Canada to beef up defense spending

Canada to beef up defense spending

"This policy is an ambitious yet realistic plan that outlines the Government of Canada's Defence priorities".

A spike in its defense budget will come in 2026-27 when Canada will grow its military spending from $18.9 billion (2016-17's allocated amount) to $32.7 billion.

Here are four points that stood out from the review.

Canada will increase annual defence spending by $13.9 billion over the next decade, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Wednesday as he unveiled the Liberal government's long-awaited vision for expanding the Canadian Armed Forces.

However, Sajjan was non-committal when pressed about whether the spending spike would result in a higher federal deficit or dramatic spending cuts down the road.

Some of the money will be deployed immediately, much will be delayed until after the next election.

Sajjan shrugged off such concerns, saying the current as well as future governments "owe it" to those in uniform to "fully fund the Canadian Armed Forces on a long-term footing".

Dave Perry, a senior analyst with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, says references by officials to the money being included in the "fiscal framework" just means the money is available - it doesn't identify the source.

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"While defence spending is an important part of ensuring appropriate defence capability, it is not the most effective measure of fair burden sharing", the policy reads.

Canada has announced plans to increase its defence budget by almost three quarters over the next decade, after coming under pressure from the United States to boost military spending. Defense spending will increase to 1.4 percent of gross domestic product by the fiscal year that ends March 2025, Sajjan said.

"With respect to many in Canada or in many, many other countries, frankly, they do need to increase their forces", Milley said during a Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee hearing. The country has consistently been a frequent contributor to overseas coalitions, supporting the United Kingdom and U.S. in various large-scale engagements the world over. Iceland does make a financial contribution to the alliance.

As it stands, NATO, a defence alliance of Western countries, estimates that Canada spends 1 per cent of GDP on defence, while Canada estimates it is actually spending 1.2 per cent using a different formula.

"This is not strictly about picking a location, sending the troops and let's see what happens", Sajjan said in an interview with Don Martin, host of CTV's Power Play. "This new policy affirms Canada's unwavering commitment to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and will ensure Canada has the armed forces and key capabilities that the alliance needs".

- Dramatically expand the number of special forces and provide them with new airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tools.

"This demonstrates Canadian resolve to build additional military capacity and a more capable fighting force".

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