Canada releases new defense policy


Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan said his government's new policy "is fully costed, and it's fully funded".

Canada's Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan unveils the Liberal government's long-awaited vision for expanding the Canadian Armed Forces during a news conference in Ottawa, Wednesday June 7, 2017.

He says the biggest need is manpower and the Defence Minister says it's coming, 5 000 more uniform troops, as well as new technology.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland emphasized in a major policy speechTuesday that Canada can no longer rely on the USA for its defence to the same extent it has in the past.

Sajjan described the plan as being focused on necessary outputs and capabilities in order to ensure Canada is strong at home, secure within North America and able to meet its worldwide responsibilities.

Even with a huge boost in military spending planned over the next decade (some of it back-loaded), Canada will still fall short of spending two per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on national defence by 2024-25.

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.

The defense review said the new planes would need to operate seamlessly with planes of Canada's allies and estimated the cost at between C$15 billion to C$19 billion.

"This defence policy is for Canada", Mr Sajjan told media when asked if the new spending will appease US President Donald Trump, who has frequently called on Canada to contribute more to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

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"They've spend money on a lot of needed priorities, most of it on capital investments, which is where I think the real priorities were", Perry said by phone.

Ottawa will hold an open competition to buy 88 advanced fighters to replace its fleet of 77 CF-18 planes, more than the 65 new jets the previous Conservative government had planned.

In 2016, Ottawa was on the verge of purchasing 18 Boeing Super Hornets but in May suggested the plans would be scrapped unless a U.S. investigation into Canadian planemaker Bombardier was dropped.

Sajjan declined to comment when asked whether the spending would result in a larger budget deficit than the Liberals are already forecasting.

U.S. President Donald Trump went so far as to give his nation's allies a public dressing down during recent meetings in Brussels.

"It would make sense to associate defense increases with anti-Trump sentiment", said Robert Bothwell, a professor at the University of Toronto.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley also weighed in, telling lawmakers Wednesday that Canada has neglected its military for years.

US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis welcomed the announcement, saying: "In light of today's security challenges around the world, it's critical for Canada's moral voice to be supported by the hard power of a strong military".