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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.
 

CBH99

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Remember that we don't plan , we react. This has been a Canadian military tradition since the first boat crossed the Niagara in 1812.

Most of our "new kit" from the Afghan War was bought in a panic because we were underequipped for the job being asked. We almost ran our of ammunition in 2006 because we grossly underestimated both what a combat load is and also how many rounds are used in a fire fight.

The second we have a ramp ceremony in the next conflict is the second we see the purse strings loosen; a day late and a dollar short.

As is tradition.
As someone who deployed in 2006, I’ll just say this - General Fraser was NOT the right guy for the job.

He’d genuinely have been better employed a few ranks lower, where he could still heavily influence policy for the Task Force Commander.

But he should not have been the TFC, in my humble opinion. The ammo issues experienced at the beginning of Medusa was just sheer incompetence on his behalf.

Regardless of his personal decisions in his own affairs, Gen. Vance was a much better boss sort of speak.



The CAF is absolutely a reactive organization. No doubt about it.

On the one hand, ideally, we’d be equipped to be able to deploy quickly, smash some bad guys, and sustain ourselves sufficiently in an allied environment where other countries are doing the same.

On the other, preparing for future conflicts is inherently risky, as you may be preparing for the wrong type of operations. Having well trained, general purpose forces helps one to mitigate those risks. (

(We had just finished designing a new combat uniform & associated kit for operations in low threat environments like Bosnia & Kosovo when all of a sudden we found ourselves conducting offensive operations in the Afghan desert. Wait, wtf?)



Sometimes I feel like our attitude of “Let’s first see what kicks off and where, and against who…then go buy a bunch of stuff we need for that specific theatre!” isn’t just an attitude, it’s an unofficial policy
 

Fabius

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All while trumpeting the mantra of readiness that the General officers have favoured for the last 5 or so years, yet failed to define outside of do your DAG and have a family care plan.
 

FSTO

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Obviously.

I was merely stating the risk of casualties isn't even enough of a political incentive to properly equip or maintain readiness within the CAF. It's only when casualties happen and voters get upset that we see a proper response on Defense and Foreign policy matters.
This is focused on the maritime interests of Canada, but can be expanded to everything defence related in this country.

Canadian Prime Ministers and their governments have been able to maintain their saltwater blindness because they are secure in the knowledge that the Americans will ultimately do what is necessary for the protection of North America. The knowledge that the Americans have had the world's most sophisticated and powerful submarine forces since the end of the Second World War has protected Canadian leaders from having to make serious decisions about the protection of Canada's undersea maritime regions. 2 This willful neglect is further facilitated by the lack of any meaningful political constituency within Canada that would compel Canadian political leaders to understand the need for the protection of Canada's maritime regions.

 

ueo

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Obviously.

I was merely stating the risk of casualties isn't even enough of a political incentive to properly equip or maintain readiness within the CAF. It's only when casualties happen and voters get upset that we see a proper response on Defense and Foreign policy matters.
Verrrry true that!
 

OldSolduer

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Obviously.

I was merely stating the risk of casualties isn't even enough of a political incentive to properly equip or maintain readiness within the CAF. It's only when casualties happen and voters get upset that we see a proper response on Defense and Foreign policy matters.
I might have to sit back and not participate in this conversation for a while. In my mind the GoC treats the CAF as the unwanted illegitimate child who serves no real purpose and eats the food others could have. But when there’s danger the illegitimate one gets the task to sort it out.

I’m angry 😡 please forgive me
 

OldSolduer

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I might have to sit back and not participate in this conversation for a while. In my mind the GoC treats the CAF as the unwanted illegitimate child who serves no real purpose and eats the food others could have. But when there’s danger the illegitimate one gets the task to sort it out.

I’m angry 😡 please forgive me
The illegitimate child being Jon Snow. Yes I know I know - having the right to STFU I have not the ability 🤦‍♂️
 

Czech_pivo

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Her incompetence has been on full display since elevated to the “C” Team of cabinet a few years ago. Warren Kinsella has been talking about her incompetence well before her elevation to the “A” Team. She must have something on someone!
Maybe its a certain skill set that she possessions that is in high demand?
 

Spencer100

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This is what happens when the left put in diversity, gender and race requirements on job applications.

CAF has prioritized recruiting in these three areas to great failure.
hmmm its like it was the plan along.
 

rmc_wannabe

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It’s a wash. Both federal parties have done nothing in the long run. I no longer vote based on military policies.
Absolute truth.

We are a civilian led military, as we should be in a democratic country. It just sucks that the civilians leading it have zero understanding nor desire to gain understanding on military or foreign policy matters.

Our politicians are happy to spend money on things that get them elected and our populace is more than happy to shove their heads in the sand when things get bleak.

Alas.... Vigilamus Pro Te.... emphasis on "Pro Te"
 

Spencer100

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It’s a wash. Both federal parties have done nothing in the long run. I no longer vote based on military policies.
Not true. The last CPC did more for the CAF than any other in my many decades here. Did they do enough no. But better than anyone else. I hate the they are all the same line. It's just used down grade conservatives. False equivalent.
 

OldSolduer

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It just sucks that the civilians leading it have zero understanding nor desire to gain understanding on military or foreign policy matters.

Our politicians are happy to spend money on things that get them elected and our populace is more than happy to shove their heads in the sand when things get bleak.
This.

When I was a youngster at least Lester B Pearson - the PM at the time - at one time was in the military - in WWI as medical orderly then joined the Royal Flying Corps. As far as I can tell very few other politicians in Canada had military or defense experience.

As to your second statement I think you hit the nail on the head.
 

Remius

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Not true. The last CPC did more for the CAF than any other in my many decades here. Did they do enough no. But better than anyone else. I hate the they are all the same line. It's just used down grade conservatives. False equivalent.
Not really. They made empty promises just like all of them do every time. Paul Martin also did a lot to get the ball rolling. Both parties failed us.

I fell for it once with Harper. Like I said I don’t vote based on military policies that either party promises.

It leads to disappointment
 
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