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Trudeau commits to $62.3 billion increase in military spending

The Trudeau government has announced it is committed to increasing military spending by $62.3 billion over the next 20 years. Over the next five years alone this would mean an increase of $6.6 billion in military spending.

CBC reports, “The Liberal government’s new defence policy lays out a plan to increase the defence budget by 70 per cent over the next decade… Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced details of the plan during a news conference Wednesday in Ottawa.”

Last month, Garneau claimed that the Canadian military – which has an annual budget of $18.9 billion – is “chronically under-funded”. The spending announced today by the Trudeau government would increase that to $32.7 billion by 2027.

The article highlights, “The Liberal government has been under pressure, notably from the Donald Trump administration, to increase defence spending to meet the NATO benchmark standard of 2 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).”

NATO has said Canada contributes .98 per cent of its GDP to military spending, but the Trudeau government says it spends 1.2 per cent of GDP and that this new spending will increase that to 1.4 per cent of GDP.

According to the CBC, the new spending includes:

  1. the construction of 15 advanced warships to eventually replace the current patrol frigates,
  2. the purchase of 88 new fighter jets to replace the current CF-18s — up from the 65 jets the former Conservative government had planned to buy,
  3. armed drones for surveillance and combat,
  4. replacing CP-140 Aurora surveillance aircraft and the CC-150 Polaris jets that serve as transports and refuellers,
  5. more cyber operators who will have the authorization — under government supervision — to conduct online disruption operations against potential threats,
  6. the refurbishment of the North Warning System under the umbrella of NORAD,
  7. modernizing the existing submarine fleet and sailing them until 2040, rather than buying new ones.

While Trump had called on Trudeau to do this, the U.S. president has also proposed a budget that would cut billions of dollars to social spending while at the same time increasing that country’s current $600 billion military budget by $54 billion.

The Transnational Institute has noted, “The U.S. Department of Defense consumed about 117 million barrels of oil in 2011 [and] modern-day military deployment is about controlling oil-rich regions and defending the key shipping supply routes that carry half the world’s oil and sustain our consumer economy.”

TNI concludes, “In 2014, global military expenditures reached $1.8 trillion dollars. This money is a huge diversion of public resources that could be invested instead in renewable energy as well as providing support for those most affected by climate change.”

Furthermore, Canada is the second biggest arms exporter to the Middle East and the sixth biggest seller of weapons and military equipment in the world.

Council of Canadians chairperson Leo Broderick has stated, “We believe the answer to the world’s difficulties and problems is not war but peaceful negotiations and diplomacy.” We call for a foreign policy that recognizes that peace will only be achieved through just relations, human rights and an understanding that war is not the answer.