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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.
 

KevinB

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I’ll argue SSE allows for whatever the CAF, DND and Cdn Government want.

You could easily field a Heavy DIV, a Medium DIV, and a Light DIV under SSE and justify it with a straight face. The same goes for major RCAF and RCN expansion.

Canada has promised a Bde to NATO - to relive that Bde and maintaining other contingency forces as required by SSE means you need at least three Bde, but you may not know what sort of force is needed, therefore you have Heavy, Medium, and Light.

Let’s also not forget the massive holes in GBAD, Anti-Tank Weapons, Artillery, UAS, Logistics, Combat Support Enablers and Combat Service Support.

That doesn’t even get past the CA, let alone the other elements.
 

WLSC

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I’ll argue SSE allows for whatever the CAF, DND and Cdn Government want.

You could easily field a Heavy DIV, a Medium DIV, and a Light DIV under SSE and justify it with a straight face. The same goes for major RCAF and RCN expansion.

Canada has promised a Bde to NATO - to relive that Bde and maintaining other contingency forces as required by SSE means you need at least three Bde, but you may not know what sort of force is needed, therefore you have Heavy, Medium, and Light.

Let’s also not forget the massive holes in GBAD, Anti-Tank Weapons, Artillery, UAS, Logistics, Combat Support Enablers and Combat Service Support.

That doesn’t even get past the CA, let alone the other elements.
Exacly my thought. It was there, they just wanted to shovel the snow forward. I would have be happy with named commitment, timelines, CLEAR rushed procurement reform and money for CAF reconstitution. With the current inflation, it's almost a nil growth.
 

Czech_pivo

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Exacly my thought. It was there, they just wanted to shovel the snow forward. I would have be happy with named commitment, timelines, CLEAR rushed procurement reform and money for CAF reconstitution. With the current inflation, it's almost a nil growth.
It is nil growth.
 

Navy_Pete

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We have an issue with this. Our SC and Procurement is littered with Engineers.
Sure, we're the ones that are responsible for both the technical requirements and project management. When things aren't in stock it's the LCMMs who get shitty grams from the units.

There is also a big impact from contract terms on the actual projects, so it's a big team effort. If not, things go sideways.

Lot of LCMMs are doing cross training on the supply side to make sure they understand that side of things (and to help train the new supply managers), but I'm not sure how you'd do procurement without the tech staff (aside from straight buys of existing NSNs).

It's not like we don't buy a lot of things; we pump through billions every year, and manage more contracts then any other department by far. It's just that the actual LOE is more then the capacity, and it takes years to get people trained up to be competent. Believe it or not, DND is much better at buying things than any other department.

The integrated project teams (IPTs) with embedded PSPC actually works pretty well but at the end of the day, if there are 40 hoops to jump through, doesn't really matter how good people are, it all takes time.

I'd like to fire TBS and FIN into the sun though; they are constantly moving the goal posts (or having black box processes) and like to criticize PMs for not reading their minds and anticipating that something that worked the last 10 times has changed. I'm all for competent, responsible oversight but they aren't it.
 

Czech_pivo

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I understand why everyone is chattering on about fixing Procurement but what about addressing the shortfall of 6,500 personnel below stated levels?
Should fixing both of these not be A level priorities? How do you address shortfalls in GBAD, Anti-Tank Weapons, Artillery, UAS, Logistics, Combat Support Enablers and Combat Service Support, if you don't have the warm bodies to stand-up these new units/capabilities?
 

Underway

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Sure, we're the ones that are responsible for both the technical requirements and project management. When things aren't in stock it's the LCMMs who get shitty grams from the units.

There is also a big impact from contract terms on the actual projects, so it's a big team effort. If not, things go sideways.

Lot of LCMMs are doing cross training on the supply side to make sure they understand that side of things (and to help train the new supply managers), but I'm not sure how you'd do procurement without the tech staff (aside from straight buys of existing NSNs).

It's not like we don't buy a lot of things; we pump through billions every year, and manage more contracts then any other department by far. It's just that the actual LOE is more then the capacity, and it takes years to get people trained up to be competent. Believe it or not, DND is much better at buying things than any other department.

The integrated project teams (IPTs) with embedded PSPC actually works pretty well but at the end of the day, if there are 40 hoops to jump through, doesn't really matter how good people are, it all takes time.

I'd like to fire TBS and FIN into the sun though; they are constantly moving the goal posts (or having black box processes) and like to criticize PMs for not reading their minds and anticipating that something that worked the last 10 times has changed. I'm all for competent, responsible oversight but they aren't it.
I agree entirely with this.

Engineers don't manage the contracts side and we certainly don't manage the supply side. Or we are not supposed to do that. Would be nice if the supply section actually had more than just one LCdr in it, had the two civis and supply Chief that is supposed to work there. Engineers do Project Management but have to be trained in that, and frankly, that's in the career path for most of us.

Would be nice if the Engineers were not having to deal with ITAR, Security certificates, and other such administration and if we had people staffed to actually deal with that so we could focus on the technical approvals/reviews that we are required to do.

It would also be nice if the LCMM's were funded to a level where they could be proactive instead of reactive.
 

Underway

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I understand why everyone is chattering on about fixing Procurement but what about addressing the shortfall of 6,500 personnel below stated levels?
Should fixing both of these not be A level priorities? How do you address shortfalls in GBAD, Anti-Tank Weapons, Artillery, UAS, Logistics, Combat Support Enablers and Combat Service Support, if you don't have the warm bodies to stand-up these new units/capabilities?
I'm confident that if in many cases we had the equipment to do that job for some people (not all) the job becomes more attractive. Failing that Penal Battalions, Conscription, Mercenaries, Contractors. (you can figure out the jokes from the actual ideas in there. :unsure:)

But yah, priority A is people. If we don't have people then it doesn't really matter.
 

FSTO

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I agree entirely with this.

Engineers don't manage the contracts side and we certainly don't manage the supply side. Or we are not supposed to do that. Would be nice if the supply section actually had more than just one LCdr in it, had the two civis and supply Chief that is supposed to work there. Engineers do Project Management but have to be trained in that, and frankly, that's in the career path for most of us.

Would be nice if the Engineers were not having to deal with ITAR, Security certificates, and other such administration and if we had people staffed to actually deal with that so we could focus on the technical approvals/reviews that we are required to do.

It would also be nice if the LCMM's were funded to a level where they could be proactive instead of reactive.
Are You Talking To Me Pointing GIF by LLIMOO

Fixing the procurement, its their fault!
 

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.
Interesting: Canada's plan to boost military spending ‘falls flat’ amid high hopes

Also suggests a lot hinges on the defence policy review.
 

WLSC

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I understand why everyone is chattering on about fixing Procurement but what about addressing the shortfall of 6,500 personnel below stated levels?
Should fixing both of these not be A level priorities? How do you address shortfalls in GBAD, Anti-Tank Weapons, Artillery, UAS, Logistics, Combat Support Enablers and Combat Service Support, if you don't have the warm bodies to stand-up these new units/capabilities?
I need to be both in the same time. You reconstitute while you purchase the kit and reorganized the current kit in line with the futur organisation. Dont need to shop for long, production may take time. We just have to look around what's good in the market (local benefit being a welcome bonus) and you buy. By the time the troops arrives in the units, the current kit is reorganized and new kit should start arriving. We do not have the luxury of the deliberate attack right now. It need to go faster. I thing we can walk and shew gum in the same time. But that's just me.
 

Czech_pivo

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Interesting: Canada's plan to boost military spending ‘falls flat’ amid high hopes

Also suggests a lot hinges on the defence policy review.
It's only been 5yr since the last review.

From a 'measurable' perspective - what stated goals/deliverables in the 2017 review have been met in the last 5yrs?

Are we doing a new review policy because there is acknowledgement that the last one was a failure? Did the last one in no way predict that Russia might go all in on Ukraine when the Crimea and Donbass issues were already 3yrs old? Are we doing it as a way to 'look busy' or, that a serious attempt to right a listing ship is being attempted?

How long is the stated timeline to stand up, define scope, assign tasks, responsibilities, deliverables and project end date? Is it 6 months? 1yr? 3yrs? Who is the 'Champion' for this project - the PMO, Finance, CDS, the Minister of Defence directly?

Based on past deliverables, initiatives, attempts, I have little faith that a new policy review/deliverable will achieve much at all.
 

Navy_Pete

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I need to be both in the same time. You reconstitute while you purchase the kit and reorganized the current kit in line with the futur organisation. Dont need to shop for long, production may take time. We just have to look around what's good in the market (local benefit being a welcome bonus) and you buy. By the time the troops arrives in the units, the current kit is reorganized and new kit should start arriving. We do not have the luxury of the deliberate attack right now. It need to go faster. I thing we can walk and shew gum in the same time. But that's just me.

How do you think procurement works? We put out a tender, bids come in, off you go only applies to existing catalogued items. If it hits a certain value, it goes to PSPC, otherwise we do it ourselves.

New capitol procurements have a big process with a whack of non-DND requirements. If you go past a certain value, it goes through PSPC, and when you hit other thresholds, about 10 other departments involved.

'Deliberate attack' isn't the plan, it's more like you show up as into a project, and there is a massive bureaucratic obstacle course to jump through, which you have to tackle one at a time. Some is internal DND, most of it is external. Some of the internal DND processes were mandated by TBS.

If we could just whip out a credit card, we would. But sure, tell us how it 'should' go.
 

Underway

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Are You Talking To Me Pointing GIF by LLIMOO

Fixing the procurement, its their fault!
Don't give me that shit. I know exactly where I can improve, but don't be going on blaming engineering for things that are very much outside our lane. Engineering is understaffed as well, leading to delays. And I've certainly made mistakes along the way I would have done better in hindsight. There is more then enough blame to go around.
 

FSTO

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Don't give me that shit. I know exactly where I can improve, but don't be going on blaming engineering for things that are very much outside our lane. Engineering is understaffed as well, leading to delays. And I've certainly made mistakes along the way I would have done better in hindsight. There is more then enough blame to go around.
Apologies, I meant (should have amplified more) the finger pointing throughout the Public Service/DND/CAF/PMO that is frustrating. When during the announcement of the F35 the minister of procurement basically stated the process is just fine I just about put my foot through the TV. Everyone knows what the issue is, nobody wants to take responsibility and the risk to actually fix the problem.
 

MilEME09

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It's only been 5yr since the last review.

From a 'measurable' perspective - what stated goals/deliverables in the 2017 review have been met in the last 5yrs?

Are we doing a new review policy because there is acknowledgement that the last one was a failure? Did the last one in no way predict that Russia might go all in on Ukraine when the Crimea and Donbass issues were already 3yrs old? Are we doing it as a way to 'look busy' or, that a serious attempt to right a listing ship is being attempted?

How long is the stated timeline to stand up, define scope, assign tasks, responsibilities, deliverables and project end date? Is it 6 months? 1yr? 3yrs? Who is the 'Champion' for this project - the PMO, Finance, CDS, the Minister of Defence directly?

Based on past deliverables, initiatives, attempts, I have little faith that a new policy review/deliverable will achieve much at all.
5 years yes but the past 2 months have thrown everything on its head, and we are about to walk into a very turbulent period in history. A weakened Russia will lead to more issues in Africa and else where. SSE was written about theoretical threats, not the emerging real ones.
 
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