Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Liberal government promises extra $62B for military over next 20 years

Liberal government promises extra $62B for military over next 20 years

Canada now spends 18.9 billion Canadian dollars ($14 billion, 12.4 billion euros) on military spending, but that amount would increase to 32.7 billion Canadian dollars by 2026.

The announcement follows a speech to parliament by Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland June 6, in which she said global relationships that had seemed "immutable for 70 years" were now being called into question.

The government's new defence policy, released this week, includes pledges of more money and better equipment for the Canadian Forces over the next 20 years.

Sajjan's promises for the military are a big change for the Liberals and are aimed at backing up the ambitious role that Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland has outlined for Canada in the Trump era.

"The United States welcomes Canada's marked increase in investment in their military and their continued commitment to a strong defense relationship with the United States and NATO", Mattis said in a statement.

That means Canada would spend about 1.4 per cent of gross domestic product on defense by 2026-27, up from about 1.2 percent now.

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

In the long term, the policy will see the Government spend an additional $62.3 billion on the military over the next 20 years.

"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.

"We need a military that looks like Canada", proclaims the document.

But there also wasn't any indication that the government plans to increase defence spending to meet NATO's target of two per cent of GDP, which is what Trump has demanded of alliance members.

Ottawa said past year it wanted to buy 18 Boeing Super Hornets as an interim measure but has since threatened to scrap the plan unless the United States firm drops an anti-dumping challenge against planemaker Bombardier.

The policy is fully funded and will expand its annual defence spending by over 70 per cent, from $18.9 billion in 2016/17 to $32.7 billion in 2026/27, on a cash basis.

"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".

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's really really easy to backload promised spending, especially when you're able to backload it into the 2020s", said Kim Richard Nossal, a political studies professor at Queen's University in Kingston who specializes in defense procurement.

The military will also be launching a plan to improve its advanced satellite system, which allows it to do incredibly high resolution imaging world-wide - from the Arctic, to Canada's coasts, to, more recently, the eastern region of Ukraine where Kyiv has been fighting Russian-backed militants.

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