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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.
 

DBNSG

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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
I would agree that Politicians are well Politicians but Harper did leave the Forces capabilities in better shape than any Liberal ever has since at least St Laurent.
The Leopards, TAPV's, LAV 6's, Mack Trucks and Navistar trucks were all under Harpers government. He also added 25 M-777 guns to Martins purchase. Then the RCAF additions of 15 Chinooks, the final Cyclone contract, C- 17's and of course the Hercs.,

The present Trudeau just does not have anything resembling the few items I have listed.
 

The Bread Guy

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Before we can figure out what the military needs, there has to be a clear, everyone-on-board vision on what it's supposed to do.

Anyone have a decent summary of any recent government that's come up with such a thing?

And how many such documents have been generated only to become dust collectors when the "new & improved" team comes in?

Yeah, weak DefMins play a role, but usually as part of an overall weak process of defining Canada's goals in a clear, concise and agreed-to way.
 

FSTO

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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.
Dief had some military experience as well. But it was Louis St Laurent who led a government that had both a coherent and useful foreign and defence policy (although they let the RCAF run wild with the Arrow) which suited our place in the world order at the time. The 60's was the transition to fairy dust land. Rising costs of military equipment coupled with a desire to have a world class social safety net begat the likes of Hellyer and Trudeau (Pere) who promised everything and delivered nothing (defence) or increasingly unsustainable (our social safety net). Everyone since has been found wanting and the quality of political leadership is being ever more and more diluted.
 

FSTO

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Before we can figure out what the military needs, there has to be a clear, everyone-on-board vision on what it's supposed to do.

Anyone have a decent summary of any recent government that's come up with such a thing?

And how many such documents have been generated only to become dust collectors when the "new & improved" team comes in?

Yeah, weak DefMins play a role, but usually as part of an overall weak process of defining Canada's goals in a clear, concise and agreed-to way.
Canadian Prime Ministers and their governments have been able to maintain their saltwater real world 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 military 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 territories and national interests. 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 Canada.
 

FSTO

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Anyone worried that the ongoing water crisis in the US SW will have very powerful people in the US casting envious eyes towards all that fresh water being "wasted" going into Hudson's Bay and the Beaufort Sea? Plus the draining of the Ogallala Aquifer is another concern as well.

Is anyone at Minister Joly's office thinking of this?


Of course not, they are too busy being keyboard toughies to the Russians. We are fubard!
 

GK .Dundas

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Anyone worried that the ongoing water crisis in the US SW will have very powerful people in the US casting envious eyes towards all that fresh water being "wasted" going into Hudson's Bay and the Beaufort Sea? Plus the draining of the Ogallala Aquifer is another concern as well.

Is anyone at Minister Joly's office thinking of this?


Of course not, they are too busy being keyboard toughies to the Russians. We are fubard!
I suspect that the Minister's office assumes that the Americans will protect us from any aggressor up to and including themselves.
Canadian political logic ....
 

ueo

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Anyone worried that the ongoing water crisis in the US SW will have very powerful people in the US casting envious eyes towards all that fresh water being "wasted" going into Hudson's Bay and the Beaufort Sea? Plus the draining of the Ogallala Aquifer is another concern as well.

Is anyone at Minister Joly's office thinking of this?


Of course not, they are too busy being keyboard toughies to the Russians. We are fubard!
Is anyone in her office thinking?
 

McG

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Not true. The last CPC did more for the CAF than any other in my many decades here.
They did what they had to do to get us through Kandahar (and that spending trend actually started under Martin) and, as soon as they announced CAF was leaving the province, they dialed CAF right back to the level of investment as where they had inherited it. Don’t give too much credit there.
9D35753D-EB17-4447-A151-B7834F37B18D.jpeg
 

dapaterson

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Keep in mind also that delivery date is a poor metric. The MSVS project, fir example, delivered over more than a decade, with planning and procurement beginning well before that.
 

McG

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It was under a Liberal government that the first contracts were signed for M777 and RG-31 that arrived for the first mechanized Canadian battlegroup to go into Kandahar.
 

FJAG

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It was under a Liberal government that the first contracts were signed for M777 and RG-31 that arrived for the first mechanized Canadian battlegroup to go into Kandahar.
While correct vis a vis the M777, do not forget that it was under the Liberal government that the main artillery capability (the M109) was shelved and planned for divestment without there being any plan or funding in place for its replacement. Essentially under the Liberals the Army's plan was to leave its indirect fire support capability in the form of 81mm mortars and LG1 and C3 105mm howitzers. The M777 was acquired in very limited numbers pursuant to an Unforecasted Operational Requirement - essentially Canada had no plan and was pushed into it by circumstances of committing it's troops to a potential combat situation. This is not the way to run an Army regardless of political party.

🍻
 

FJAG

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Anyone worried that the ongoing water crisis in the US SW will have very powerful people in the US casting envious eyes towards all that fresh water being "wasted" going into Hudson's Bay and the Beaufort Sea? Plus the draining of the Ogallala Aquifer is another concern as well.

Is anyone at Minister Joly's office thinking of this?


Of course not, they are too busy being keyboard toughies to the Russians. We are fubard!
One doesn't even need to look at it from a threat point of view. It should be looked at as an economic opportunity. Some of our northern water resources are not only viable sources of long-term cheap and ecologically sound hydro electric energy but also a supply of fresh water that is largely going to waste. 2,300 years ago the Romans spanned much of Europe (same, same the Incas) with basic aqueduct systems to supply cities and farms. Where is our initiative?

🤷‍♂️
 

rmc_wannabe

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The problem has and always been the fraudulent belief we can ramp up our capabilities at the drop of a hat, or failing that, someone else (Brits or Americans) will come to save the day.

Ofcourse when push comes to shove, if we don't have the capabilities; or more importantly, the will to defend our territory, we will be subjugated either implicitly or subliminally by the 8nvading force or those who spilt the blood and treasure we chose not to.

I personally would rather defend the country on our own than wait for someone else (friend or foe) to set the terms
 

FSTO

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One doesn't even need to look at it from a threat point of view. It should be looked at as an economic opportunity. Some of our northern water resources are not only viable sources of long-term cheap and ecologically sound hydro electric energy but also a supply of fresh water that is largely going to waste. 2,300 years ago the Romans spanned much of Europe (same, same the Incas) with basic aqueduct systems to supply cities and farms. Where is our initiative?

🤷‍♂️
Hmmm, why should we encourage the living in unsustainable in inhospitable regions. The ability to move water and introduction of A/C to the desert allowed the cities of Vegas, Phoenix, and LA to flourish. Why should we reward bad behavior by draining rivers and aquafers?

It's this sort of thinking that got us in this pickle in the first place.
 

Czech_pivo

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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.

Anyone worried that the ongoing water crisis in the US SW will have very powerful people in the US casting envious eyes towards all that fresh water being "wasted" going into Hudson's Bay and the Beaufort Sea? Plus the draining of the Ogallala Aquifer is another concern as well.

Is anyone at Minister Joly's office thinking of this?


Of course not, they are too busy being keyboard toughies to the Russians. We are fubard!
I can guarantee you that no one in her office or pretty much any other Federal Office is thinking of this. Only those on the IJC will be thinking of this and there are no 'heavy hitters' on the IJC today.
 
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