number of options to get to 2%, but most of them represented new capabilities. They realized that they were hamstrung by their own bureaucratic processes in that they didn't have a vehicle to raise new projects against, that vehicle being a policy clearly outlining the need for these new capabilities. So, DND was sent packing with direction to get SSE updated, and to do it ASAP. Again, this is third hand, but what we were told is the government was quite willing to jack up defence spending, and in fact is resigned to it, but felt that without a policy to justify where the extra moneys would go, they could not commit any large amounts of additional funding at this time. This makes sense to me, having worked in government for many years at a level where budgets get set, so I feel there is still hope that we will see a good boost once SSE mk 2 gets approved.
 

Furniture

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The story circulating around the office is the Minister was presented with a number of options to get to 2%, but most of them represented new capabilities. They realized that they were hamstrung by their own bureaucratic processes in that they didn't have a vehicle to raise new projects against, that vehicle being a policy clearly outlining the need for these new capabilities. So, DND was sent packing with direction to get SSE updated, and to do it ASAP. Again, this is third hand, but what we were told is the government was quite willing to jack up defence spending, and in fact is resigned to it, but felt that without a policy to justify where the extra moneys would go, they could not commit any large amounts of additional funding at this time. This makes sense to me, having worked in government for many years at a level where budgets get set, so I feel there is still hope that we will see a good boost once SSE mk 2 gets approved.
To be clear, the current government won't spend more on defence, because the government doesn't have a policy that justifies the spending, when it was the current government that gave us our current policy?

Sounds like Ottawa thinking... If SSE Mk II gets pushed back far enough, Canadians won't care about defence anymore, so more money for feel good projects.
 

WLSC

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The story circulating around the office is the Minister was presented with a number of options to get to 2%, but most of them represented new capabilities. They realized that they were hamstrung by their own bureaucratic processes in that they didn't have a vehicle to raise new projects against, that vehicle being a policy clearly outlining the need for these new capabilities. So, DND was sent packing with direction to get SSE updated, and to do it ASAP. Again, this is third hand, but what we were told is the government was quite willing to jack up defence spending, and in fact is resigned to it, but felt that without a policy to justify where the extra moneys would go, they could not commit any large amounts of additional funding at this time. This makes sense to me, having worked in government for many years at a level where budgets get set, so I feel there is still hope that we will see a good boost once SSE mk 2 gets approved.
And starting with SSE could not have been a good policy 🤓?
 

Good2Golf

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The story circulating around the office is the Minister was presented with a number of options to get to 2%, but most of them represented new capabilities. They realized that they were hamstrung by their own bureaucratic processes in that they didn't have a vehicle to raise new projects against, that vehicle being a policy clearly outlining the need for these new capabilities. So, DND was sent packing with direction to get SSE updated, and to do it ASAP.
That fits perfectly with the current Government’s policy of gaslighting its enemies…

Again, this is third hand, but what we were told is the government was quite willing to jack up defence spending, and in fact is resigned to it, but felt that without a policy to justify where the extra moneys would go, they could not commit any large amounts of additional funding at this time.

The word you’re looking for is “excuse.”

This makes sense to me, having worked in government for many years at a level where budgets get set, so I feel there is still hope that we will see a good boost once SSE mk 2 gets approved.

Didn’t stop them buying a couple of Bombardier Challeneger 605s without paperwork…we’ll, Requisition through PWGSC aside.

This government will do everything it can to not leak money from the vote-supportive social programs.

Folks like to say it’s DNDs problem to solve, and most everyone conveniently un-remembers the many times that DND had set requirements and identified capabilities needed, then politics swung in and cancelled/redirected/etc. and when things invariably went to crap, pointed at DND as incompetent. EH-101…Cormorant capped at $650M soma search helicopter wasn’t even fitted with a FLIR system, ILTIS, LSVW, ships delayed and delayed and delayed, Cyclone directed by government to save embarrassment of Chretien’s legacy, F-18 replacement debacle even though government initially described joining the JSF program as being a program logic, and get the aircraft the multinational program finally selects, pistol not yet replacement…there is a difference between civilian control of the military, which we should all agree is the correct thing, and politically-driven use of Defence as a cash distribution tool with op reqr a tertiary outcome.

The latest (prove you can do things ‘properly’ before we give you more money) media-line just proves that the Government will do anything in its power to keep the foot on The neck of meaningful Defence investment.

Kabuki Theatre at its best…
 

dimsum

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They also went to Tech Staff but then basically never used any of it because the Army felt no need to employ this individual in that capacity.
FFS.

I'm of the opinion that if someone goes to Army Tech Staff or the RCAF Aerospace Studies Program (or whatever the RCN equiv is), their next posting should be pre-set as a project SME. They should know where they are going pretty much from the start of the course, if not the middle, so they can focus their research papers on that field.

Then, they should have the option to leave the operational world should they wish (change to 00000 Tech Staff or something like that) and focus on using their knowledge/skills.

I know of some ASP grads who also have never used any of it because the RCAF needed line drivers. A waste both for the person who just spent a year learning some pretty important and interesting things, and the institution for footing the bill and losing said person for a year.
 

Underway

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And starting with SSE could not have been a good policy 🤓?
I'll channel my inner Randy Carlile here "It's fine... just fine". Certainly better than what we were working with the 10-12 years before it was released. Despite the language used it spells out defense priorities with enough direction that the CAF could get to work. It needs to be better though. It needs enough juice to get us past just treading water.
__________________________________________________________

I was super pissed with the budget's military side. I was more surprised at the cutback in the deficit and pleasantly surprised at that. This budget will not exacerbate inflation either which was a key concern of mine. Being a fiscal conservative and pro-military spender was forcing me to choose mom or dad's house in the divorce. In my pain and confusion, I'll just lash out here at you folks! ;)

@Edward Campbell and @calculus I get exactly what you are saying regarding finance not being comfortable with DND's capacity to spend what would be a windfall of cash. There is no way we could spend it over the next year. That sort of increase needs to be planned out.

I would not be surprised if a number of projects on the books are pushed ahead faster this year. It can be done if the light and heat get put on. Nor would I be surprised if the F35 deal gets pushed as the big-spending ticket this year. The budget I don't think accounts for that specifically and we all know governments add lines through the year.

I also expect project offices to be stood up or fleshed out for some long-suffering thorns. NORAD site refurb/replacement. Submarines. MCDV replacement. And a whole hockey sock of army items that are on the books drip torturing themselves through the procurement process (ATGM and Comms being top of the list) once SSE is updated... with a plan.

If Euro security is still a concern next budget the groundwork hopefully will have been laid. My biggest concern is that we (Canada) may be numb to Ukraine by then and the moment may have passed to get the big payout. Europe won't be though, this is their 9-11 movement when the entire world changed.
 

WLSC

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I'll channel my inner Randy Carlile here "It's fine... just fine". Certainly better than what we were working with the 10-12 years before it was released. Despite the language used it spells out defense priorities with enough direction that the CAF could get to work. It needs to be better though. It needs enough juice to get us past just treading water.
__________________________________________________________

I was super pissed with the budget's military side. I was more surprised at the cutback in the deficit and pleasantly surprised at that. This budget will not exacerbate inflation either which was a key concern of mine. Being a fiscal conservative and pro-military spender was forcing me to choose mom or dad's house in the divorce. In my pain and confusion, I'll just lash out here at you folks! ;)

@Edward Campbell and @calculus I get exactly what you are saying regarding finance not being comfortable with DND's capacity to spend what would be a windfall of cash. There is no way we could spend it over the next year. That sort of increase needs to be planned out.

I would not be surprised if a number of projects on the books are pushed ahead faster this year. It can be done if the light and heat get put on. Nor would I be surprised if the F35 deal gets pushed as the big-spending ticket this year. The budget I don't think accounts for that specifically and we all know governments add lines through the year.

I also expect project offices to be stood up or fleshed out for some long-suffering thorns. NORAD site refurb/replacement. Submarines. MCDV replacement. And a whole hockey sock of army items that are on the books drip torturing themselves through the procurement process (ATGM and Comms being top of the list) once SSE is updated... with a plan.

If Euro security is still a concern next budget the groundwork hopefully will have been laid. My biggest concern is that we (Canada) may be numb to Ukraine by then and the moment may have passed to get the big payout. Europe won't be though, this is their 9-11 movement when the entire world changed.
Has long procurement is not align with capabilities, we’ll have nothing except reliving the Groundhog Day. This mean a dedicated DND/CAF team. The culture change on the leadership part is very much needed but I got the feeling it’s the unwritten conditions for us to have some influence over are own destiny.

So the way I see it, no procurement reform until the change is done at the PMO taste.
 
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