by Harvey Oberfeld
July 10, 2023
Pay attention to the pictures. When 31 World leaders pose for their official Vilnius, Lithuania Annual NATO Summit photo this week, watch closely where Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be placed.
I will predict!
Trudeau will either be in the back row (if there are two) or off to the side (let’s say far left) if there is only one.
Now, I submit that will not be because Trudeau is tall (1.88 m 6’2″) … so is US President Joe Biden (1.83 m 5″11) … but because Canada, in the REAL world of defence of freedom and democracy is failing its responsibility.
Canada is a shirker.
Especially, for a country Canada’s size, Canada’s wealth and Canada’s proximity to danger from the world’s current most aggressive, expansionist country, Russia!
Russia, under dictator Vladimir Putin, has not only seized land from Ukraine, but also Georgia and Moldova … and has already voiced challenges of Canada’s claims to our northern boundary. (https://winnipeg.ctvnews.ca/russia-s-putin-rattles-sabre-over-canada-s-claim-to-north-pole-and-to-santa-1.1583467.)
Why? Because there could be huge reserves of oil, natural gas and minerals up there, becoming increasingly accessible as the ice recedes/thins and as technologies improve making exploration, resource recovery much more feasible.
Canadians know we could never defend ourselves alone … or our territories … if Putin decided to literally move in (after some phony campaign asserting a history of ancient Russian settlements in our north , creating claims to large areas dating to Russia’s old czarist empire … and for Putin’s new one as well.)
The threat from Russia to Canada’s north … as well as just generally to world democracies … should not be under-estimated.
And yet, Canada’s spending on defence … even as Russia’s rockets, bombs, artillery and military barbarism have laid waste many communities in Ukraine for more than 500 days now … falls far short of that of other NATO nations.
NATO’s agreed upon standard for peacetime defence spending is two per cent of each country’s gross domestic product.
In 2021, when NATO totally 30 members, Canada ranked TWENTY-THIRD in defence spending as percentage of GDP!
Surprisingly, according to NATO, Greece topped the list, spending 3.82% of its GDP; followed by the US, 3.52%; Croatia, 2.79%; UK, 2.29%; and, France, 2.01%.
Canada’s outlay, 1.39% in 2021, placed it way down the list, closer to Slovenia, 1.28%; Belgium, 1.12%; Spain, 1.12%; and, Luxembourg, 0.57%.
And last year, Canada did even worse: spending on defence actually DROPPED to 1.29% of our GDP!
No doubt, Canada will need NATO, and especially the United States, to save us if Putin does decide to lay claim to Canada’s land and resources.
It’s time for Canada to meet our responsibilities … to ourselves!
It’s actually scary to think about the current state of Canada’s defence forces: equipment, weaponry, planes, ships, submarines (do we have ANY subs that actually work?). Perhaps we should be thankful our national media have ignored the crisis?
Sure, occasionally we see lots of hoopla/photo ops as promises/plans/production are announced for a new ship or two or new airplanes (the first four F-35s aren’t even scheduled until 2026), but defence contracts are often postponed and delayed and, in the end, are only replacements for equipment so old that is barely still functional.
It’s a joke … but neither our defence forces nor our allies are laughing.
Trudeau and a succession of Canadian Defence Ministers have vowed to increase spending over the next few years but that is being scoffed at by our allies:
“Canada is expected to boost military spending after a government review next month, but the increase is unlikely to comfort allies facing new threats and it could further undermine the country’s international military credibility, policy analysts said,” the international news agency Reuters reported just two weeks ago.
“A leaked Pentagon assessment obtained and reported by the Washington Post in April said Trudeau had told NATO officials Canada would never meet the alliance’s target,” Reuters added. (Read the full article here: https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/show-us-money-canada-pressured-by-allies-up-military-spending-2023-06-29/#:~:text=OTTAWA%2C%20June%2029%20(Reuters),military%20credibility%2C%20policy%20analysts%20said.)
Maybe Trudeau should be asked about that at the NATO meeting this week!!!
That is, after Canadian media pose their other more important questions … such as: If Trudeau has heard back yet from Taylor Swift after he tweeted he hopes she schedules a concert in Canada?