Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Canada Is Having Problems With Its Defense Budget – Which Brings Up a Profound Question

One For Which This Site Does Not Have the Answer

The Conservative party has been in charge of Canada for a while now, and the country has not done too badly, in part because Conservatives in Canada are for the most part reasonable rational governors and not like their crazy American cousins.  But with fiscal pressure increasing a favorite program of Conservatives everywhere, national defense, is coming under attack.

                                                                                                                                             in The Economist

Looking for an enemy in all the wrong places - because there are no right places

When they came to power the Conservatives in Canada increased defense spending, which of course helped the country weather the economic recession.

The Conservatives set out to reverse what they claimed was neglect of the armed forces, pouring money into troops and equipment. Defence spending had already started to rise again in the last few years of Liberal government; but in the first two years of a Conservative one it shot up to C$19.2 billion ($17.1 billion) in 2008-09 from C$15.7 billion in 2006-07. To existing orders for support vehicles, search-and-rescue helicopters and howitzers, the Conservatives added plans to buy F-35 fighter jets for the air force, support ships and Arctic patrol vessels for the navy, plus a polar icebreaker for the Coast Guard, and some transport helicopters. 

But now things are tough all over.

Money is tight. The federal budget slipped back into deficit in 2008-09 and the government’s determination to return to surplus before the next election in 2015 means even a favoured department like defence is not being spared. It lost just over C$2 billion in the first two rounds of government-wide spending cuts and looks likely to lose as much again as the 2015 deadline looms. The “Canada First” strategy is unaffordable and there are mutterings about a new decade of darkness.

This brings us to the question of the day, what exactly is Canada defending itself against?  Other than the United States, which pretty much gave up the idea of annexing Canada in the 19th century has any country at any time under any circumstances ever talked of or speculated about attacking or invading Canada?  Who exactly are Canada’s enemies?  Even North Korea and Iran don’t seem interested in going after the Canadians. 

So yes, Canada will continue to spend lavishly but less so on national defense.  And the country may have to devote a large portion of that spending in trying to determine just who the threat to Canada is.  Given the difficulty of that task it will take a lot of money.

1 comment:

  1. At least Canada only spends about $20 billion on its military. We're up to about $680 billion.