Edmonton Sun, 10 June 2017
So Prime Minister Justin Trudeau now wants to whip out a new generation of Canadian war planes to show Donald Trump “how big they are”.
After all, the U.S. president’s purported drift into isolationism is the reason Trudeau’s government is giving to justify increasing Canada’s military spending by 73% over the next decade.
That translates into spending almost $14 billion more annually on the military, or $32.7 billion in 2026-27, compared to $18.9 billion today.
The package announced by Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan Wednesday includes 88 new fighter jets to replace Canada’s aging fleet of 77 CF-18s.
Let’s recall that former PM Stephen Harper assigned six CF-18s to the war on terror against ISIS in Iraq, whereupon he was mocked by Trudeau for “trying to whip out our CF-18s and show … how big they are.”
When Trudeau became PM, he foolishly recalled those planes from the fight.
Trudeau’s increased spending will also go towards 15 new ships for the navy and 5,000 more soldiers.
Unlike Trudeau, we aren’t going to mock him like he mocked Harper — even though normally Trudeau’s pronouncements on all things military sound like the half-formed thoughts of a 1960s flower child.
The reason is we support a properly funded military as a vital component of Canadian sovereignty.
Despite this new money, Canada will still fall far short of our NATO commitment to spend 2% of our GDP annually on the military, for which Canada was recently, and accurately, called out on by Trump.
Even if Trudeau fulfills the spending commitments he’s promised — a big if since most of it is back-ended to the final years of the program — Canada’s military spending will only rise to 1.4% of GDP compared to just over 1% today.
In other words, still well short of our 2% NATO commitment.
In fairness, this was also true of the Harper government, which announced major increases to military spending and then failed to deliver on them.
If Trudeau is finally realizing the importance of our armed forces, then we applaud his conversion on the road to Damascus.
But only time will tell if it’s sincere, or if Trudeau will soon revert back to the Liberals’ traditional neglect of all things military.