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CANADA / NATO and 2% of GDP Budget

This is a discussion on CANADA / NATO and 2% of GDP Budget within the Geo-strategic Issues forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by StingrayOZ I'm going to go off a bit here, because I find Canada a bit frustrating. It's ...


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Old February 27th, 2017   #31
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Originally Posted by StingrayOZ View Post
I'm going to go off a bit here, because I find Canada a bit frustrating.
It's even more frustrating living here.

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Australia is probably a bit stricter than Canada when it comes to immigration. But I think Canada, politically left and right are in a bit of a reality bubble when it comes to world affairs even more than the US.
I would say much stricter. Absolutely agree about the reality bubble.



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I doubt Russia invading Greenland would even get Canada to beige alert.
...or Baffin Island for that matter!

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As a larger and slightly richer nation, Canada should bear more of that global burden than Australia.
True but I don't see that happening anytime soon.


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While Australia is ascending to be a globally engaged, globally capable, trans-regional power, Canada is descending into irrelevance as an non-independent power even at the regional level.
Totally agree. Furthermore, provincial rivalries will likely end Canada before its 200th birthday.


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Canada spending 2% of its GDP on knitwear is not going to make the world a safer place, the target would allow real capability and is easily achievable, without compromising social programs and services in a major way.

2% of GDP is economically achievable but not politically.


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Imagine if Canada could surge an Amphibious ready group of over 5,000 and be able to deploy globally and sustain them without US assistance. Imagine if Canada operated 18 Aegis type ships (5 AWD's and a plan for 13 frigates) and had 9 x 4000t submarines in the water today but was underway for a program to build 18 x 5000t. That is what an attempt of spending 2% might look like.
Even if the 2% goal is met, I can't see Canadian industry producing the above at this level of funding. It would have to be 2.5-3%. Estimates are at $42 billion for the CSC alone and climbing.



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Do you think Japan would seek closer ties with Canada as a reliable ally and as a counter balance to China? Could not Canada lead a multinational mission globally with that sort of capability, independent of US policy?
Would Canada then be able to shift global events simply by showing diplomatic support?
Could not Canada then play a role in dealing with Russia directly?
With such resources, yes Canada could really contribute.

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I think its more about Canada's location to europe than Canada's location to the US. As Canada is acting much more like europe than acting like the US.
Europe and Canada both suck off the US military tit.

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Its about global awareness.
Sometimes the neighbour is so overwhelming the awareness of other stuff gets lost. A good example is our trade being pretty much in one basket(~75%), the US. Maybe the new CETA will change this somewhat.

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Australia is 2700km away from the US at its closest point and the US president still thinks Australia has strong armed them into bad deals. I imagine if we were any closer the US would be restrained completely under Australian oppression.
He thinks NAFTA is a "disaster". Although most of his rhetoric is directed at Mexico, the stuff could hit the fan here too.
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Old March 6th, 2017   #32
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Interesting article on SLD asking the question about Canada's commitment to NATO and to the defence of North America. It looks at this with reference to North Korean missile and nuke development.

Canada and Article III of the NATO Treaty: The Importance of National Defense

Will Canada Help Deter North Korea?
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Last edited by ngatimozart; March 6th, 2017 at 05:44 PM. Reason: add second article
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Old March 6th, 2017   #33
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The short answer is no. Aggressive pressure needs to be applied on junior in order to have minimal support for both SK and NATO. For BMD, the US really needs to threaten junior with all sorts of negative consequences, both economic and militarily. With respect to the latter I mean no support and no tech sharing.
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Old March 6th, 2017   #34
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The short answer is no. Aggressive pressure needs to be applied on junior in order to have minimal support for both SK and NATO. For BMD, the US really needs to threaten junior with all sorts of negative consequences, both economic and militarily. With respect to the latter I mean no support and no tech sharing.
From my POV, just threatening the current PM would have minimal impact, as pollies of essentially all colouries (they only come in one flavour, which rhymes with height...) in Canada have, for a variety of reasons, neglected Defence. The whole Sea King replacement saga/debacle comes immediately to mind as an example.

Just getting the current PM onboard IMO would be insufficient, because once the PM changes, and especially if there is a change of which party is in power, any major decisions could be undone. Again, the Sea King replacement programme comes to mind...
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Old March 6th, 2017   #35
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From my POV, just threatening the current PM would have minimal impact, as pollies of essentially all colouries (they only come in one flavour, which rhymes with height...) in Canada have, for a variety of reasons, neglected Defence. The whole Sea King replacement saga/debacle comes immediately to mind as an example.

Just getting the current PM onboard IMO would be insufficient, because once the PM changes, and especially if there is a change of which party is in power, any major decisions could be undone. Again, the Sea King replacement programme comes to mind...
Yes, I would agree. It's a systemic issue that goes back decades especially with regard to the Pacific.
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Old March 6th, 2017   #36
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re: Canada defence policy issues

The problem is more than just a systemic failure on the part of the Canadian government to formulate any sort of coherent thought in the Pacific (although that doesn't help to be sure), or more broadly any sort of coherence with defence policy. Its the utter and I mean utter apathy the Canada population has to defence in general. The average person in Canada (and I'm not trying to be insulting to the citizenry of Canada) would struggle to name our enemies in the first and second world wars, let alone any of the peacekeeping/ making operations that Canada has been involved in. List of places like Korea, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Kandahar, Sinai, Cyprus and people would merely look on confused. All of this ultimately translates to a political system/ class that treats anything to do with defence as optional expenditure or even "make work" organisation in some ways sadly.

I could go on broad tangent about why this is, but I guess what I would want anyone to understand about Canadian defence policy is that is has never existed post Cold War. Anything else is an utter lie. Sure within the CF itself there has been strategic documents and tactical thought/ development that has been nurtured over the years, but none of those documents have ever translated into any sort of government action. The white papers of the 1990's were more of budgetary/ slashing then defence policy, they never provided anything more than Canada will support our allies and partners. Even the Canadian Defence First Strategy was a glorified shopping list that was never even completed.There is a couple of books I could list off to give a better idea for anyone interested in the "whys" such as: John Granatstein "Whose War Is It? or Who Killed the Canadian Military" or David J. Bercuson :The Fighting Canadians". All of these titles deal with procurement, policy, or political will in Canada.

I know this is my first post so I hope I kept it short and hopefully somehow informative/ useful.
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Old March 6th, 2017   #37
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The problem is more than just a systemic failure on the part of the Canadian government to formulate any sort of coherent thought in the Pacific (although that doesn't help to be sure), or more broadly any sort of coherence with defence policy. Its the utter and I mean utter apathy the Canada population has to defence in general. The average person in Canada (and I'm not trying to be insulting to the citizenry of Canada) would struggle to name our enemies in the first and second world wars, let alone any of the peacekeeping/ making operations that Canada has been involved in. List of places like Korea, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Kandahar, Sinai, Cyprus and people would merely look on confused. All of this ultimately translates to a political system/ class that treats anything to do with defence as optional expenditure or even "make work" organisation in some ways sadly.

I could go on broad tangent about why this is, but I guess what I would want anyone to understand about Canadian defence policy is that is has never existed post Cold War. Anything else is an utter lie. Sure within the CF itself there has been strategic documents and tactical thought/ development that has been nurtured over the years, but none of those documents have ever translated into any sort of government action. The white papers of the 1990's were more of budgetary/ slashing then defence policy, they never provided anything more than Canada will support our allies and partners. Even the Canadian Defence First Strategy was a glorified shopping list that was never even completed.There is a couple of books I could list off to give a better idea for anyone interested in the "whys" such as: John Granatstein "Whose War Is It? or Who Killed the Canadian Military" or David J. Bercuson :The Fighting Canadians". All of these titles deal with procurement, policy, or political will in Canada.

I know this is my first post so I hope I kept it short and hopefully somehow informative/ useful.
Gidday cobber and welcome to the forum. Your first post is quite interesting and does expend upon our knowledge base.
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Old March 6th, 2017   #38
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2% Budget

Thank you for the welcome!

With all mentioned before I do think now there is a bit more political will currently (stress the bit part) to spend more on defence. This is not however due to any sound defence policy or strategic thought, but rather due to fear. In short Canada political establishment (from the left to the right) was extremely uprooted upon the election of Donald Trump, if they like to admit it or not. Within the first two and half months of Trump's presidency, the current Canadian government sent its prime minister once, its foreign affairs minister twice, and the defence minister four times! I do not believe that has every occurred in Canadian and American relations ever. The current government formalised permanent presence in Europe once again. Sure the plan was announced roughly a year ago but all of sudden after Donald Trump is elected this operation just starting kicking into high gear (the first of two infantry companies arrived [Feb 26]). That infantry company was not supposed to deploy for another six months! Now of course the current government is being very tight with the purse string, but I could never see a liberal or even conservative government five years ago considering this action.

There is now serious talk of BMD amongst the media and academic circles again, and even leaks from the government to "test the waters" per say. This is from the same political party that literally based their defence policy in the 2008 &2011 elections on never getting involved in BMD. There is also even talks of modestly increasing the defence budget to 1.2% from 0.9% of the GDP. Now this is not enough but that is still this is the same government/ political party that instigated the decade of darkness. So in short I do think the current government is getting somewhat aware of defence if only for the fact, that it believes correctly it has no choice due to current administration in the USA.

The date to look for any real change to Canadian defence policy/ budget will be March 21 when the current government tables its fiscal budget for the year. For this budget will determine the "step off" fiscally for the defence policy review that will be released in theory shortly.

I have been lurking this forums for a couple years now, so I hope I did not heavily rehash anything that was not already said.
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Old March 7th, 2017   #39
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Thank you for the welcome!

With all mentioned before I do think now there is a bit more political will currently (stress the bit part) to spend more on defence. This is not however due to any sound defence policy or strategic thought, but rather due to fear. In short Canada political establishment (from the left to the right) was extremely uprooted upon the election of Donald Trump, if they like to admit it or not. Within the first two and half months of Trump's presidency, the current Canadian government sent its prime minister once, its foreign affairs minister twice, and the defence minister four times! I do not believe that has every occurred in Canadian and American relations ever. The current government formalised permanent presence in Europe once again. Sure the plan was announced roughly a year ago but all of sudden after Donald Trump is elected this operation just starting kicking into high gear (the first of two infantry companies arrived [Feb 26]). That infantry company was not supposed to deploy for another six months! Now of course the current government is being very tight with the purse string, but I could never see a liberal or even conservative government five years ago considering this action.

There is now serious talk of BMD amongst the media and academic circles again, and even leaks from the government to "test the waters" per say. This is from the same political party that literally based their defence policy in the 2008 &2011 elections on never getting involved in BMD. There is also even talks of modestly increasing the defence budget to 1.2% from 0.9% of the GDP. Now this is not enough but that is still this is the same government/ political party that instigated the decade of darkness. So in short I do think the current government is getting somewhat aware of defence if only for the fact, that it believes correctly it has no choice due to current administration in the USA.

The date to look for any real change to Canadian defence policy/ budget will be March 21 when the current government tables its fiscal budget for the year. For this budget will determine the "step off" fiscally for the defence policy review that will be released in theory shortly.

I have been lurking this forums for a couple years now, so I hope I did not heavily rehash anything that was not already said.
Hello and welcome,

The situation in Canada(budgetwise)and the way politics looks at Defence is about the same here in the Netherlands,okay our budget is a tiny bit higher(1.1%,actual investment is about 1%)but still nowhere near what it should be.
There's a bit of a change comming(the winds of change),so there's now a consensus to go to the European average wich is about 1.43%,in money that would meanabout 3.5-4 billion extra(per year)to come there,or grow to over a 4 year period(next period of the newly chosen government/cabinet)
There's a lot over here that needs replacing(and offcourse,extra trainings,spare parts,munitions,etc)
If i would only pick the Navy it would be;(over the next 10 years)
-New Frigates(replacement M-class)
-New Subs(replacement Walrus)
-new MCM ships(replacement Alkmaar/Tripartite class)
-new torpedo(work)ship
-etc,etc,so there's a lot to be done overhere.

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Old March 7th, 2017   #40
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@J_Can spot on with your comment about our apathetic electorate, the main reason that allows our pollies to abuse the defence profolio. The upcoming budget indeed will be a good indicator as to whether the current government is feeling any pressure from allies regarding our defence expenditures.
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Old March 15th, 2017   #41
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Here's an article on Norway's commitments to NATO. Contrast this with Canada which explains why Canada wasn't even mentioned in this article.

Norway: A Model for NATO’s Northern Tier « Breaking Defense - Defense industry news, analysis and commentary
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Old March 21st, 2017   #42
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Post deleted due to lost link.

Last edited by John Fedup; March 21st, 2017 at 07:42 PM. Reason: Deleted because I lost the link.
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Old March 23rd, 2017   #43
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If anyone thought Canada was listening to calls for increased defence commitments, this link shows Canada is not and never will as long as junior is around.

Policy Updates - Canadian Global Affairs Institute
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Old March 23rd, 2017   #44
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If anyone thought Canada was listening to calls for increased defence commitments, this link shows Canada is not and never will as long as junior is around.

Policy Updates - Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Be interesting to see if the art's budget has increased, that will tell you everything you need to know.
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Old March 23rd, 2017   #45
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James Bezan, Canadian politician and official Opposition Critic for National Defence says 2017 Federal Budget is ‘bad news’ for the Canadian Armed Forces. The budget doesn`t contain any references to increased defence spending to meet targets set by NATO.
Looks like some NATO countries` broad hints about Canadian defence spending will continue.
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