Canada to increase military spending 70 percent in 10 years

"It's time for Government to hold up its end of the bargain".

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.

In her address to Parliament on Tuesday about the government's foreign policy goals, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland urged Canada to resume its role on the world stage that it once had during the First and Second World Wars.

The government also plans to buy 88 new fighter jets at a cost of between $15 billion and $19 billion, which is significantly more than the $9 billion the Conservatives budgeted for 65 F-35s.

One major uncertainty is that the Liberals may not be in power in a decade's time.

The Globe and Mail reports that the cost of the 15 surface combatants will come in between $56 and $60 billion, which is almost double of the previous estimate.

Ottawa said past year it wanted to buy 18 Boeing Corp BA.N Super Hornets as an interim measure but has since threatened to scrap the plan unless the US firm drops an anti-dumping challenge against planemaker Bombardier Inc BBDb.TO .

While some of the new money will start flowing this year, the taps aren't expected to really open until 2020-21 - well after the next election, and a veritable lifetime in political Ottawa.

The plan calls for investments in new warships, fighter jets, drones, light armored vehicles, precision-guided munitions and other equipment, as well as a modernization of its submarine fleet.

The government of Canada put up some big numbers on Wednesday as it unveiled its new defence policy. "And of course the government can change its mind".

"This allows the Canadian Armed Forces now to be able to have the right resources and planned sustainable funding to be able to create the right plan and sustain itself for the future". "And that's what we have done".

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

Ottawa said previous 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.

Defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance, sitting alongside Sajjan, echoed that assessment, calling Wednesday an "important day" for the military and one that he hoped would lead to more people joining the Canadian Armed Forces.

Pentagon officials are "heartened" by Canada's announcement today of a new defense policy that will increase its defense budget and the size of its military, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a statement. The U.S. accounts for more than 70 percent of all North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military spending.

As a result, it says defence spending is actually closer to around 1.19 per cent this fiscal year, and that it will increase to 1.4 per cent of GDP by 2026-27. Asked whether he thought Trump would be satisfied, Sajjan said: "This defense policy is for Canada".

  • Leroy Wright