Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday March 11, 2022
Military neglect catches up with Canada
It was reassuring to hear Justin Trudeau pledge Canada’s unwavering support for its European allies this week. It would have been even better if the prime minister had a strong Canadian military to back him up. But he doesn’t and brave words won’t be enough to make 150,000 Russian soldiers retreat from Ukraine. Just when it’s needed more than at any time since the Second World War, Canada’s military muscle has gone soft because a generation of federal governments consistently went cheap on military spending. And Canadians let them do it.
Our soldiers, sailors and aircrew are without doubt well-trained and respected internationally. But they are too few in number and too poorly equipped to do the job Canada expects them to do. Despite more than a decade of trying, we have yet to replace our ancient fleet of CF-18 fighter jets, our outdated frigates or our retired naval destroyers. Our Armed Forces need 10,000 more people to reach full strength — but such growth is nowhere in sight. In fact, to meet our NATO commitments, we would have to boost our annual $24-billion military budget by about $9 billion. At this point, there is no indication the federal government is prepared to do that.