Canada to boost military spending after Trump rails at allies

OTTAWA, June 7 Canada, under pressure from the United States to boost military spending, said on Wednesday it planned to increase its defense budget by almost three quarters over the next decade as it buys new jets and ships.Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, unveiling a 20-year policy review that had been in the works for months, said the armed forces budget would jump by 73 percent to C$32.7 billion ($24.2 billion) in 2026/27 from C$18.9 billion in 2016/17, with the biggest increases coming in later years.All-in, the new plan means $62 billion in new defence spending over the next twenty years.The country’s defense minister unveiled its new policy called “Strong, Secure, Engaged” on Wednesday.”To meet Canada’s defence needs at home and overseas, the government will grow annual defence spending over the next 10 years from $17.1 billion in 2016-17 to $24.6 billion in 2026-27 on an accrual basis. It is transparent and fully funded”, Ottawa’s executive summary of the new policy reads.- Commit to buying not less than 15 new warships for the navy, at an estimated cost of up to $60 billion.The plan says Canada will continue studying the possibility of buying or leasing the Hornets, and military officials added that “we are studying that with the Americans”. Consider what happened only earlier this spring, when Finance Minister Bill Morneau tabled his 2017 budget, and surprised military analysts by “reallocating” a hefty $8.4 billion in planned defence capital spending, money that had been slated to be spent between 2015-16 and 2035-36, out into the unknowable future.For far too long, Canada has asked its men and women in uniform to do tough and risky jobs while failing to provide them with the modern equipment they need. However, Ottawa is now embroiled in a commercial dispute with US -based manufacturer Boeing, which has slowed down the process. Trump last month upset North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders by insisting they commit more funds and also by not personally affirming the alliance’s mutual defense doctrine. Federal spending is already stretched, with last spring’s budget pushing off $933 million in defence costs, on top of $3.7 billion that the previous budget said would be delayed.In his most recent budget, Morneau projected deficits for the next five years that will gradually decline to $18.8 billion in 2021-22.NDP defence critic Randall Garrison said the review lacks the substance required for Canada to play a leadership role in the world.”It would make sense to associate defense increases with anti-Trump sentiment”, said Robert Bothwell, a professor at the University of Toronto.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.