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Canada Ramping Up Military Spending

With the $8-billion injection, Canada will be spending 1.5 per cent of its GDP on defence, compared to 1.39 per cent pre-budget.

Canada Ramping Up Military Spending
F-35/Flickr. 

Canada is set to increase military spending by upwards of $8 billion in today's budget, bringing the country closer to the two per cent of GDP NATO expects its members to spend on national defence.

The spending is expected to include a multi-year investment in purchasing new radar stations for NORAD — the joint Canada-U.S. air and maritime command — more weapons for Ukraine, as well as equipment for Canadian Forces.

With the $8-billion injection, Canada will be spending 1.5 per cent of its GDP on defence, compared to 1.39 per cent pre-budget.

Yesterday, a motion sponsored by Conservative defence critic Kerry-Lynne Findlay, which called on the government to spend "at least" the two per cent NATO target passed 303-27, with the NDP and Green caucuses voting against it.

In order to meet this target, which NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has characterized as "arbitrary," Canada would have to spend an additional $20 million to $25 million each year on the military, according to Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux.

Canada has also committed to purchasing 88 F-35 fighter jets from U.S.-based manufacturer Lockheed Martin later this year, despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau having run against purchasing 65 of them in 2015.

While much media coverage of a new NATO report on its members military spending focuses on percentage of GDP to portray Canada as a laggard, analysis from David Pugliese at the Ottawa Citizen shows that in terms of total dollars spent, Canada is NATO's sixth-largest spender and the world's 14th-largest.

"The data paint[s] a very different picture than one currently being promoted by retired generals and defence analysts of a Canadian military teetering on collapse," Pugliese writes.

This line that the Canadian military is on the verge of collapse has been used repeatedly over the years "whenever military supporters think they can push governments into spending more," he added.

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