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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.
 

OldSolduer

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Okay, I'll admit my bias by stating that our current PM is pretty vacuous at the best of times. But this magical mystery tour has to be one of the most empty of realism I've ever seen. The breathless voice, the non answers, the empty statements. Admittedly the the Ukrainian President is staring death in the face every day but when you put our lad against Zelenskyy the lack of sand in our hero is quite stark.
Truer words have never been spoken - empty headed lunch bucket is my preferred way of describing him. But I am biased.
 

lenaitch

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The election down under should be interesting with respect to the submarine issue. Continuity is imperative if the Aussies have any hope at succeeding there. The proposed new Eastern submarine base should add some spice


Same old same old with Trudeau lots of talk and posing but very little substance. Maybe if trialed by fire he would stand out as well but I look at the lack of real response with regard to our own defence priorities as damming. What moves to secure our own nationality has he even broached? None as far as I know. We sit on our hands on the fighter replacement. I mean we lie our way to whatever measly GDP percentage we are currently at by including non CAF expenditures like the CCG when the CCG has very little constabulary ability. That being taken up mostly by our Kingston Class. Even from a non kinetic standpoint you think we could be helping out with the refugee situation in Poland unless they dont want or need it but I find that hard to believe
While not willing to give this government, or any in recent memory, a pass on defence spending, is there any standard benchmark for NATO partners to be judged against when it comes to their %/GDP? I wasn't aware that CCG spending was lumped into any figure the government has used, but I have read that other nations include such services as border enforcement and para-military federal police into their percentage.
 

suffolkowner

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While not willing to give this government, or any in recent memory, a pass on defence spending, is there any standard benchmark for NATO partners to be judged against when it comes to their %/GDP? I wasn't aware that CCG spending was lumped into any figure the government has used, but I have read that other nations include such services as border enforcement and para-military federal police into their percentage.
I'm not super familiar with it so Im not sure if expenditures are "approved" or not. I have a couple documents around here somewhere so maybe ill take a look on the weekend. The inclusion of other enforcement and para-military forces is true but to compare it to what our non CAF can contribute is weak on the part of the federal government. If I was NATO I would say nice try
 

Weinie

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The election down under should be interesting with respect to the submarine issue. Continuity is imperative if the Aussies have any hope at succeeding there. The proposed new Eastern submarine base should add some spice


Same old same old with Trudeau lots of talk and posing but very little substance. Maybe if trialed by fire he would stand out as well but I look at the lack of real response with regard to our own defence priorities as damming. What moves to secure our own nationality has he even broached? None as far as I know. We sit on our hands on the fighter replacement. I mean we lie our way to whatever measly GDP percentage we are currently at by including non CAF expenditures like the CCG when the CCG has very little constabulary ability. That being taken up mostly by our Kingston Class. Even from a non kinetic standpoint you think we could be helping out with the refugee situation in Poland unless they dont want or need it but I find that hard to believe
He's been trialed by fire once.......................Emergencies Act was the result.
 

QV

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While not willing to give this government, or any in recent memory, a pass on defence spending, is there any standard benchmark for NATO partners to be judged against when it comes to their %/GDP? I wasn't aware that CCG spending was lumped into any figure the government has used, but I have read that other nations include such services as border enforcement and para-military federal police into their percentage.
I'd agree with the CCG being lumped in if they doubled as an armed force capable of naval warfare operations, but they can't and are basically unarmed civilians. Including them is playing games.
 

Jarnhamar

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Increasing our military budget without massive oversight to how it's spent would be meaningless. We can spend $1100 ea. on ergonomic office chairs but not buy helmets with NVG mounts. Our military is built for comfy HQs, not warfighting.
 
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FSTO

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Does anyone think that, at a bare minimum, that we get a Foreign Policy Document so that we can tailor a Defence Policy based on our Foreign Aims and Interests. SSE is now horribly out of date.

I am not very hopeful this will happen. Cripes ze Germans did a 180 in about 72 hrs!
 

OldSolduer

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I am not very hopeful this will happen. Cripes ze Germans did a 180 in about 72 hrs!
There's a good reason for ze Germans to do the about face. A number of years ago a German Army captain told me "Russia is too close".

Russia and Germany have a history shall we say. In that part of the world things like that aren't forgotten easily.
 

FSTO

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There's a good reason for ze Germans to do the about face. A number of years ago a German Army captain told me "Russia is too close".

Russia and Germany have a history shall we say. In that part of the world things like that aren't forgotten easily.
That is our issue, despite the shrinking world, the powers that be in Canada still believe we live in a fireproof house and that the world loves us.
 

Blackadder1916

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While not willing to give this government, or any in recent memory, a pass on defence spending, is there any standard benchmark for NATO partners to be judged against when it comes to their %/GDP? I wasn't aware that CCG spending was lumped into any figure the government has used, but I have read that other nations include such services as border enforcement and para-military federal police into their percentage.

Yes, there is a definition and it can be found in this document. https://www.nato.int/nato_static_fl2014/assets/pdf/2021/6/pdf/210611-pr-2021-094-en.pdf

An excerpt.
NATO defines defence expenditure as payments made by a national government specifically to meet the needs of its armed forces, those of Allies or of the Alliance. A major component of defence expenditure is payments for Armed Forces financed from within the Ministry of Defence (MoD) budget. Armed Forces include Land, Maritime and Air forces as well as Joint formations such as Administration and Command, Special Operations Forces, Medical Service, Logistic Command, Space Command, Cyber Command, etc. They might also include "Other Forces" like Ministry of Interior troops, national police forces, gendarmerie, carabinieri, coast guards etc. In such cases, expenditure is included only in proportion to the forces that are trained in military tactics, are equipped as a military force, can operate under direct military authority in deployed operations, and can, realistically, be deployed outside national territory in support of a military force. Also, expenditure on Other Forces financed through the budgets of ministries other than MoD is included in defence expenditure.
. . . .
 

lenaitch

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Yes, there is a definition and it can be found in this document. https://www.nato.int/nato_static_fl2014/assets/pdf/2021/6/pdf/210611-pr-2021-094-en.pdf

An excerpt.
Thanks for that. Seems fairly clear.

But I found this. No idea of the veracity of the source, I just stumbled across it.

Excerpt:

The Components of U.S. Military Spending

If you really want to get a handle on what the United States spends on defense, you need to look at multiple components.
The $715 billion base budget for the Department of Defense is the main contributor to the defense budget, but there are a number of other agencies that protect our nation as well, and much of their spending is devoted to the military effort. They include the Department of Veterans Affairs ($113.1 billion). Funding for the VA has been increased by nearly $30 billion over 2018 levels. That's to fund the VA MISSION Act and the VA's healthcare system. The other agencies are: Homeland Security ($54.9 billion), the State Department ($63.6 billion), and the FBI and Cybersecurity in the Department of Justice ($10.3 billion).
 

KevinB

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Thanks for that. Seems fairly clear.

But I found this. No idea of the veracity of the source, I just stumbled across it.

Excerpt:

The Components of U.S. Military Spending

If you really want to get a handle on what the United States spends on defense, you need to look at multiple components.
The $715 billion base budget for the Department of Defense is the main contributor to the defense budget, but there are a number of other agencies that protect our nation as well, and much of their spending is devoted to the military effort. They include the Department of Veterans Affairs ($113.1 billion). Funding for the VA has been increased by nearly $30 billion over 2018 levels. That's to fund the VA MISSION Act and the VA's healthcare system. The other agencies are: Homeland Security ($54.9 billion), the State Department ($63.6 billion), and the FBI and Cybersecurity in the Department of Justice ($10.3 billion).
It doesn’t count for NATO, but is more an explanation of what realistically goes into defense and truer costs.

I don’t think it does a good job in some ways, as it basically paints the State Department under defense, but it also explains the what, why, and where of other costs that are key to National Defense that aren’t in the DoD budget.

For instance veterans affairs, the VA funding is a result of having a standing Military, but it isn’t a direct DoD expense.

Cyber Security aspects as well defend the national infrastructure, but very few are under DoD etc.

It’s a decent manner of comparison for counties, as far as a budget allocation for Defense goes but still has flaws.
 

childs56

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While not willing to give this government, or any in recent memory, a pass on defence spending, is there any standard benchmark for NATO partners to be judged against when it comes to their %/GDP? I wasn't aware that CCG spending was lumped into any figure the government has used, but I have read that other nations include such services as border enforcement and para-military federal police into their percentage.
 

GR66

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With a different leader/party in government I would have seen an excellent opportunity to re-open the Keystone XL pipeline project and the Energy East pipeline.

An agreement to meet our NATO commitment of 2% of GDP (and agreement to take part in the US BMD program) as the carrot for the US combined with a major PR campaign to secure ethical North-American sourced oil and gas for the US and Canada while energy prices are soaring, Russian oil is taboo and President Biden is taking heat for looking to enemy states (and "supposed allies not acting like friends during this crisis" states) Iran, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to take up the slack.

Sadly, this government never seems to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
 

daftandbarmy

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With a different leader/party in government I would have seen an excellent opportunity to re-open the Keystone XL pipeline project and the Energy East pipeline.

An agreement to meet our NATO commitment of 2% of GDP (and agreement to take part in the US BMD program) as the carrot for the US combined with a major PR campaign to secure ethical North-American sourced oil and gas for the US and Canada while energy prices are soaring, Russian oil is taboo and President Biden is taking heat for looking to enemy states (and "supposed allies not acting like friends during this crisis" states) Iran, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to take up the slack.

Sadly, this government never seems to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

strike out fox broadcasting GIF by Pitch on FOX
 

Kirkhill

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Does anyone think that, at a bare minimum, that we get a Foreign Policy Document so that we can tailor a Defence Policy based on our Foreign Aims and Interests. SSE is now horribly out of date.

I am not very hopeful this will happen. Cripes ze Germans did a 180 in about 72 hrs!

I have no faith in Justin seeing the light.

On the other hand I have hopes for Chrystia Freeland, Anita Anand and most of this team

 

YZT580

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With a different leader/party in government I would have seen an excellent opportunity to re-open the Keystone XL pipeline project and the Energy East pipeline.

An agreement to meet our NATO commitment of 2% of GDP (and agreement to take part in the US BMD program) as the carrot for the US combined with a major PR campaign to secure ethical North-American sourced oil and gas for the US and Canada while energy prices are soaring, Russian oil is taboo and President Biden is taking heat for looking to enemy states (and "supposed allies not acting like friends during this crisis" states) Iran, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to take up the slack.

Sadly, this government never seems to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
believe that congress already tried this and the democrats shot it down in flames
 
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