Canada Pledges to Increase Defense Spending

By Tadjdeh, Yasmin | National Defense, August 2017 | Go to article overview

Canada Pledges to Increase Defense Spending


Tadjdeh, Yasmin, National Defense


Over the next decade, the Canadian government intends to increase its defense spending by 70 percent, its defense minister announced recently.

"Years of under-investment have left our military in a financial hole," said Harjit Sajjan during a speech in June.

Canada's new defense policy, titled "Strong, Secure, Engaged," will help the nation emerge from that hole, he noted. Its annual cash funding for defense will increase from nearly $14.7 billion in 2016-2017 to $25.4 billion in 2026-2027.

"For the first time, National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces will have a 20-year funding commitment," he said. "This transparency will enable long-term planning and effective management of public funds, more than ever before."

Canada will recapitalize its air force with a fleet of 88 advanced fighter jets, he said. The policy also funds the building of 15 surface combatant ships, new equipment for its ground forces and the acquisition of remotely piloted aircraft.

Shaun McDougall, an analyst at Forecast International, a Newtown, Connecticut-based market consulting firm, said the NATO member nation currently spends around 1 percent of its GDP on defense.

NATO alliance members have a stated goal to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense by 2024, but few countries currently meet it. That has been a sticking point for President Donald Trump, who has consistently pushed for allies to invest more.

"With this increase they're not going to even be close to the 2 percent mark," McDougall said. "If Canada was going to meet its 2 percent NATO requirement, they would have to basically increase their budget to around $40 billion Canadian dollars, and they're talking about $32 billion dollars almost a decade from now."

While rhetoric and pressure from the Trump administration likely contributed to Ottawa's bump in defense spending, it is mostly due to the realization by government officials that its modernization plan would require more money than was being budgeted, McDougall said. …

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