Instead of imposing emergency powers within Canada, we should be initiating an emergency military expansion and building pipelines to get more oil & natural gas to our European allies.
There has been a lot of talk about how Canada isn’t a ‘serious country.’
What’s meant by this is that the Canadian government has largely abandoned their few core tasks in lieu of micromanaging and intervening in every aspect of society, while many Canadians have been lulled by years of peace into thinking that our country will remain prosperous and safe regardless of what we do.
Many think Canada will remain rich even without economic growth and investment in our energy sector.
Many think we don’t need a strong military anymore, assuming the era of large-scale war is over, and/or assuming the United States will take care of our defenses for us.
Considering that national defense is among the few things the federal government is actually supposed to be doing, it is quite amazing to see how little attention it has gotten in Canada.
Our armed forces have been hollowed out, with a significant lack of new equipment, years of underfunding (under both Conservative & Liberal governments). Our procurement system is a joke, recruitment is lagging, and the military rarely gets any attention unless it’s about the latest sex scandal in the upper echelons.
We spend far below the 2% of GDP NATO target, our air force is decrepit, our navy is small, and our land forces are well-trained but small in number and lack the advanced equipment that would be expected of a technologically advanced country like ours.
We can’t even defend much of our own territory, a particular concern in the arctic given that the opening up of trade routes and immense potential resource wealth is drawing attention to the region.
Consider how Russia has been building up in the arctic. For example, Norway is getting worried:
“But Norwegian officials are getting increasingly spooked by Russian long-range missiles, new underwater weaponry and naval exercises inching closer to the coastlines of NATO allies. They see Moscow returning to a version of the Cold War-era “bastion concept,” a kind of area-denial strategy that sought to create safe waters for Soviet nuclear submarines to stage a nuclear counterstrike in the case of an atomic war.”
The Fraser Institute has written specifically about how Canada
“In 2001, Russia brazenly laid claim to almost half the Arctic Circle and all of the North Pole. During a 2007 expedition, Russia planted its flag under the ice far beyond the internationally recognized 200-mile territorial limit known as the exclusive economic zone. At the time, the lead explorer provocatively declared, The Arctic is ours.
Russia’s outsized Arctic claims rest on a dubious interpretation of an underwater ridge linking to the Russian landmass. Russia argues that this ridge is an extension of its own continental shelf.
Never much for subtlety or nuance, Moscow has begun training troops that could be engaged in Arctic combat missions and increased the operational radius of its northern submarine fleet, according to one Russian general.
Plus, Russian long-range bombers have started flying sorties again in the region, after nearly two decades of post-Cold War peace. The Canadian military reports that there have been 50 Russian incursions in the last three years. The most recent of these unfriendly flights occurred late last month, when a pair of Russian Tu-95 bombers approached Goose Bay. They were greeted and escorted away by Canadian F-18s.”
Canada’s response to this has been so weak (and keep in mind this was all before Russia invaded Ukraine), that our allies have offered to step in and do what we are failing to do:
“Canada has failed to protect its national interests in the Arctic, in the face of increasingly aggressive Russian (and Chinese) expansionism, which has prompted the United States to pick up some of the slack. Now the British want to join forces, too.
Right before the election, the Americans stepped in with a plan to beef up NORAD’s surveillance capabilities in the Far North, because Canada has fallen far behind other Arctic nations. Just after the election, Britain’s top military commander granted an exclusive interview to the CBC, in which he essentially said that Canada needed military help and the United Kingdom would like to provide it.
British Gen. Sir Nick Carter backed diplomatically into the issue by saying that Britain was “keen to co-operate” and learn how to fight in cold, remote environments. He then stated bluntly that the U.K. wants to “co-operate in terms of helping Canada do what Canada needs to do as an Arctic country.”
Tragically, this bilateral prop-up is in stark contrast to the trilateral pact formed between the U.S., U.K. and Australia to patrol the South China Sea, in order to keep China at bay. In that case, the Australians, who, unlike Canada, more than meet NATO’s spending obligations of two per cent of GDP, are acquiring eight nuclear-powered submarines for use in Asia.”
A serious country doesn’t outsource the defense of our own territory solely to our allies.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, even the most low-spending NATO countries are building up.
In a historic move, Germany has announced a huge military build-up:
“Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Sunday Germany would sharply increase its spending on defence to more than 2% of its economic output in one of a series of policy shifts prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Germany this week also halted its Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project with Russia and agreed to send weapons to Ukraine after long resisting pressure from Western allies on both issues and facing accusations of being too dovish towards the Kremlin.
“We will have to invest more in the security of our country to protect out freedom and democracy,” Scholz told an extraordinary session of the Bundestag lower house of parliament on Sunday.
Germany has long resisted pressure from the United States and others to raise its defence spending to 2% of economic output in the light of its 20th century history and resulting strong pacifism among its population.
According to NATO statistics, Germany is expected to have spent 1.53% of its GDP on defence in 2021.
Scholz said the government had decided to supply 100 billion euros for military investments from its 2022 budget. Germany’s entire defence budget by comparison was 47 billion euros in 2021.
Germany could purchase U.S. F-35 fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) to replace its ageing Tornado in the role of nuclear sharing, Scholz said.”
If Germany – after all of their history – can look at the current situation and realize that it’s time to get more energy from like-minded democracies and strengthen their military dramatically, there’s nothing stopping Canada from doing the same. And, unlike Germany, we have the luxury of being a massive potential producer of energy, so we can both fund our military expansion with our energy resources and help our allies, while reducing the leverage of Russia at the same time.
Strangling the oil sector
On that point – energy – I’ve written about this before and don’t need to go into extra detail (already did here) but suffice it to say that Canada has made an immense strategic error by not fully embracing our energy sector.
We have denied ourselves the opportunity to profit, and we have empowered authoritarian states like Russia in the process.
The more oil and gas Russia sells, the more weapons they can buy. And as we see, Russia is now using those weapons in the brutal and unjustified attack against the Ukrainian People.
While buying Russian oil & gas was bad enough considering how much we have here at home, the even bigger problem is that our failure to produce more oil & gas (caused by the dangerous ‘green policies’ of the Trudeau government), deepened Europe’s dependence on Russia.
That dependence led Russia to not only have more money for weapons and war, but to believe that the response to war would be muted. They thought their energy dominance over Europe would make any sanctions weak and ephemeral.
Of course, with Russia’s central bank blocked from most transactions, with many of their banks frozen out of the Swift system, the sanctions have been far tougher than expected. But that only took place after the invasion, and up until then Russia had been enriched and emboldened by the weak and naïve policies of the West.
Treating Canadians like the enemy
As we see above, Canada’s government has long failed to ensure our country is prepared to deal with external threats. Our military is underfunded, and our energy sector is smaller than it should be – leading to the absurdity of our country importing oil & gas.
But there’s another problem.
Befitting our lack of seriousness as a nation, our government has spent much of their time treating Canadians as the enemy rather than looking at external threats.
Look at how Justin Trudeau treated the Freedom Convoy.
He purposely divided and demonized Canadians in the last election, and then imposed a vaccine mandate on truckers that had no scientific backing.
It was a move designed purely to split the country.
When the convoy started gaining support across the nation, Trudeau dismissed and demonized it.
He then refused to meet with anyone involved in the convoy, and once again demonized the Canadians participating in the protest.
Finally, after doing everything he could to escalate things even more, he invoked the Emergencies Act, a brazen power-grab that the Liberals are desperately trying to retroactively rationalize.
We’ve seen the pattern with Trudeau.
When it comes to potential external opponents, Trudeau is ‘understanding’ and ‘reasonable,’ as he saves his anger for Canadians who ‘dare’ to disagree with him.
Trudeau was glad to praise China and Fidel Castro, and let China buy up larger portions of our country.
But when it comes to Canadians who disagree with him, Trudeau has zero time for dissent.
With legislation like Bill C-11 (the successor to C-10), and taxpayer-funded bailouts for the establishment press, Trudeau is trying to move Canada in the direction of more authoritarian countries by weakening independent media and concentration opinion-shaping power in the hands of the government.
Further, by focusing on dividing Canadians and by treating people within our country as the enemy, Trudeau weakens our nation internally, by making it far tougher to unify and bring people together, especially during a crisis.
A reversal in thinking
What we need in this country is a reversal in thinking.
Rather than using government power to demonize Canadian Citizens, we should be maximizing freedom within our borders, while having a strong military defense and strong energy security position to ensure we can both help our allies and defend ourselves.
The government should be focused on protecting all Canadians from hostile foreign powers like Russia and China, not on protecting its own political interests from Canadians who may happen to disagree with them.
We must expand our military, with tens of billions in new spending rapidly rolled out including the immediate purchase of fighter jets. If we need to bypass the usual procurement process, then so be it.
We must expand our presence in the arctic – where Russia has been building up as we sat back and did nothing.
We must expand recruitment, with higher pay and higher incentives – plus ironclad guarantees that veterans will be taken care of with dignity and support after their service.
And we must make long-term investments in military research and development, both on our own and in partnership with our allies in the US, UK, Australia, and Europe.
Our efforts should be targeted to areas where we can have an outsized impact, likely meaning a focus on building a large air force and developing hypersonic weapons. We should also seek to be a leader in drone development.
To pay for this, we can both freeze government spending elsewhere – rather than the large increases currently planned by the Liberals – and expand our oil and gas sector.
If we are selling more oil & gas to the United States and Europe and can displace much of Russia’s market share, we will be a wealthier and more powerful nation, and our democratic allies will be more secure.
Whether this will happen under the current government remains to be seen. It would require an admission that they have been wrong on both defense policy and energy policy. The German government had the courage to realize that, and it’s important for the future of our nation that the Canadian government does so as well.