The Runner Debates: Military Spending: Pro
Opinions / July 7, 2017
A military spending increase has been long overdue and is more important now than ever
Joseph Keller, web editor
In June the federal government announced plans to increase the national defence budget by $32.7 billion, an increase of 70 per cent. In addition to slightly increasing the size of the Canadian forces, the budget increase will pay for new ships, planes, and equipment.
The decision to raise military spending is long overdue, as Canadian Armed Forces have been suffering from years of neglect resulting in deteriorating equipment and inefficient procurement. The decision is also rather timely, as it comes during a moment of shifting status quos on the world stage. Now more than ever is the right time for Canada to increase its capability to defend our sovereignty.
The neglect of Canada’s armed forces has been apparent for some time. Canada’s warships are now decades old and are becoming increasingly costly and inefficient to keep seaworthy. Meanwhile, the government is still in the midst of a complex struggle to replace the more than 30-year-old CF-18 Hornet fighter jets.
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan made it clear that this influx of cash is necessary when he told reporters in April, “We are now in the troubling position where status quo spending on defence will not even maintain a status quo of capabilities. Current funding has us digging ourselves into a hole—a hole that gets deeper every year.”
Another issue affecting Canadian interests that an increased defence budget could address is arctic sovereignty. The Liberal’s spending announcement acknowledges that, in recent years, Russia has gained increasing ability to project force in the Arctic. Climate change and technological advancements are making the arctic increasingly accessible and the territory ever more valuable.
This is why it’s more important than ever for Canada to increase its capability to maintain control in the region. Increased military spending means better capability to monitor arctic air traffic, more patrol ships, and greater capability for search and rescue missions. All of these will be increasingly important as the arctic becomes more inhabited and economically important.
The spending announcement has been tied closely to the question of the United States’ continued international leadership, and for good reason. For decades, Canada’s strong ties to the United States have been a source of soft power on the world stage. With the election of Donald Trump and his isolationist agenda, this arrangement has been put into serious question. Trump has already threatened a U.S. pull-out from NATO and has expressed condonation for Russian expansionism.
Canada can no longer expect the United States to step up for Canadian interests, so we need to increase our capability to stand up for our own interests.
A significant increase in Canadian military spending is necessary. We are not a militaristic nation, nor should we become one, but as the U.S. abandons its role as an international hegemony, it falls to our nation to ensure that we have the capability to stand on our own when threats to our interests arise.