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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.
 

Good2Golf

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We have started. More importantly we have started to discuss the ramifications of failure to abide by the requests (demands) to NORAD and NATO support.

I don't think they would ever publicly call us out on anything.

I just see the U.S. hitting us where it will hurt us the most: technology and trade.

I think the only way the U.S. will make us actually do something about defense is to make everything else hinge on pulling our weight within NORAD and NATO.

Yup, any public call out will be a polite jab that it at least an order of magnitude less than what’s going on behind the scenes. 🔨
 

Kirkhill

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Far more than that, Kirkhill. Mostly focused at the moment on investing in things that put money into the US industrial defense structure…
Gotcha.

So they want cash for aircraft, missiles and radars.

But is that new?

They wanted cash for Sabres, Bomarcs, F5s, F104s, M113s, Hercs, Radars, M101s, F18s, even helmets.

I continue to believe that the Quid pro Quo was trade deals. In the era of Hellyer's M113s and Hercs it was the Autopact. In Mulroney's Era it was the Can US FTA for the arctic and the North Warning System.

Currently the Autopact is dead - there goes Southern Ontario. The oil industry is under threat - Venezuela and Saudi Arabia get better consideration. And the FTA, honoured in the breach more often than not.

They want cash. We need their business. We will buy their weapons. We get to keep doing business.

Oh, and we should forget about all that Trudeau Sr silliness about non-alignment and playing footsie with China. France and Germany are not our friends.

I think that Kevin isn't far off the mark with the 5 Eyes commentary. Canada and New Zealand have both been drifting into the Franco-German orbit.

And Ukraine has put the cat among the pigeons.

My sense of the situation is that the UK is taking advantage of the situation to generate a new alliance within the OECD/NATO/EU system. One that diverges from Carolingian Europe and restores Varangian Europe. And one that delivers customers to US defence industries.

BAE among them.

UK - Denmark - Iceland - Norway - Sweden - Finland - Estonia - Latvia - Lithuania - Poland - Ukraine - Slovakia - Czechia - Slovenia.

And perhaps a good portion of the fence-sitters in the Balkans.

The UK also maintains good relations with Turkey.

Another country that finds itself in the same position as Canada and New Zealand, torn between the 5 Eyes alliance and the Franco-German EU, is the Netherlands. It is a member of the UK led Joint Expeditionary Force, the Dutch-German Brigade and co-operates closely with the UK Royal Marines.

I agree that the effort is "mostly focused at the moment on investing in things that put money into the US industrial defense structure". But as you say, that is a matter of the moment.

I think long term alliances and trade are bigger things.

And I think we are being told to get business done or get off the pot.
 

Kirkhill

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Kirkhill, yes cash to some degree, but the greater value is committing to a long-term industrial reparté.

Agree - Long term commitment, and a demonstration of intent to pay membership dues. (And be an upstanding, supportive, member of the community).
 

Underway

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US won't do anything but proceed without us as a partner. They may bitch a little but they don't link issues (aka trade + defence) usually despite what many may think as that has a tendency to spiral. Linking issues in foreign policy is rarely in anyone's favour. It's like arguing with a family member who then brings up historical grievances that are completely not related to the issue you are discussing. You end up getting nowhere because instead of talking about NORAD you end up arguing about trade, softwood lumber, water issues, immigration, law enforcement, fisheries instead.

The US proceeding without us as a partner is enough of a stick/carrot on its own. I'm confident NORAD will be modernized can Canada will be involved.
 

Underway

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@Underway Canada will be a partner, the question is how much duress has to be applied.
Honestly right now I don't see too much anymore. The Defence Minister has in multiple speeches now referred to modernizing NORAD, including at CANSEC. I think that we'll see funding to do that. I expect that there are a number of backroom meetings going on right now with regards to how to best go about it.

For other spending that isn't NORAD related, its probably back to pulling teeth .
 

dapaterson

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Remember that any announcement is preceded by months of staff work to identify, estimate costs, and explain to central agencies and cabinet what options are and what should be done.
 

KevinB

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Remember that any announcement is preceded by months of staff work to identify, estimate costs, and explain to central agencies and cabinet what options are and what should be done.
Or a scramble after a short face to face explaining what needs to be done ;)
 

Kirkhill

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Honestly right now I don't see too much anymore. The Defence Minister has in multiple speeches now referred to modernizing NORAD, including at CANSEC. I think that we'll see funding to do that. I expect that there are a number of backroom meetings going on right now with regards to how to best go about it.

For other spending that isn't NORAD related, its probably back to pulling teeth .

Are we talking about NORAD?

Or NORTHCOM?


Problem Statement​

Over the last three decades, our nations’ competitors and potential adversaries have watched Canada and the United States and our way of deterring, competing, and conducting war. They have adapted and developed advanced capabilities in all domains challenging us at home and across the competition continuum, and holding at risk our people, our critical infrastructure, and our power projection capabilities.

NORAD conducts aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning in the defense of North America. ----

USNORTHCOM defends our homeland - deters, detects, denies, and defeats threats to the United States, conducts security cooperation activities with allies and partners, and supports civil authorities.

Enduring Condition #1​

Homelands (Note the Plural) defended from threats and adversary influence countered.​

  • NORAD's and USNORTHCOM's primary missions are to defend the United States and Canada against aggression. To be successful, we continue to globally integrate our defense with supporting CCMDs, CJOC, allies, and mission partners across all domains throughout competition and into crisis. A central aspect of our capable defense is a ready, credible deterrence to dissuade adversaries from threatening North America. NORAD's and USNORTHCOM's combined deterrence posture is part of a globally integrated approach, incorporating deterrence by denial at home, deterrence by punishment coordinated with our partners, and strategic application of all instruments of multi-national power through our governments.

Compete and deter aggression.​

  • Our primary role in the globally integrated layered defense is deterrence by denial. Our competitors know that we are always prepared to defend our nations. The central effect in our deterrence by denial strategy is to make our potential adversaries understand that the advancing capabilities of the United States and Canada will deny their ability to achieve their objectives.

If deterrence fails, detect, then deny and defeat threats.​

  • We must defend our nations should deterrence fail and our adversaries attack. Our surest path is through a globally integrated and resilient all-domain awareness infrastructure that is processed, synchronized, and presented to create information dominance, resulting in decision superiority over adversaries. Embracing these strategic principles requires a fundamental change of culture for NORAD and USNORTHCOM and our mission partners.

Enhance National resiliency.​

  • Equally as important as defeating threats is the hardening of critical infrastructure and promoting domestic resilience in order to mitigate the consequences of attacks, both kinetic and non-kinetic. Our demonstrated ability to respond to diverse attacks with a whole-of-government response is a strong deterrent to our adversaries. Protecting our nations is a prerequisite to projecting power abroad.

There is much more at the link.

This is no longer just about monitoring the skies for incoming ICBMs and ancient bombers. All Domain. And I have a feeling the 11th Airborne Division, and Arctic Patrol ships pay key roles.
 

FJAG

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Are we talking about NORAD?

Or NORTHCOM?
As stated above, they are separate, but the commander of USNORTHCOM is the same person (General VanHerck) as the commander of NORAD and the two commands share a headquarters at Peterson Space Force Base near Colorado Springs.

🍻
 

rmc_wannabe

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We’re not part of NORTHCOM, just NORAD.
Regardless of if we're part of it or not, I think the Americans know how little they can depend on Canada to do SFA outside a token commitment to NORAD in defense of our own territory. The language they use above is indicative of that belief.

If we want more of a say in our own defense, we need to be able to demonstrate that independence by ponying up when the time comes.
 

Good2Golf

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We’re not part of NORTHCOM, just NORAD.
And Burkino Faso isn’t PART of AFRICOM, but it is in AFRICOM’s AOR.

For your NORTHCOM non-analogy, we have LOs in NORTHCOM, so at least technically there are some CAF members seconded to NORTHCOM, and thus, some of Canada is “part of” NORTHCOM.
 

Kirkhill

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We’re not part of NORTHCOM, just NORAD.

My perception is that while we may just be a part of NORAD, and the NORAD commander has a duty to the PM of Canada, the NORAD commander is also the USNORTHCOM commander.

The USNORTHCOM commander is an American charged with defending America by Commander-in-Chief of the Americans. He is a Joint commander.

United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM)[7] is one of eleven unified combatant commands of the United States Department of Defense. The command is tasked with providing military support for non-military authorities in the U.S., and protecting the territory and national interests of the United States within the continental United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, The Bahamas, and the air, land and sea approaches to these areas. It is the U.S. military command which, if applicable, would be the primary defender against an invasion of the U.S.

From my perspective NORAD is one tool available to the commander to accomplish his primary mission - the defence of the American Homeland.

He has his marching orders from the POTUS. He has clearly stated them in public. He has invited Canada to get on board under the terms stated.

An additional 50 million a year is not going to meet his objectives. That is half an F35. He is looking for something like a 0.5% of GDP commitment to the defence of North America. If we are at 21 BCAD now to achieve 1.5% of GDP he is looking at something closer to an increase of 7 BCAD, or 5 BUSD, as an ongoing annual commitment to the mutual defence of North America.

Otherwise I could anticipate a 5-10 BUSD tariff to magically appear on Canadian milk, gas, grain and lumber.
 

rmc_wannabe

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An additional 50 million a year is not going to meet his objectives. That is half an F35. He is looking for something like a 0.5% of GDP commitment to the defence of North America. If we are at 21 BCAD now to achieve 1.5% of GDP he is looking at something closer to an increase of 7 BCAD, or 5 BUSD, as an ongoing annual commitment to the mutual defence of North America.

Otherwise I could anticipate a 5-10 BUSD tariff to magically appear on Canadian milk, gas, grain and lumber.
Or conversely, increasing the cost on anything and everything crossing the border Northward.

Like I said, we can pay to be our own masters within defense, or we can pay the U.S. to do it for us (one way or another); there's no free lunch.
 

Spencer100

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My perception is that while we may just be a part of NORAD, and the NORAD commander has a duty to the PM of Canada, the NORAD commander is also the USNORTHCOM commander.

The USNORTHCOM commander is an American charged with defending America by Commander-in-Chief of the Americans. He is a Joint commander.



From my perspective NORAD is one tool available to the commander to accomplish his primary mission - the defence of the American Homeland.

He has his marching orders from the POTUS. He has clearly stated them in public. He has invited Canada to get on board under the terms stated.

An additional 50 million a year is not going to meet his objectives. That is half an F35. He is looking for something like a 0.5% of GDP commitment to the defence of North America. If we are at 21 BCAD now to achieve 1.5% of GDP he is looking at something closer to an increase of 7 BCAD, or 5 BUSD, as an ongoing annual commitment to the mutual defence of North America.

Otherwise I could anticipate a 5-10 BUSD tariff to magically appear on Canadian milk, gas, grain and lumber.
Most Canadians would gladly have businesses have to pay more in US tariffs. It won't directly affect them and most importantly it can all be blamed on the "evil" Americans. Do not underestimate the power of Canadians to feel smug. Canadian's smug and "better" than Americans feelings is probably the largest national ethos we have as a country. The Liberals have built their party around it.
 
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