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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.
 

Quirky

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I’m not sure that “getting your ass handed to you by a country you tried to invade” is better than Canada right now.
In all fairness Ukraine wouldn’t last a few weeks without international help. Russia isn’t just fighting one country. That’s for the other tread though.
 

Kirkhill

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In all fairness Ukraine wouldn’t last a few weeks without international help. Russia isn’t just fighting one country. That’s for the other tread though.
The Yanks wouldn't have lasted without French help.
 

WestIsle

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Retired AF Guy

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Is there any interesting points here or was it largely a regurgitation of LPC talking points and gas lighting the state of the CAF?
The only thing that caught my attention is towards the end of the interview Mansbridge asks Anand about more spending and she said something to the effect that it depends if Canadians are okay with it. And we all know how the average Canadian thinks about defense spending.
 
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FJAG

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The only thing that caught my attention is towards the end of the interview Mansbridge asks Anand about more spending and she said something to the effect that it depends if Canadians are okay with it. And we all know how the average Canadian thinks about defense spending.
Well that's no different then its been since 1867. - But then she says "culture change" is at the top of our agenda". Back in 1867 at least defence of Canada was at the top of the agenda. At that point I started skimming it. At least Peter touched procurement when she segued to fighter jets. That was a laugh. She talked like it wasn't JT who screwed the whole thing up in the first place.

🍻
 

OldSolduer

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The only thing that caught my attention is towards the end of the interview Mansbridge asks Anand about more spending and she said something to the effect that it depends if Canadians are okay with it. And we all know how the average Canadian thinks about defense spending.
The solution is simple - strip all heavy weapons and ships and fighters from the CAF inventory and make everyone a blue beret peacekeeper. That will make the idiot chattering class happy - and the Liberal "elite" happy. Honestly I wonder where their heads are some days. Don't answer that - its a rhetorical question.
 

rmc_wannabe

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They have used the whole "its up to the Canadian people" as a cover for everything from Green Shift, Electoral Reform, Foreign Policy, and yes...National Defence.

News flash... you were elected to actually make decisions, set policy, and actually do something outside of "convening."
 

Halifax Tar

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From a couple days ago; Peter Mansbridge interviews Defence Minister Anita Anand:


The PC started out with 10 min of Mansbridge talking about himself. And then he threw softballs at the DM and wasn't able actually pull answers from her.

That was 40 mins of my life I won't get back.

Has to be one of those most self aggrandizing podcasters I've ever listened too. Won't be listening again.
 

Weinie

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The PC started out with 10 min of Mansbridge talking about himself. And then he threw softballs at the DM and wasn't able actually pull answers from her.

That was 40 mins of my life I won't get back.

Has to be one of those most self aggrandizing podcasters I've ever listened too. Won't be listening again.
Peter has always loved Peter.
 

CBH99

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I watched that last night and thought 'better pack your bags Wayne, the Liberal machine will be displeased'. ;)
Even the Libtards must realize they’ve taken overt & public legal action against some, and were the ‘anonymous sources’ of sexual misconduct allegations against the rest that who is left to select is a pretty small pool.

If they did tell Wayne to take a hike, who else is really going to want the job?

Being CDS is absolutely a position to aspire to, most of the time… but who wants a job where the people above you are the ones you have to worry about?
 

GK .Dundas

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Or it may well the Government may testing the waters so to speak .
Senior officers in this day and age do offer up anything that would be in opposition to Government policy. That goes doubly or more for the CDS.
Defence policy is completely alien to Canadian politicians of all stripes and even more so for the Prime Minister's faction of Liberal party. They are very unsure of their footing and very nervous and cautious to a fault.
 
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