Many people don’t want to hear it, but in a world that is becoming rapidly more dangerous, Canada needs to freeze most spending aside from the military.
Since 2019, federal spending has surged dramatically almost everywhere.
The one exception?
The Canadian Armed Forces.
Even after they changed how our military spending is tallied up to artificially raise the number, Canada’s military spending as a percentage of GDP has remained around 1-1.2%, woefully below the bare minimum 2% figure expected of NATO members and to which Canada had agreed.
Instead, the CAF has been allowed to languish, with recruitment falling, procurement remaining an absolute disaster, scandal after scandal weakening the reputation of the military, political intervention using the military as a social experiment tool, and a widespread refusal to invest in our defence leaving Canada shockingly vulnerable.
This has brought us to the point where our nation of 40 million people spread out over a vast, resource-rich landscape – has almost no way to defend our own territory.
We are almost completely reliant upon our allies.
Chiefly the United States, but also the United Kingdom, who – watching our pathetic refusal to protect our own North – has started to increase their activities in the region in our absence.
Of course, every ship, plane, and soldier our allies have to divert to doing the job of defending Canada is a ship, plane, and soldier that is taken away from dealing with immediate threats – meaning Canada is making our allies weaker.
This must come to an end.
Putting off the decision only makes it worse
Had we started building up our armed forces 5 or so years ago, we would be seeing results today.
Had we cleaned house and strengthened oversight of the broken procurement system, that system would be improved today.
Had we sought to improve military morale and build up pride in Canada’s military history, it would be easier to recruit today.
We did none of that.
What that means is we will have to spend much more money and in a much more desperate fashion in order to get to a bare-minimum level of respectable military strength.
But this is what we must do.
With China rapidly expanding their Armed Forces, with North Korea giving artillery shells to Russia as Russia continues to attack Ukraine, with Iran funding terror groups like Hamas and Hezbollah and trying to destroy Israel, authoritarian dictatorships with a genocidal agenda are putting massive pressure on the free world.
There is simply no excuse at this point for Canada to continue pretending we can get away with letting our military fall apart.
The risk of a massive global conflict is rising, and if we want to both reduce that risk and be prepared to deal with it if necessary, then we need a much larger and a much more well-equipped military.
And that means spending a lot of money.
Now, this is obviously more difficult due to our weak economy and already significant budget deficits.
Thus, it means we have to make tough choices.
It means Canada – realistically – needs to freeze almost all non-defence spending, while spending at least $20-$30 billion more per year on our military.
We likely need an emergency infusion of funds of about $20 billion immediately to purchase equipment from our allies.
We should be expediting the purchase of F-35s, expediting training for pilots and expediting the construction of facilities to our new fighter jets.
We should be buying up surplus American equipment – tanks, artillery, whatever we can get our hands on after Ukraine has gotten what they need.
We should be investing in our own defence-industrial base and military research and development.
And yes, we must continue to provide support to both Ukraine and Israel.
China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and terror groups like Hamas are all working together.
And this means democratic nations must work together.
When we buy a new fighter jet, we are enhancing the strength of the free world.
When we help Ukraine fight off Russia, we are enhancing the strength of the free world.
And when we stand with Israel in their fight against a genocidal terror organization that is backed by Iran, we are enhancing the strength of the free world.
We have to do it all.
People don’t want to hear this of course.
People want this all to go away.
They want everything to return to normal.
But so long as China, Russia, and Iran are led by dictators who seek to reshape the world order, weaken the Western world, and replace democracy with genocidal dictatorships, the West must be ready to respond.
Canada can afford to double our military spending, if we are willing to make difficult choices and freeze spending in most other areas.
What we can’t afford is to pretend everything is fine and pretend that we can escape the consequences of an authoritarian global takeover.
We must stand with our allies. We must stand with our fellow democracies. And we must take immediate action to build up our own military strength so we can survive in an increasingly dangerous world.