World

Canada to increase military spending 70 percent in 10 years

Canada to increase military spending 70 percent in 10 years

The Trudeau government laid out its world view in a major policy speech Tuesday by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland in which she made a staunch defense of the rules-based global order and pledged to press ahead with worldwide alliances even if it means drifting away from the U.S.

U.S. President Donald Trump, like Barack Obama before him, has pressured on Canada and other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to increase their defence budgets.

The government's new defence policy statement is the first time in over thirty years that such positive language has been used to recognize the value of Canada's defence industrial base and how industry contributes to meeting Canada's defence objectives.

So when Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan tabled a new defence policy today-a document the Liberal government is calling Strong, Secure, Engaged-he faced inevitable skepticism about his long-term vision.

"If we're serious about our role in the world, we must be serious about funding our military", he told a news conference attended by dozens of uniformed military personnel. Why invest billions to maintain a capable, professional, well-funded and well-equipped Canadian military? Another $23.2 billion over 20 years is earmarked for army equipment, like new light and heavy trucks. That initiative was on display in the defence review, with the blueprint committing to up female representation in the Canadian Armed Forces by 1 percent every year, with a goal of ensuring that one-quarter of its membership are women by 2027.

Ottawa unveiled a new defence policy on Wednesday that aims to grow Canada's military to keep up with commitments to allies and ensure Canadians are protected from threats both domestic and overseas. "It places added attention on improving recruitment, retention, and training to capitalize on the unique talents and skillsets of Canada's diverse population", the federal government said in a statement. Recruiting more women is likely the best way to change the culture of the armed forces and fighting their persistent problems with sexual misconduct.




It also plans to train hackers to launch cyberattacks in support of military operations.

The Royal Canadian Navy is not planning to buy new submarines as part of this plan, but rather to modernize its current Victoria-class vessels. That effort has been plagued by delays in recent years, including a series of high-profile leaks that led to a criminal investigation into the head of the Canadian navy and vice-chief of defence staff.

Ottawa said past year it wanted to buy 18 Boeing Corp BA.N Super Hornets as an interim measure but has since threatened to scrap the plan unless the US firm drops an anti-dumping challenge against planemaker Bombardier Inc BBDb.TO .

After months of quietly signalling that it would look into the possibility of offensive cyber capabilities, Ottawa is finally letting the secret out. She also explained why relying exclusively on the United States as its military power "would not be in Canada's interest".

Cover: A Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet.


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