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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.
 

Jarnhamar

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1 RCR is finding creative ways to make due with budget cuts and gas prices.

conveniance-store-robbery.jpg
 

MarkOttawa

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No new funding for first six years covered by earlier announcement:

Fact sheet: Funding for Continental Defence and NORAD Modernization​

Introduction​


In June 2022, the Minister of National Defence announced funding for Canada's continental defence capabilities, including to modernize the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD). This represents the most significant upgrade to Canada's NORAD capabilities in almost four decades.


NORAD modernization is a long term project and these funds will support NORAD and the Canadian Armed Forces' ability to protect Canadians against new and emerging military threats to Canada and North America more broadly. In so doing, they will also help support the Canadian Armed Forces' engagement abroad, while reinforcing NATO's Western flank at a time when autocratic regimes are threatening the rules-based international order.


The minister announced $4.9B on a cash basis for the first six years, and $38.6B over twenty years on an accrual basis.


  • The incremental funding for the first six years of NORAD modernization comes from existing, previously announced funding. Planning for NORAD modernization has been underway for several years, and the Government of Canada previously announced funding for elements of continental defence and NORAD modernization in Budget 2022, as well as defence funding in Fall Economic Statement 2020.
  • The most recent NORAD modernization announcement provides new funding beginning after year six (in year seven).

Specific investments will include, among other initiatives, new radar stations, command and control upgrades, additional air-to-air refueling aircraft, advanced air-to-air missiles for fighter jets, upgrades to Canadian Armed Forces’ infrastructure in the North, and additional funding to complete and augment key space projects.


The funding for continental defence and NORAD modernization is broken down into five inter-related areas of investment, detailed below.


In Detail: New Investments in Continental Defence and NORAD Modernization​


This $38.6 billion on an accrual basis of funding for continental defence and NORAD modernization is broken down into five inter-related areas of investment:


  1. Bolstering our ability to detect threats earlier and more precisely by modernizing our surveillance systems.
  2. Improving our ability to understand and communicate threats to decision-makers in a timely manner through investments in modern technology.
  3. Strengthening our ability to deter and defeat aerospace threats by modernizing our air weapons systems.
  4. Ensuring the Canadian Armed Forces can sustain a strong military presence across the country, including in Canada’s North, through investments in new infrastructure and support capabilities.
  5. Future-proofing our capabilities to defend North America through investments in science and technology.

Areas of investmentInvestments
1. Bolstering our ability to detect threats earlier and more precisely by modernizing our surveillance systems.
$6.96B from fiscal year 22/23 – 41/42
  • We will establish a new Northern Approaches Surveillance system to significantly expand NORAD and Canadian Armed Forces situational awareness of objects entering Canadian airspace from the North. This will represent a dramatic improvement over Canada’s existing 30-year old North Warning System, which was not designed to detect modern weapons and delivery systems, such as long-range cruise and hypersonic missiles.
  • It will include:
    • An Arctic Over-the-Horizon Radar system to provide early warning radar coverage and threat tracking from the Canada-United States border to the Arctic circle;
    • A Polar Over-the-Horizon Radar system to provide early warning radar coverage over and beyond the northernmost approaches to North America, including the Canadian Arctic archipelago; and
    • National Defence will also work with the United States to develop a complementary network of sensors with classified capabilities, distributed across Northern Canada, as another layer of detection.
  • We will also strengthen the Canadian Armed Forces’ space-based surveillance abilities, including of Canadian territory and maritime approaches, by investing additional funds to complete and augment the new state-of-the-art, space-based surveillance project announced in Canada’s 2017 defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE).
2. Improving our ability to understand and communicate threats to decision-makers in a timely manner through investments in modern technology.
$4.13B from fiscal year 22/23 – 41/42
  • We will modernize key Canadian Armed Forces’ command, control and communications capabilities and systems.
  • We will modernize the Canadian Combined Air Operations Centre.
  • We will renew the Canadian Armed Forces’ high and low-frequency radio capability.
  • We will enhance satellite communications in the Arctic through additional funding to complete and augment the polar communications project announced in SSE.
  • We will procure and install new digital radios and network equipment.
  • We will also work with the United States to expand support for the NORAD Pathfinder initiative. This project will take advantage of cloud-based computing and machine learning to ensure that NORAD commanders can make informed, rapid decisions. We will also advance work on a new Positioning, Navigation, and Timing capability to assist with air navigation in remote areas.
3. Strengthening our ability to deter and defeat aerospace threats by modernizing our air weapons systems.
$6.38B from fiscal year 22/23 – 41/42
  • We will procure new, advanced air-to-air missiles with the capability to engage threats from short, medium and long-ranges.
4. Ensuring our Canadian Armed Forces can launch and sustain a strong military presence across the country, including in Canada’s North, through investments in new infrastructure and support capabilities.
$15.68B from fiscal year 22/23 – 41/42
  • We will acquire additional air-to-air refueling aircraft.
  • We will upgrade Canadian Armed Forces’ infrastructure at four locations in Canada’s North.
  • We will upgrade fighter infrastructure and NORAD Quick Reaction Alert capabilities at bases across Canada.
  • We will modernize the Canadian Armed Forces’ air operational training infrastructure.
5. Future-proofing our capabilities to defend North America through investments in science and technology.
$4.23B from fiscal year 22/23 – 41/42
  • We will fund Defence Research and Development Canada to create a science and technology program that will assess new and emerging threats, accessing and co-developing technological solutions with the United States.

The $38.6 billion investment also includes $1.18 billion for internal services.


Note: Figures may not add due to rounding.


Definitions​

Accrual basis of accounting Under the accrual basis of accounting, the cost of acquiring an asset is recorded when the asset is put into service and spread over its useful life, rather than being recorded at the time the bills are paid. The portion of DND's accrual budget records the forecasted depreciation expense of capital assets, like equipment and infrastructure. Cash basis of accounting Under the cash basis of accounting, payments related to capital assets and operational funding are recorded in the year during which payments are made. Each year, DND receives a cash appropriation from Parliament and these funds are used to cover salaries, operating and maintenance costs, grants and contributions, purchase of capital equipment, and the construction of real property infrastructure. The cash budget is approved through the Main Estimates and can be revised up to three times per year through Supplementary Estimates.

Mark
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suffolkowner

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rmc_wannabe

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Maybe we can get Russia to attack the French Islands in the St Lawrence, that might stir them in Ottawa. Or seize Haida Gwaii
Pfft there aren't enough votes in either of those places to justify a Polish like buying frenzy. They'd probably be Bloc or NDP voters anyway.

We'd need the Russians invading Ahuntsic-Cartierville or University—Rosedale to see anyone in government turn their head to notice.

 

CBH99

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Anyone surprised?
Not surprised at all... It's funny how even the prof at the end suggests it might just be optics, with no intention of fulfilling the pledge.

But on the other hand...

a) that pledge was made when JT wanted a seat at the Security Council.

Since dad has now come and gone, I can't imagine his motivation to provide said force will be very high.


b) Send them where? To Mali? South Sudan? Haiti?

A QRF is only quick if it's nearby, aware you are operating in an area, and are prepped to deploy & equipped to give the bad guys a black eye & help keep things secure.

If the UN really wanted it, they would say "We need a QRF here at location X, to rapidly deploy & assist UN forces doing Y."

______

This would actually be a great mission to task the reserve forces with.

Easy to prep for, not equipment heavy, not manpower intensive, fairly low risk, etc - that would help recruiting, make Canada look good, and be a doable/cool mission for the folks that are in right now.

But until the UN requests something specific, I don't see why we should proactively run after that pledge...
 
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