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Ottawa to pump $8 billion in new defence spending

By Steve MacArthur Apr 8, 2024 | 2:26 PM

Ottawa is pumping $8 billion into our military’s defence system to boost surveillance and protect  the Arctic from foreign threats.

The money will be spent on things like utility helicopters, long range missiles and equipment.

It will increase spending to $73 billion, which is set to be spent over the next 20 years.

“As Arctic waters become increasingly navigable due to the disproportionate impacts of climate change, Canada will be exposed to new vulnerabilities in the North, which is also NATO’s Northern and Western flank,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “The most urgent and important task we face is asserting Canada’s sovereignty in the Arctic and Northern regions, where the changing physical and geopolitical landscapes have created new threats.”

However, it falls short of NATO’s call for two per cent spending for member nations.

Canada is now at 1.76 per cent with these new investments.

The strategy identifies both China and Russia as potential threats and reaffirms Canada commitment to supporting Ukraine.

Highlights include:

  • 1.4 billion over 20 years to acquire specialized maritime sensors to conduct ocean surveillance. They will be used to monitor Canada’s maritime approaches, including in the Arctic and North, and will be a critical component of the CAFs’ ability to defend Canada from a growing range and sophistication of underwater threats, including vessel-launched missiles, underwater systems, ships, and submarines, on all three coasts.
  • $18.4 billion over 20 years to acquire a more modern, mobile, and effective tactical helicopter capability. This will provide the CAF with the speed and airlift capacity to assert Canada’s sovereignty and respond to natural disasters and emergencies throughout the country.
  • $218 million over 20 years for Northern Operational Support Hubs to better ensure Canadian sovereignty by establishing a greater year-round presence across the Arctic and the North, and invest in multi-use infrastructure that also meets the needs of territories, Indigenous Peoples, and Northern communities.
  • $307 million over 20 years for airborne early warning aircraft that will vastly improve Canada’s ability to detect, track, and prioritize airborne threats sooner, ensuring a faster, better coordinated response with the United States when required.

At the same time, the security and prosperity of Canadians is ensured by the international rules and institutions that we helped build. Our investments to help the CAF advance Canada’s global interests and values include:

  • $9.9 billion over 20 years to improve the sustainment of our naval fleets.This will include extending the life of the Halifax-class frigates and preserving the Royal Canadian Navy’s interim at-sea replenishment capability. These investments will help Canada maintain a globally deployable naval fleet capable of supporting NATO and engaging in operations, exercises, training, and defence diplomacy with key Allies and partners, among other activities.
  • $5.5 billion over 20 years to acquire a comprehensive worldwide satellite communication capability. Working with our Allies, we will jointly develop updated access to the satellite constellations that enable the military to operate effectively around the world, including by better defending its communications against jamming or disruptions by adversaries while deployed.
  • $2.8 billion over 20 years to stand up a joint Canadian cyber operations capability with the Communications Security Establishment, integrating the unique strengths of each organization into a unified team that will conduct active cyber operations in support of Canadian interests.
  • $2.7 billion over 20 years to acquire long-range missile capabilities to enable our Armed Forces to deter threats to Canada from an appropriate distance and reach targets at greater ranges than our adversaries in combat.