Canada announces massive increases in military spending

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday

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.

Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan said today the budget will grow by 70 per cent to reach USD 32.7 billion Canadian (USD 24.1 billion) in a decade.

Ottawa unveiled a new defence policy on Wednesday that aims to grow Canada's military to keep up with commitments to allies and ensure Canadians are protected from threats both domestic and overseas.

The announcement also follows remarks from Canada Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who on Tuesday told the country's parliament that a bigger defense budget is needed as the us withdraws from its global leadership role.

"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", Mattis said.

Sajjan said the boost would take total defense expenditures to 1.4 percent of GDP by 2024/25 from 1.2 percent now. The U.S. accounts for more than 70 percent of all North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defense spending. "And we are", said Sajjan.

The defense review said the new planes would need to operate seamlessly with planes of Canada's allies and estimated the cost at between C$15 billion to C$19 billion. The $30-billion increase in the budget for the vessels shows the extent to which major military spending plans have historically been underestimated and unfunded.

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Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan announced Wednesday that the country's military spending would increase by 70 percent over the next decade.

"We need a military that looks like Canada", proclaims the document. "The previous government announced a lot of things, (but) didn't put the kind of money forward in stable, long-term, predictable ways, and that's exactly what we've done".

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

President Donald Trump's decisions to pull the US out of the Paris agreement on climate change and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact are testing the decades-old system of worldwide rules and alliances built in the aftermath of World War II.

"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 cost of the planned air force equipment purchases including the fighter jet replacement is C$26.4 billion.

"This new defence policy will help solve numerous problems facing the Canadian Armed Forces after years of under funding and under resourcing - the position we are starting from is challenging", said Sajjan.