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Justin Trudeau hints at boosting Canada’s military spending

Justin Trudeau hints at boosting Canada’s military spending

Canada says it will look at increasing its defence spending and tacked on 10 more Russian names to an ever growing sanctions list.

By Tonda MacCharles
Ottawa Bureau
Mon., March 7, 2022

Riga, LATVIA—On the 13th day of the brutal Russian bid to claim Ukraine as its own, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is showing up at the Latvian battle group led by Canadian soldiers, waving the Maple Leaf and a vague hint at more money for the military.

Canada has been waving the NATO flag for nearly seven years in Latvia as a bulwark against Russia’s further incursions in Eastern Europe.

Canada stepped up to lead one of NATO’s four battle groups in 2015 — part of the defensive alliance’s display of strength and solidarity with weaker member states after Russia invaded Ukraine and seized the Crimean peninsula in 2014. Trudeau arrived in the Latvian capital late Monday after meetings in the U.K. with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Earlier Monday, faced with a seemingly unstoppable war in Ukraine, Trudeau said he will look at increasing Canada’s defence spending. Given world events, he said there are “certainly reflections to have.”

And Canada tacked on 10 more Russian names to an ever-growing sanctions list.

The latest round of sanctions includes names Trudeau said were identified by jailed Russian opposition leader and Putin nemesis Alexei Navalny.

However, on a day when Trudeau cited the new sanctions, and Johnson touted new measures meant to expose Russian property owners in his country, Rutte admitted sanctions are not working.

Yet they all called for more concerted international efforts over the long haul, including more economic measures and more humanitarian aid, with Johnson and Rutte divided over how quickly countries need to get off Russian oil and gas.

The 10 latest names on Canada’s target list do not include Roman Abramovich — a Russian billionaire Navalny has been flagging to Canada since at least 2017. Canada appears to have sanctioned about 20 of the 35 names on Navalny’s list.

The Conservative opposition says the Liberal government is not yet exerting maximum pressure on Putin, and should do more to bolster Canadian Forces, including by finally approving the purchase of fighter jets.

Foreign affairs critic Michael Chong said in an interview that Ottawa must still sanction “additional oligarchs close to President Putin who have significant assets in Canada.”

Abramovich owns more than a quarter of the public shares in steelmaking giant Evraz, which has operations in Alberta and Saskatchewan and has supplied most of the steel for the government-owned Trans Mountain pipeline project.

Evraz’s board of directors also includes two more Russians the U.S. government identified as “oligarchs” in 2019 — Aleksandr Abramov and Aleksandr Frolov — and its Canadian operations have received significant support from the federal government.

That includes at least $27 million in emergency wage subsidies during the pandemic, as well as $7 million through a fund meant to help heavy-polluters reduce emissions that cause climate change, according to the company’s most recent annual report.

In addition to upping defence spending, the Conservatives want NORAD’s early warning system upgraded, naval shipbuilding ramped up and Arctic security bolstered.

In London, Johnson sat down with Trudeau and Rutte at the Northolt airbase. Their morning meetings had a rushed feel, with Johnson starting to usher press out before Trudeau spoke. His office said later that the British PM couldn’t squeeze the full meeting in at 10 Downing Street because Johnson’s “diary” was so busy that day. The three leaders held an afternoon news conference at 10 Downing.

But before that Trudeau met with the Queen, saying she was “insightful” and they had a “useful, for me anyway, conversation about global affairs.”

Trudeau meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Tuesday in Latvia.

The prime minister will also meet with three Baltic leaders, the prime ministers of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, in the Latvian capital of Riga.

The Liberals announced they would increase the 500 Canadian Forces in Latvia by another 460 troops. The Canadians are leading a multinational battle group, one of four that are part of NATO’s deployments in the region.

Another 3,400 Canadians could be deployed to the region in the months to come, on standby for NATO orders.

But Canada’s shipments of lethal aid to Ukraine were slow to come in the view of the Conservatives, and the Ukrainian Canadian community.

And suddenly Western allies are eyeing each other’s defence commitments.

At the Downing Street news conference, Rutte noted the Netherlands will increase its defence budget to close to two per cent of GDP. Germany has led the G7, and doubled its defence budget in the face of Putin’s invasion and threats. Johnson said the U.K. defence spending is about 2.4 per cent and declined to comment on Canada’s defence spending which is 1.4 per cent of GDP.

But Johnson didn’t hold back.

“What we can’t do, post the invasion of Ukraine is assume that we go back to a kind of status quo ante, a kind of new normalization in the way that we did after the … seizure of Crimea and the Donbas area,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to recognize that things have changed and that we need a new focus on security and I think that that is kind of increasingly understood by everybody.”

Trudeau stood by his British and Dutch counterparts and pledged Canada would do more.

He defended his government’s record, saying Ottawa is gradually increasing spending over the next decade by 70 per cent. Then Trudeau admitted more might be necessary.

“We also recognize that context is changing rapidly around the world and we need to make sure that women and men have certainty and our forces have all the equipment necessary to be able to stand strongly as we always have. As members of NATO. We will continue to look at what more we can do.”

The three leaders — Johnson, a conservative and Trudeau and Rutte, progressive liberals — in a joint statement said they “will continue to impose severe costs on Russia.”

Arriving for the news conference from Windsor Castle, Trudeau had to detour to enter Downing Street as loud so-called Freedom Convoy protesters bellowed from outside the gate. They carried signs marked “Tuck Frudeau” and “Free Tamara” (Lich).

Protester Jeff Wyatt who said he has no Canadian ties told the Star he came to stand up for Lich and others who were leading a “peaceful protest” worldwide against government “lies” about COVID-19 and what he called Trudeau’s “tyranny.”

Elsewhere in London, outside the Russian embassy, other protesters and passersby reflected on what they said was real tyranny — the Russian attack on Ukraine. “I think we should be as tough as possible to get this stopped, as tough as possible,” said protester Clive Martinez.
 

GK .Dundas

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That and the fact that he had no coms during a crisis back home and couldn't figure out why people were upset.
Palliser was utterly tone deaf.
I came to the conclusion not long after he took as Premier that he hadn't a clue how Government worked and lacked the mental agility to change.
He didn't seem to understand that it wasn't like running his own company.
 

RangerRay

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I hear the PM is off on vacation in Costa Rica. Hmmmm

When our Premier - a Conservative - went there (he owns property there) he was raked over the coals as people thought he should vacation in Manitoba.
I think part of it was he wasn’t gone for a couple of weeks but a month or so.

But part of it was also class envy.
 

OldSolduer

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That and the fact that he had no coms during a crisis back home and couldn't figure out why people were upset.
Palliser was utterly tone deaf.
I came to the conclusion not long after he took as Premier that he hadn't a clue how Government worked and lacked the mental agility to change.
He didn't seem to understand that it wasn't like running his own company.
I'll concede those points. Pallister I never liked and his successor less so.
 

Kirkhill

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Melanie Joly - apparently Sabrina Maddeaux is not a fan.


Sabrina Maddeaux: The incredibly incompetent Mélanie Joly​

Foreign affairs is too important a cabinet position to be handled so carelessly

Author of the article:
Sabrina Maddeaux
Publishing date:
Aug 05, 2022 • 4 hours ago • 3 minute read • 409 Comments


Something is seriously wrong at Global Affairs Canada — and it’s getting harder not to conclude a change must occur at the very top.

Not all cabinet positions are created equal, and Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly’s is one that literally deals with life and death on a daily basis. There’s little room for error, let alone the displays of gross incompetence, dysfunction and/or bad judgment we’ve seen as of late. The job is simply too important. The stakes are too high.

In June, we learned a foreign affairs staffer was sent to attend a garden party at Russia’s embassy in Ottawa. What followed was a chaotic flurry of finger-pointing between Joly’s office and Global Affairs staffers about who knew what and when. The public never did get a satisfactory answer.

Now we have another round of “did she know or didn’t she”— this time with lives on the line. The Globe and Mail reports that, in the weeks leading up to the Russian invasion, Canada abandoned its Ukrainian embassy staff as Canadians rushed to evacuate themselves and their pets. Even more appalling, diplomats had seen intelligence reports that Ukrainian staffers were likely on Russian kill lists.

This decision to desert roughly 50 loyal employees, to leave them for death, detention or worse given Russian troops’ well-documented predilection for rape and torture, reportedly came from the top.

According to Globe and Mail sources, Ottawa clearly instructed Canadian diplomats to not tell Ukrainian staff about the impending invasion or the target on their backs. They had to learn about both through the grapevine via U.S. embassy employees, who were warned of the danger.

Remember, this choice was made at a time when it was widely believed Putin’s troops would overwhelm Ukraine and capture Kyiv within weeks, if not days.

Local staffers were even denied requests to work remotely farther from the battlefront in Lviv or neighbouring Poland. This while Canadian MPs, not in a war zone, still can’t bring themselves to physically attend question period or even the recent Hockey Canada hearings.

Many Ukrainian staffers eventually found ways to evacuate themselves, helped by $90,000 they raised mostly from Canadians who’d worked in the country. This bears repeating: Canada’s Ukrainian employees had to crowdfund their evacuation so they wouldn’t face likely detention, torture or death. With allies like us, who even needs enemies?

As for Joly, she again claims ignorance. She says she didn’t know about Five Eyes intelligence reports that warned Ukrainian embassy staff were likely on Russian hit lists.

This boggles the mind on many levels. Let’s presume for a minute Joly is telling the truth — a presumption that admittedly requires quite the suspension of disbelief.

This would mean senior Global Affairs staff are routinely failing to inform the minister about critical information.

It would also mean Joly somehow managed to miss headline reports in the world’s largest media outlets that Russia was preparing kill lists.

Then she would have to be so naive, so terribly uninformed about world history and global affairs that she didn’t perceive a risk to Ukrainian staffers that a first-year poli sci student could’ve predicted.

And this is only the Ukraine file. Where’s the China policy that was promised back in 2019? Sources tell the Globe and Mail it’s in the works, but as an Indo-Pacific strategy that looks like it won’t mention … wait for it … China. Meanwhile, the ambassador to China role has been empty for six months.

Despite deciding in 2017 a “focused effort” was needed to deal with what the U.N. calls ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and their further suffering in Bangladesh refugee camps, Canada still isn’t doing much beyond naming special envoys.

Joly says Global Affairs is undertaking an internal process to sort out the Ukraine fiasco among other problems. But the time for vague and never-ending processes, reviews and committee groupthink is over. It’s time for decisive action.

There really should be no scenario in which Joly can in good conscience keep her job.

Ideally, she should step down so someone more capable can lead the way. But if she won’t, keeping Joly in the post would fit the definition of insanity and would inevitably put more lives in danger. Repeated, easily preventable failures of this magnitude aren’t a learning curve, they’re red lights flashing over the eject minister button.

National Post
 

RangerRay

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Her incompetence has been on full display since elevated to the “C” Team of cabinet a few years ago. Warren Kinsella has been talking about her incompetence well before her elevation to the “A” Team. She must have something on someone!
 

Kirkhill

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And Ukraine's artillery is shy 100,000 rounds of 155mm while Canada tries to negotiate a deal with South Korea for the ammunition. Presumably Canada is trying to negotiate offsets for a Quebec papermill or some such.

Meanwhile S. Korea is probably thinking it may have a lot of local targets for that ammunition if Nancy Pelosi hangs around much longer.

 

MilEME09

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And Ukraine's artillery is shy 100,000 rounds of 155mm while Canada tries to negotiate a deal with South Korea for the ammunition. Presumably Canada is trying to negotiate offsets for a Quebec papermill or some such.

Meanwhile S. Korea is probably thinking it may have a lot of local targets for that ammunition if Nancy Pelosi hangs around much longer.

Do we have any domestic 155 production we can ramp up?
 

GK .Dundas

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No , he admitted it himself .
His defense was that when he went down there it was to get away from it all.
As I recall it wasn't too long after he had been elected as Premier.
 

YZT580

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Her incompetence has been on full display since elevated to the “C” Team of cabinet a few years ago. Warren Kinsella has been talking about her incompetence well before her elevation to the “A” Team. She must have something on someone!
I have to say this carefully to avoid or at least deflect in-coming but at least two of the reasons deal with sex and Quebec. She represents an important riding and her credentials are great academically. According to her biography though she has never had a real job for any length of time but has been involved in politics. She became a cabinet minister almost as soon as she was first elected. Perhaps her boss is the one who should be replaced first as his judgement of people and their skills is definitely questionable
Her incompetence has been on full display since elevated to the “C” Team of cabinet a few years ago. Warren Kinsella has been talking about her incompetence well before her elevation to the “A” Team. She must have something on someone!
Two
 

Spencer100

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Her incompetence has been on full display since elevated to the “C” Team of cabinet a few years ago. Warren Kinsella has been talking about her incompetence well before her elevation to the “A” Team. She must have something on someone!
She's just the right 50% of peoplekind that is all.
 

Spencer100

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And Ukraine's artillery is shy 100,000 rounds of 155mm while Canada tries to negotiate a deal with South Korea for the ammunition. Presumably Canada is trying to negotiate offsets for a Quebec papermill or some such.

Meanwhile S. Korea is probably thinking it may have a lot of local targets for that ammunition if Nancy Pelosi hangs around much longer.

South Korea will be the big winner in all of this. Their defense industries will be running full out for years. Tanks, planes, ships and ammo.
 

OldSolduer

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Reverse cowgirl? 🤔
That's a good one.

Seriously we - Canada - have abandoned faithful allies twice in the last 12 months. Our incompetent - and uncaring - Liberal Party of Canada is concerned about ONE thing - that the Liberal Party of Canada remain in power no matter what the cost.

I am afraid the cost will be Canadian lives and the lives of some of our allies - if we have any left.
 
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No , he admitted it himself .
His defense was that when he went down there it was to get away from it all.
As I recall it wasn't too long after he had been elected as Premier.
He had all the means and devices to stay in touch to deal with priority communications. He had plenty of staff and a government bureaucracy in Manitoba to do their jobs and take care of everything else. But lets not let the truth stand in the way of a manufactured for the media NDP crisis.
Democratic governments of any stripe do not rely and only act on the rule of 1 leader regardless of who is elected.

footnote* He was first elected in 1992 and served in both federal and provincial politics until his resignation. 29 years is a good indication that he knew how government worked.

Sorry, took a hard left and had to bring it back to the right, back to Trudeau's promises now....
 
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