Canada has set out a plan to boost military spending by 73 per cent in response to pressure from the US for allies to hike defence outlays and concerns that US President Donald Trump is steering his country away from its decades-old role as leader on the global stage.
Defence minister Harjit Sajjan, unveiling a new 20-year defence policy on Wednesday, said Canada’s overall defence budget will rise to $24.2bn by 2026-27 from $14bn now.
“If we’re serious about our role in the world, we must be serious about funding our military,” said Mr Sajjan. “And we are.”
The increases would take Canada’s defence spending to 1.4 per cent of GDP by 2024-25, he said, nearer the 2 per cent goal set for Nato members and for which Mr Trump is pushing hard as he pursues his aim for greater “burden-sharing” among allies.
Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland had framed greater investment in security as part of a need “to set our own clear and sovereign course” in a speech on Tuesday, but critics instead described it as an attempt to appease the US.
“This is a total capitulation to the bullying of President Donald Trump,” said Peggy Mason, Canada’s former ambassador for disarmament and president of the Rideau Institute in Ottawa. “The Trudeau liberals did not campaign on, and in my view have no mandate for, these increases and there’s been no change in security to justify such astronomical increases. The only thing that’s changed is Donald Trump has been elected.”
“这是对唐纳德特朗普总统欺凌行为的全面投降，”加拿大前裁军大使、渥太华里多研究所(Rideau Institute)所长佩吉梅森(Peggy Mason)说，“以特鲁多(Trudeau)为首的自由党人并没有倡议增加军费，而且在我看来他们也无权增加，安全形势也并未出现什么能够证明应当如此大幅提高军费的改变。唯一改变的事情就是唐纳德特朗普当选了。”
Ms Freeland had said that Canada needed to step up as the US questions “the very worth of its mantle of global leadership”.
The US secretary for defence Jim Mattis said he was “heartened” by the new policy.
Canada is the sixth-highest spender in Nato and 16th in the world, according to the StockholmInternational Peace Research Institute. Canada is a frequent contributor to overseas coalitions,including the war in Afghanistan as well as UN peacekeeping missions.
Military experts say some of the plans, which include buying 15 new warships, 88 new fighterjets and recruiting 5,000 new troops, are long overdue.
Walter Dorn, professor at the Royal Military College of Canada and Canadian Forces College,said Ottawa had repeatedly postponed upgrading and replacing its fleet of helicopters, shipsand other equipment for nearly 25 years.
加拿大皇家军事学院(Royal Military College of Canada)、加拿大部队学院(Canadian Forces College)教授沃尔特多恩(Walter Dorn)表示，将近25年来，加拿大政府已多次推迟升级和更新其直升机编队、舰艇及其他装备。