The Runner Debates: Military Spending: Con
Opinions / July 7, 2017
The Trudeau administration is being bullied by Trump, not representing Canadian ideals
Alyssa Laube, Associate Editor
As Trump’s America becomes less of an ally and more of a threat, Trudeau’s Canada is being pressured to step up to the plate on defence and foreign affairs. A response to this development arose recently, with the Canadian federal government’s announcement of an enormous 70 per cent increase to its defence budget over the next 10 years.
The reasoning behind this seems to be that Canada isn’t in good shape to be fighting wars anymore, and it’s very likely that it will soon have no other choice but to do so. In order for that to go well for us, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says that we need to funnel billions of dollars into the troops and their weapons.
It’s true that Canada can’t rely on its big brother down south to shield it from conflict anymore, but the United States’ power was never the sole reason for Canadian disinterest in warfare. As a nation, Canada identifies with peacekeeping and multiculturalism. Fighting, killing, and controlling other parts of the world has never been at the core of how our country represents itself. It’s not an idea that Trudeau ran or won the election on because it’s not a priority for many Canadian people, and very seldom has it had to be.
In the rare instances that Canadians were threatened with war, we fared well compared to almost every other part of the world. We haven’t been involved in a major conflict since the second World War, and although we have played roles in other wars, such as those in Afghanistan and Libya, we were always riding on American coattails as their troops and machinery burned often inhumane, needless, and wildly expensive paths of destruction.
With this in mind, it makes sense that Trudeau won the election after promising that he would end Canadian airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq and spend less money on war planes, but his vision for the Canadian military was always conflicted. He also vowed to maintain the federal defence budget with plans for future increases but later decreased it. Now, he’s putting 70 per cent more funds into national defence.
If sovereignty is Canada’s concern, Trudeau should have followed through on his promise to supply icebreakers, offshore patrol ships, and surface combatants needed by the Navy, especially those maintaining our foothold on the Arctic. He should have followed through on his promise to adhere to the suggestions of the Canadian Forces’ Report on Transformation for how to create a more efficient military, and he never should have promised a revitalisation of Canadian peacekeeping.
Being bullied by Donald Trump into funneling over $32 billion into a defence budget that should have been managed properly in the first place not only shows Trudeau’s inability to stay true to his word—it shows the government’s willingness to roll over any time the States says so.
Ironically, what this says to 2015’s Liberal voters is that Canada has a soft underbelly and a blurry self-image, and that instead of standing tall as a peaceful and independent nation in times of uncertainty, our government only plans to throw money at anything the Americans tell them to. In a future where Donald Trump will be the primary representative of those Americans, Canada can’t afford to be bossed around.
Part of this military increase will mean Canada’s equipment of special forces commandos, cyber warfare attacks, and armed drone strikes. As a young Canadian, this frightens me in a very real and shocking way. In response to the fear of being swallowed by the United States, it seems that we are becoming them, and I don’t want to spend the remainder of my life here in fear of instigation and retaliation. I have never had to, and it would be a tragedy for that to change.