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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.
 

Spencer100

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Agree here 100% and I think that any discussions about the future of our military need to take this into account.

It may not be a popular opinion here, but in my mind there are lots of players as big or bigger than Canada right in the Russian neighbourhood that can do much of the heavy lifting there while there is much more work that needs to be done in relation to the China situation.
At this point Russia is of little direct concern to Canada. Just to Canada's friends. We just just need to say we are with you and offer some support.

China is the current and future problem. And new White paper should focus there.
 

FJAG

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daftandbarmy

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Welcome to the club, Buddy....


Weapons makers say Ottawa is leaving them in the dark on its plans to aid Ukraine​


'No one in industry has a clue' about what the federal government has in mind, says industry spokesperson

The association representing Canada's defence contractors says it's going to take a lot more than talk to put the industry on a so-called "war footing."

In a bluntly-worded opinion piece published online Wednesday, Christyn Cianfarani, executive director of the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries, said that Canada — unlike its allies — has not put in place a framework to ramp up production to meet the demand triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Instead, Cianfarani wrote, the industry has heard "vague pleas" from the Liberal government "for companies to get with the program," without any clear sense of which items of equipment are needed and what the long-term expectations might be.

"Canadian defence companies can and would step up if they knew exactly what, and how much, to step up with," she wrote.

 

Spencer100

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Welcome to the club, Buddy....


Weapons makers say Ottawa is leaving them in the dark on its plans to aid Ukraine​


'No one in industry has a clue' about what the federal government has in mind, says industry spokesperson

The association representing Canada's defence contractors says it's going to take a lot more than talk to put the industry on a so-called "war footing."

In a bluntly-worded opinion piece published online Wednesday, Christyn Cianfarani, executive director of the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries, said that Canada — unlike its allies — has not put in place a framework to ramp up production to meet the demand triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Instead, Cianfarani wrote, the industry has heard "vague pleas" from the Liberal government "for companies to get with the program," without any clear sense of which items of equipment are needed and what the long-term expectations might be.

"Canadian defence companies can and would step up if they knew exactly what, and how much, to step up with," she wrote.

In all fairness neither does the government. Its just a do something after trudeau gets a meeting or phone call
 

Halifax Tar

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IMHO China's weakness is demographics:


It's in decline. Some have speculated they have about a decade left until their economy collapses.

Add in an already weakening economy:


This all may cause some erratic behavior from the government.

Excellent podcast on the subject if you're interested:

 
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Edward Campbell

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My money is on availability of fresh water in China over the next decade or two - that to me is the sleeping giant of possible 'casus belli' for conflict between the West (and its proxies) and China.
This is one of the reasons I worry a lot about Russia becoming a Chinese vassal state.

Many years ago (decades, actually) when I used to visit China on a fairly regular basis and had some contacts in both the government and the academy the issue of the Eastern and Central Siberian watersheds The Yenisei and Lena basins, especially) was on a lot of minds. There was chatter, then - 1990s and early 200s) about the desirability of "separating" Western, Central and Eastern Siberia from Russia and creating "independent" Asian states. Water is one of China's key weak areas.
 

Good2Golf

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IMHO China's weakness is demographics:

It's in decline. Some have speculated they have about a decade left until their economy collapses.
^this, and any other nation that has the younger categories of its population pyramid folding inside of its older groups…

Oldie (-ish) but a goodie. Updates show Russia’s not insignificant loss of mobilized males will further impact Russia for decades and China is still feeling the impact of the one child policy. Canada at least figured that it needs to do something to address the growing shift to more aged demographics, hence the 400,000-500,000 immigrants/year target (no doubt focused on the younger demographic groups).

 

Navy_Pete

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The minister doesn’t want to answer because the answer is “by some bureaucratic sorcery; we are in a position where for us to arm another nation is more streamline, efficient, and has fewer hoops to jump through.”
FMS (foreign military sales) buys are actually pretty easy, it's all the hoops that the CAF has to jump through leading up to doing the FMS buy that takes time.

Because it's not a buy for a CAF, not even sure if most of our processes even apply at all, so maybe was just a Cabinet level authorization for the dollar figure with DFAIT figuring out the delivery point.

Honestly love this, and hopefully whoever the team was that figured this one out gets recognized.

If we had bolted on our own buys on top of it would have just slowed it down, and because we aren't at war ourselves Ministerial/Cabinet discretion to bypass the normal obligations to ask for bids is pretty shaky (as that's all required under a lot of different international agreements, but also means Canadian companies have the ability to participate in bids for our allies procurements).
 

daftandbarmy

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Belly up to the public trough people.... while you can!

Note the 'restraint' shown by DND, though...

Jack Mintz: Federal employment growth is now out of hand​


Rate of jobs growth more than three times greater than in private sector

There were 336,000 federal government employees in 2022, up from 257,000 in 2015 — a 30.7 per cent increase.

We often talk about Canada’s poor productivity and low per capita income growth. What we don’t discuss is productivity in the public sector. The goal of governments may be to make our lives better but is a bigger public service really giving us a higher standard of living?​


Since 2015, the number of federal, provincial and local employees has grown by 18.5 per cent, twice as fast as in the private sector, where employment growth was 9.0 per cent. What is less appreciated is the over-the-top employment growth in federal departments and agencies. There were 336,000 federal government employees in 2022, up from 257,000 in 2015 — a 30.7 per cent increase.


That bigger-than-ever federal bureaucracy is costing Canadians a bundle. Federal employee compensation rose from $38 billion in 2015 to $58 billion in 2021 (the latest year for which data are available) — a whopping 52 per cent increase. Yet this growth has not led to a higher standard of living: Canada’s per capita economic growth has been among the weakest among OECD countries since 2015.
It doesn’t have to be this way. During the final seven years of the Harper government, 2009-2015, federal employment compensation grew by only seven per cent and employment actually fell. Though not stellar, Canada’s per capita income growth did at least outpace U.S. growth.

Productivity in government is hard to measure (and not just because it’s sometimes miniscule!). Because it’s hard to know how to value government services they’re often proxied by the money spent producing them. And that’s a problem. If you can’t measure outputs, you don’t know if you are doing better. Instead, you judge productivity by looking at specific measures such as the time taken to process tax files or applications of one kind or another.

With so many new federal workers since 2015, have Canadians gotten better service? Yes, during the pandemic the federal civil service doled out money at lightning speed, though without the usual care in making sure it was appropriately spent. That helped prevent a depression — which was definitely a valuable “output” — but can we say the same thing today now that the economy has recovered?

The government’s Phoenix payment system, introduced in 2015, is an awful mess, having generated many thousands of incorrect payments to federal employees and contractors. Immigrants can’t get into the country, given a backlog of 2.2 million cases that has only just begun to improve this past couple of months. We can’t deliver LNG to Europe because federal regulations have killed export opportunities.

Even the little things aren’t easily done. It recently took a friend six months to receive a passport even though Service Canada promises to deliver by mail within 20 days. Another friend applied for Old Age Security in September and is still waiting for the application to be reviewed. Luckily, no financial stress is involved — but it very well could have been. For several years now I have found it impossible to change a mailing address on Service Canada’s website.

Yet federal employment has been growing by leaps and bounds. Over 16,000 employees were added to the Canada Revenue Agency last year, accounting for almost half the increase in federal employment in 2022. Since 2015, CRA employment is up 37 per cent to 55,000. Will the agency make decisions faster? Getting a decision on a medium-complex objection takes on average 318 days according to the CRA. (It doesn’t say whether the decision is guaranteed to be correct.)

The federal government’s second largest department — Employment and Social Development Canada — now has 35,609 employees, two-thirds more than seven years ago. Though COVID measures wound down last year, the department added another 3,000 employees rather than figure out how to improve service without expanding its already bloated workforce.

Not all departments have grown as fast, if at all, as the rest of the federal civil service. National Defence is the third largest department with 26,400 civilian employees but has grown only half as fast as the rest of the civil service since 2015. And despite world tensions military employment actually fell by 23 employees. Employment also fell at Veterans Affairs last year, by 233 positions, a 6.5 per cent reduction in that department’s staffing.

 

Czech_pivo

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Belly up to the public trough people.... while you can!

Note the 'restraint' shown by DND, though...

Jack Mintz: Federal employment growth is now out of hand​


Rate of jobs growth more than three times greater than in private sector

There were 336,000 federal government employees in 2022, up from 257,000 in 2015 — a 30.7 per cent increase.

We often talk about Canada’s poor productivity and low per capita income growth. What we don’t discuss is productivity in the public sector. The goal of governments may be to make our lives better but is a bigger public service really giving us a higher standard of living?​


Since 2015, the number of federal, provincial and local employees has grown by 18.5 per cent, twice as fast as in the private sector, where employment growth was 9.0 per cent. What is less appreciated is the over-the-top employment growth in federal departments and agencies. There were 336,000 federal government employees in 2022, up from 257,000 in 2015 — a 30.7 per cent increase.


That bigger-than-ever federal bureaucracy is costing Canadians a bundle. Federal employee compensation rose from $38 billion in 2015 to $58 billion in 2021 (the latest year for which data are available) — a whopping 52 per cent increase. Yet this growth has not led to a higher standard of living: Canada’s per capita economic growth has been among the weakest among OECD countries since 2015.
It doesn’t have to be this way. During the final seven years of the Harper government, 2009-2015, federal employment compensation grew by only seven per cent and employment actually fell. Though not stellar, Canada’s per capita income growth did at least outpace U.S. growth.

Productivity in government is hard to measure (and not just because it’s sometimes miniscule!). Because it’s hard to know how to value government services they’re often proxied by the money spent producing them. And that’s a problem. If you can’t measure outputs, you don’t know if you are doing better. Instead, you judge productivity by looking at specific measures such as the time taken to process tax files or applications of one kind or another.

With so many new federal workers since 2015, have Canadians gotten better service? Yes, during the pandemic the federal civil service doled out money at lightning speed, though without the usual care in making sure it was appropriately spent. That helped prevent a depression — which was definitely a valuable “output” — but can we say the same thing today now that the economy has recovered?

The government’s Phoenix payment system, introduced in 2015, is an awful mess, having generated many thousands of incorrect payments to federal employees and contractors. Immigrants can’t get into the country, given a backlog of 2.2 million cases that has only just begun to improve this past couple of months. We can’t deliver LNG to Europe because federal regulations have killed export opportunities.

Even the little things aren’t easily done. It recently took a friend six months to receive a passport even though Service Canada promises to deliver by mail within 20 days. Another friend applied for Old Age Security in September and is still waiting for the application to be reviewed. Luckily, no financial stress is involved — but it very well could have been. For several years now I have found it impossible to change a mailing address on Service Canada’s website.

Yet federal employment has been growing by leaps and bounds. Over 16,000 employees were added to the Canada Revenue Agency last year, accounting for almost half the increase in federal employment in 2022. Since 2015, CRA employment is up 37 per cent to 55,000. Will the agency make decisions faster? Getting a decision on a medium-complex objection takes on average 318 days according to the CRA. (It doesn’t say whether the decision is guaranteed to be correct.)

The federal government’s second largest department — Employment and Social Development Canada — now has 35,609 employees, two-thirds more than seven years ago. Though COVID measures wound down last year, the department added another 3,000 employees rather than figure out how to improve service without expanding its already bloated workforce.

Not all departments have grown as fast, if at all, as the rest of the federal civil service. National Defence is the third largest department with 26,400 civilian employees but has grown only half as fast as the rest of the civil service since 2015. And despite world tensions military employment actually fell by 23 employees. Employment also fell at Veterans Affairs last year, by 233 positions, a 6.5 per cent reduction in that department’s staffing.

And yet we have to wait 80 days to renew a PR card. It takes 20 business days to renew a CDN passport.
 

Czech_pivo

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Sets us up to be like Greece, look what happened to their economy when 80% of workers were I'm the public service.
Debt to GDP ratio we are similar to Greece - in fact we are higher than Greece.

What is NOT being talked about right now is the amount of federal income tax revenue that went last year, pre substantial interest rate hikes, compared to what will have to go this year, next year and the next few going forwards, to cover just the interest on the debt. Much like all the chatter about the average CDN needing to cut back on expenditures in order to deal with large mortgage payment increases, our Federal Government will be in the EXACT same situation going forwards. Which in turn means, either large cuts to services/programmes will occur, a substantial income tax increase is coming to the 60% of Canadians who actually pay income taxes.

Roughly 7.10$ out of every 100$ in income tax goes to servicing the interest on the debt today. Its safe to say that this number will be north of 8$ per 100 in 2023 and more than likely higher yet in 2024.
 

Czech_pivo

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Debt to GDP ratio we are similar to Greece - in fact we are higher than Greece.

What is NOT being talked about right now is the amount of federal income tax revenue that went last year, pre substantial interest rate hikes, compared to what will have to go this year, next year and the next few going forwards, to cover just the interest on the debt. Much like all the chatter about the average CDN needing to cut back on expenditures in order to deal with large mortgage payment increases, our Federal Government will be in the EXACT same situation going forwards. Which in turn means, either large cuts to services/programmes will occur, a substantial income tax increase is coming to the 60% of Canadians who actually pay income taxes.

Roughly 7.10$ out of every 100$ in income tax goes to servicing the interest on the debt today. Its safe to say that this number will be north of 8$ per 100 in 2023 and more than likely higher yet in 2024.
FYI - along the same lines.

"the Bank of Canada dramatically expanded its assets as part of a government bond purchasing program. Also known as quantitative easing, the policy was part of the central bank's efforts to stimulate the economy.

That expansion in assets is now costing the central bank, as it paid for the government bonds with the creation of settlement balances.

With interest rates now elevated, the interest charges the central bank pays on these settlement balances has exceeded the interest it earns on the government bonds."

 

Spencer100

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FYI - along the same lines.

"the Bank of Canada dramatically expanded its assets as part of a government bond purchasing program. Also known as quantitative easing, the policy was part of the central bank's efforts to stimulate the economy.

That expansion in assets is now costing the central bank, as it paid for the government bonds with the creation of settlement balances.

With interest rates now elevated, the interest charges the central bank pays on these settlement balances has exceeded the interest it earns on the government bonds."

I have been screaming about that for years! For a decade (or more) we lived in fairyland. The piper will be paid. Part of it is the language they use (and its on propose I believe) QE no one gets it. If they would tell the truth its in the end just printing money. But they don't say that.
 

Eye In The Sky

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Debt to GDP ratio we are similar to Greece - in fact we are higher than Greece.

What is NOT being talked about right now is the amount of federal income tax revenue that went last year, pre substantial interest rate hikes, compared to what will have to go this year, next year and the next few going forwards, to cover just the interest on the debt. Much like all the chatter about the average CDN needing to cut back on expenditures in order to deal with large mortgage payment increases, our Federal Government will be in the EXACT same situation going forwards. Which in turn means, either large cuts to services/programmes will occur, a substantial income tax increase is coming to the 60% of Canadians who actually pay income taxes.

Roughly 7.10$ out of every 100$ in income tax goes to servicing the interest on the debt today. Its safe to say that this number will be north of 8$ per 100 in 2023 and more than likely higher yet in 2024.

Justin Trudeau Canada GIF
 

Kirkhill

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You know it was the side that lost WWII that though along those lines...

They imagined the next Wunderwaffe would be the one that gave them the upper hand over the masses of the Soviets and Western Allies.


Wunderwaffe or radar, rockets and jet engines?

A pinch of technology won't change your recipe. A fistful can.
 

Furniture

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Wunderwaffe or radar, rockets and jet engines?

A pinch of technology won't change your recipe. A fistful can.
My point was that autonomous systems are not the war winner, just like radar, rockets and jet engines weren't. There will be a roll for autonomous systems, but they aren't a panacea for our equipment and staffing issues.
 

Kirkhill

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My point was that autonomous systems are not the war winner, just like radar, rockets and jet engines weren't. There will be a roll for autonomous systems, but they aren't a panacea for our equipment and staffing issues.

I agree. There are no panaceas. But my sense is that change happens incrementally. Every plant I have walked into over the years has had better technology than the last - manning and education requirements have constantly changed. And we have to take note of those changes and take advantage of what we can.

And education requirements haven't always gone up on the shop floor. Jobs that used to be held by guildsmen in Europe are now being performed by "watchkeepers" operating in second and third languages.
 
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