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article imageOp-Ed: Canada uses Trump's failings to defend doing what Trump wants

By Ken Hanly     Jun 17, 2017 in Politics
Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan reveals that the Canadian government will increase defence spending by 70 percent over the next decade.
Canada's defense spending will increase from $18.9 billion now to $32.7 billion. When asked where the money would come from Sajjan would not say but promised it would be there when required. Money spent on defense is money not available for other programs such as medical care, infrastructure improvements, and other expenditures that arguably would be of much greater value to Canadians.
Sajjan said that Canada will add hundreds of new elite special forces commandos, wage offensive cyber warfare, and also deploy armed drones to international battlefields as part of its military response to global security threats. No doubt these efforts will relieve some of the burden on the US of being a global policeman. As a recent article notes the secrecy that surrounds all the work of the Canadian special forces, and expansion of cyberattacks "raise questions about transparency and civil liberties". The special forces will increase by 605 people and they are to receive new airborne intelligence, surveillance, and intelligence tools. The announcement of the increase comes just two weeks after Trudeau met with NATO countries in Brussels.
The New Democratic Party (NDP) supposedly to the left of the liberals is no critic of military spending except to claim it was too low under the Harper Conservatives. UBC Professor Michael Byers, a former NDP candidate, argued that new Canadian defence spending should come quickly. Byer's was also an adviser to NDP leader Tom Mulcair. Mulciar criticized the Liberals for not spending enough on the military in the March budget: "Canadians have every right to be concerned. We are in desperate need of new ships for our Navy, we're in desperate need of new fighter aircraft for our Air Force, and there's no way that with the type of budget we've seen here that they're going to be getting them."
For a considerable time the NDP policy was to pull out of NATO. However the NDP has for some time abandoned its earlier policies many of them socialist: "With the arrival of Jack Layton as party leader in 2003 came an overhaul that included not only more robust fund raising tactics but also a policy review committee to weed out outdated resolutions from the policy manual. The post-Halifax policy book still contains so-called leftist staples such as the decriminalization of marijuana and “an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian land,” but gone are the calls for Canada to leave NATO or nationalize banks." Of course long before that the party abandoned the aim of its predecessor the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation(CCF) to replace capitalism. As the CCF Regina Manifesto put it in its first sentence: "The CCF is a federation of organizations whose purpose is the establishment in Canada of a Co-operative Commonwealth in which the principle regulating production, distribution and exchange will be the supplying of human needs and not the making of profits." While the Canadian left may criticize the Liberals for not spending enough on defense, US President Donald Trump is happy that the Trudeau government is doing exactly what he has long recommended spend more on the military and pay a fairer share of NATO expenses.
The White House reported that Trump had praised Trudeau's increased military spending during a phone call after the announcement. Trump had earlier been lashing out at NATO allies by not paying their fair share of two percent of GDP towards military spending. Ironically the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, Chrystia Freeland said: "The fact that our friend and ally has come to question the very worth of its mantle of global leadership puts into sharper focus the need for the rest of us to set our own clear and sovereign course." There is almost zero likelihood that Canada will steer an independent course from the US. Its ties with the US military-industrial complex are too strong. What nonsensical rhetoric "mantle of global leadership", "clear and sovereign course". Variations on this nonsense can be found in a recent New York Times article.
Canada is a country that supposedly showed its independence from the US by not participating in the Iraq war while undertaking a larger role in Afghanistan. Yet, Canada awarded a medal to Walter Natynczyk a medal for service during the Iraq war, a war we were not supposed to be involved in. He later became chief of staff of the Canadian army for a number of years. In February of 2012 Natynczyk was awarded the Legion of Merit (Degree of Commander) by US General Martin Dempsey. There are obviously close ties between US and Canadian military.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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