A new study shows Canada will spend at least $22.3 billion on its military forces in 2010-11 which represents an increase of 54 percent since 9/11.
The study, conducted by Bill Robinson, a senior advisor for the Rideau Institute for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) says twelve years of budget increases have left Canadian military spending higher now than it was during the Cold War or indeed at any time since the end of the Second World War, reports CTV News.
Mr. Robinson said in his report, "Canada is the 13th largest military spender in the world and the 6th largest within the 26-member NATO alliance."
Once a leader in UN peacekeeping, Canada currently contributes just 56 military personnel to UN peacekeeping operations, making Canada 60th on the list of 102 contributing countries. Canada's inability to contribute to UN peacekeeping operations and its inability to fund non-military contributions to global security and humanitarian action has come mainly from its mission in Afghanistan, which has absorbed a large part of the recent increases in Canadian military spending.
Canada’s participation in the Afghanistan mission alone probably accounts for about half of the $30.9 billion in extra spending that has taken place since 9/11 says the report.
The study (pdf) says that Canada's military budgets over the next 20 years, estimated to be in the $390-$410 billion dollar range, would be better spent on international aid and fighting climate change.
Some $85 billion will likely go to capital purchases over that period, ranging from warships to armoured vehicles to soldiers’ rifles and everything in between. The government’s controversial planned purchase of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will reportedly account for about $9 billion of that spending. Counting both capital spending and maintenance spending, the F-35 purchase could cost as much as $30 billion.
Robinson says, "Canada could make a much greater contribution to global security and humanitarian action by shifting resources to non-military security efforts and to peacekeeping operations. Such a shift would make Canada truly a great power in the world of development assistance and humanitarian aid. This is an arena in which Canada could 'punch above its weight' on an issue crucial to human welfare and global security."