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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.
 

OldSolduer

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Russia could have rolled any other Army in Europe - and if they followed their standard Russian doctrine with fires from the start would probably be in Lviv now.
Possibly if they had followed Soviet doctrine. Overwhelming artillery - the norm was 1 gun per metre of frontage on the main effort. I don't know if that was achievable but even 25% of that would have been down right uncomfortable.
 

lenaitch

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Firefighters are like the untouchable heroes of emergency services.

Police? Nobody wants the police around until something horrible happens, then the police can't get there fast enough.

(I personally love having the police around as a presence, It tells would be shitheads to go ply their craft somewhere else.)

EMS? It felt like we were the red headed stepchildren of the 3 services. People appreciated us, but not anywhere close to how much they loved the firefighters!


( I kept suggesting we should do a sexy calendar also, to boost our rep. I was blatantly told no, our job was to help people, not give them PTSD...)
You gotta start rescuing kittens from trees!

I understand what you are saying but I've never understood why that is. Cops piss off a percentage of the population, but fire and EMS generally only make people happy.

The calendar couldn't hurt. Charity organizations affiliated with my former Service do one of their dogs and it is a major fundraiser. Not sexy mind you (well, it might be for some people).
 

mariomike

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The calendar couldn't hurt. Charity organizations affiliated with my former Service do one of their dogs and it is a major fundraiser. Not sexy mind you (well, it might be for some people).

Our Fire dept. put out their beefcake calender.
Our people wanted to put out a cheesecake calender. HR said no.

So they picked the best looking six guys, and six girls , from a recruit class, and put out their calender. I think they let them undo one button on their shirt collar. But , that was all. :)
 

FSTO

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So for shits and giggles yesterday I tried to go see the local recruiting det in Regina. They are located in a GoC building in the downtown. The building houses passport Canada and a few other social services. I could see the CAF dressed mannequins in the little recruiting office but I could not get in because each door to get into the building are plastered with do not enter signs, go to other door signs, covid restrictions signs. It was just after 5 so the doors were locked, a gentleman was coming out so I asked when the doors get locked and he told me 4pm.

I again question why the Recruiting Det is inside an office building downtown that is only opened from 10 til 4.
 

MilEME09

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So for shits and giggles yesterday I tried to go see the local recruiting det in Regina. They are located in a GoC building in the downtown. The building houses passport Canada and a few other social services. I could see the CAF dressed mannequins in the little recruiting office but I could not get in because each door to get into the building are plastered with do not enter signs, go to other door signs, covid restrictions signs. It was just after 5 so the doors were locked, a gentleman was coming out so I asked when the doors get locked and he told me 4pm.

I again question why the Recruiting Det is inside an office building downtown that is only opened from 10 til 4.
I did my application in 2009 online, then recruiting center called me, but the process took 9 months. 7 months after my medical they called to say my vision was to poor for combat engineer pick another trade. Picked weapons tech and was sworn in a month later.
 

rmc_wannabe

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New French ambassador calls us out, seems our allies are getting tired of our sh*t


That article was sobering to read. It's something we have been screaming about on this forum for a least 20 years.

Hopefully our Francophile PM heeds the advice; then again, he doesn't listen to his own cabinet and other advisors, so I hold out little hope.
 

daftandbarmy

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That article was sobering to read. It's something we have been screaming about on this forum for a least 20 years.

Hopefully our Francophile PM heeds the advice; then again, he doesn't listen to his own cabinet and other advisors, so I hold out little hope.

Well, he's just reflecting the (lack of) will of the people ;)


Canadians are in a sleepy state when it comes to their military according to a column earlier this summer by the CBC’s Murray Brewster, who reported on the results of a poll by the Earnscliffe Strategy Group.

The poll found that awareness of, and familiarity with, the Canadian Armed Forces was generally very low, and virtually non-existent among younger Canadians.

None of this should come as a surprise to those who study Canadian military history and civil-military relations in Canada.

About the only foreign war Canada has fought in the past 120 years that did not create significant political tensions for a Canadian government was the Korean War.

What is the main lesson the current government has learned from this history?

Hide the military as much as possible. That way there’s fewer political problems and national unity issues, no fierce debates about national apathy, no assertions of where Canadian interests lie or ought to lie. Instead, fall back on age-old slogans about protecting Canada and protecting North America, and helping out allies when called upon to do so — sometimes.

Fund just enough military to protect our sovereign borders, which are largely not threatened by anyone. That way we haven’t solved any military problems, but we have debated them away, which is just as good for most Canadians. And in the next election, there will be no military matters to worry about.

 

Kirkhill

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Well, he's just reflecting the (lack of) will of the people ;)


Canadians are in a sleepy state when it comes to their military according to a column earlier this summer by the CBC’s Murray Brewster, who reported on the results of a poll by the Earnscliffe Strategy Group.

The poll found that awareness of, and familiarity with, the Canadian Armed Forces was generally very low, and virtually non-existent among younger Canadians.

None of this should come as a surprise to those who study Canadian military history and civil-military relations in Canada.

About the only foreign war Canada has fought in the past 120 years that did not create significant political tensions for a Canadian government was the Korean War.

What is the main lesson the current government has learned from this history?

Hide the military as much as possible. That way there’s fewer political problems and national unity issues, no fierce debates about national apathy, no assertions of where Canadian interests lie or ought to lie. Instead, fall back on age-old slogans about protecting Canada and protecting North America, and helping out allies when called upon to do so — sometimes.

Fund just enough military to protect our sovereign borders, which are largely not threatened by anyone. That way we haven’t solved any military problems, but we have debated them away, which is just as good for most Canadians. And in the next election, there will be no military matters to worry about.



As Bercuson notes - this is no surprise.

So why does DND, the CAF and the Canadian Army act as if it is? The expression is "to cut one's suit to suit the cloth". Work with what you have and not what you wish to have.

The fact that Canada has so little available to offer the Ukrainians is as much the fault of the CAF and decisions taken at that level as it is the fault of the GOC.

In order to support requests for equipment we don't have and can't buy we deny ourselves equipment we don't have but could buy.
 

rmc_wannabe

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Honestly, I truly believe it's being told "No" or "Yes, but...." enough times by the GoC that has bred a culture of apathy in Projects and DevCap.

It's less that we are always shooting high and getting upset when we don't get all the bells and whistles; it's more that we only ask when we have exhausted all other options, and then it's a "it's going g to cost how much?!" Response after going without for so long.

It's a lose lose situation: get told no when you're being proactive, and then being told it'll cost too much once you've rusted out the capability by kicking the can down the road.

We reap what we sow
 

FJAG

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Granatstein wrote "Who killed the Canadian Military" in 2004 and, while not a great book, accurately spelled out the failings of all the successive Canadian governments and the people in general for this issue. He also hinted that "Some of our generals also did their part in killing the Canadian Forces through bad judgement" but doesn't name names or incidents.

I'm not one of those who believes that Canada is purposefully hiding under the coat tails of the US and depending on them for continental defence. IMHO, Canadians simply don't believe that there are threats in the world that can harm us, period. We're simply too far away from where the problems are. Even worse, many believe that by being in defence alliances we're attracting unnecessary attention to ourselves and putting ourselves into adversarial positions with countries like Russia and China when they ordinarily wouldn't give a fig about us.

I think the Arctic, amongst other issues, will be a place of contention maybe ten or twenty years down the road with both those countries. Unfortunately that time frame is long past the next election cycle. Preparing for that should start now, but since a rearmament program would be a negative election issue, it will be left in abeyance.

We're a Pollyanna country and will remain that way until someone slaps us upside the head.

$0.02

🍻
 

Ostrozac

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Possibly if they had followed Soviet doctrine. Overwhelming artillery - the norm was 1 gun per metre of frontage on the main effort. I don't know if that was achievable but even 25% of that would have been down right uncomfortable.
Overwhelming artillery requires overwhelming supplies of ammo. Since the Soviet rail network existed, but was less than impressive, and horses don’t exactly cut it — I sometimes wonder how much of the famed Soviet Operational Art 1943-1945 was entirely reliant on lend lease trucks from Detroit — trucks that Soviet/Russian industry still struggles to produce and maintain at scale.

Russia might be losing in Ukraine simply because what they really needed was a lend lease agreement with Sinotruck.
 

YZT580

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Granatstein wrote "Who killed the Canadian Military" in 2004 and, while not a great book, accurately spelled out the failings of all the successive Canadian governments and the people in general for this issue. He also hinted that "Some of our generals also did their part in killing the Canadian Forces through bad judgement" but doesn't name names or incidents.

I'm not one of those who believes that Canada is purposefully hiding under the coat tails of the US and depending on them for continental defence. IMHO, Canadians simply don't believe that there are threats in the world that can harm us, period. We're simply too far away from where the problems are. Even worse, many believe that by being in defence alliances we're attracting unnecessary attention to ourselves and putting ourselves into adversarial positions with countries like Russia and China when they ordinarily wouldn't give a fig about us.

I think the Arctic, amongst other issues, will be a place of contention maybe ten or twenty years down the road with both those countries. Unfortunately that time frame is long past the next election cycle. Preparing for that should start now, but since a rearmament program would be a negative election issue, it will be left in abeyance.

We're a Pollyanna country and will remain that way until someone slaps us upside the head.

$0.02

🍻
wishful thinking but defense should be a joint effort by all major parties. The governing party should set the budget and then give to a bi-partisan group to decide on allocation. In my dream this would remove the necessity to support Bombardier or Airbus or Boeing for any particular purchase and avoid fiascos like the helicopter, SAR and pistol purchases.
 

OldSolduer

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wishful thinking but defense should be a joint effort by all major parties. The governing party should set the budget and then give to a bi-partisan group to decide on allocation. In my dream this would remove the necessity to support Bombardier or Airbus or Boeing for any particular purchase and avoid fiascos like the helicopter, SAR and pistol purchases.
I am glad you said "in my dream" because unless we face an existential threat this will not change for one millisecond. There is too much pandering and pleading with a spoilt child who keeps threatening to leave.
 

CBH99

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I am glad you said "in my dream" because unless we face an existential threat this will not change for one millisecond. There is too much pandering and pleading with a spoilt child who keeps threatening to leave.
Who is the spoiled child who keeps threatening to leave?

(Genuinely asking for clarity is all - I’m following the chat by scrolling up instead of scrolling down today. Cracked screen life.)
 

McG

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wishful thinking but defense should be a joint effort by all major parties.
Realistically, shouldn’t the good of the country should be a joint effort by all parties? And if a subject is not a matter of what’s good for the country, does it even belong in Parliament? So everything worth Parlaiment’s time should be a joint venture?

… so our politicians are doing everything wrong as partisan politicking & point scoring always comes before anything in Parliament?!

Maybe there is something wrong with our system.
 

Kirkhill

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Realistically, shouldn’t the good of the country should be a joint effort by all parties? And if a subject is not a matter of what’s good for the country, does it even belong in Parliament? So everything worth Parlaiment’s time should be a joint venture?

… so our politicians are doing everything wrong as partisan politicking & point scoring always comes before anything in Parliament?!

Maybe there is something wrong with our system.


I think you have to start from the premise that most people are trying to do the best they can. And that includes politicians.

Many Canadians just can bring themselves to believe that there is a threat. Some people just want to believe that people are good. Others want to believe that this place is special and not like their homelands. They want a refuge. If Canada is a country like any other, and their problems are the same then why did they uproot themselves and come here?

A few years ago in an inappropriate setting I blurted out an inappropriate question and got an answer I was not expecting. Having supper the conversation drifted and I ended up asking the hostess what she would do if her daughter were threatened and she, the hostess, had the means to kill her daughter's attacker. Would she kill to save her daughter? The answer was no.

There are some good people that just don't think the way I do. And apparently I don't think the same way as a lot of you folks.

The need for guns is not more obvious to many than the need for butter.
 
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