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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.
 

Baloo

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All the money announced is new money 4.9 billion over 6 years and 40billion over 20 years (funded...), on top of what was in the budget.
The Department issued a clarification after the Minister spoke. It is not new money, and is in fact part of the previously-announced increase to the defence budget.

EDIT. The Minister's Office sent the correction, not DND.
 

rmc_wannabe

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RCAF be like...


smug top gear GIF
All glory is fleeting. Beware the Ides of Budget 2023.....
 

TCM621

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Still nothing to address the retention issues, housing and cost of living. RCAF manning is falling apart and some trades are not recoverable, but hey, we will have new buildings and shiny things that will just sit there collecting dust.
The AWS trade is basically dead at this point. Because we are so short on the bottom, they are capping promotions at the same time an entire generation of members are becoming pensionable. People are getting out because they don't see any growth individually or as a trade. Last I checked the trade were barely above 80% TES and that includes a bunch of apprentices who can't actually do work yet.

The RCAF is basically pinning all its retention efforts on a pay review that may or may not result in better pay sometime in the next few years, hopefully. That and Tshirts.
 

Spencer100

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Still nothing to address the retention issues, housing and cost of living. RCAF manning is falling apart and some trades are not recoverable, but hey, we will have new buildings and shiny things that will just sit there collecting dust.
In fairness to the Gov. (I even hate saying this) Although those are very important issues and will speak to the long term effectiveness of the plan. I would not have announced those things at this press release. This press release was not aimed at the 99% of the Canadian electorate. It was to signal to our allies (just one really) we are onboard. It was an investment in the single most important reason d'etre of the whole Defence Dept. The defence against "help".
 

Spencer100

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They've figured it out. Just deciding if the non-financial impacts are worth it.
Cool. My evil side if I was an RCN head would be Hey Minister my team, organization and equipment are a base we can grow this NORAD and BMD (sorry integrated system). we are building the ships and systems now.....just a little bit more and we can do this much more of the continental defense. We just need some more MK41 VLS tubes and couple of missile. Oh and some people. And give them raise. :) Those RCAF guys way more expensive. :)

(just having fun with this)
 

Underway

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Cool. My evil side if I was an RCN head would be Hey Minister my team, organization and equipment are a base we can grow this NORAD and BMD (sorry integrated system). we are building the ships and systems now.....just a little bit more and we can do this much more of the continental defense. We just need some more MK41 VLS tubes and couple of missile. Oh and some people. And give them raise. :) Those RCAF guys way more expensive. :)

(just having fun with this)
So I don't know for sure what they are doing, but I think I brought this up on the CSC thread. Remove 127mm, install 57mm and another row of VLS (bringing the ship to 40-48 Mk 41VLS). The other option is to extend the ship's length by 2m or so to get in 32VLS but that adds at least 1000 tons to the design, which threatens top speed and other hull design considerations.
 
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