Tobi Cohen, Post Media News
9 March 2011
“The federal government is spending more on the military today than at any point since the end of the Second World War, according to a new study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives that argues Canada isn’t getting enough bang for its buck.
This country is expected to spend more than $23 billion on the military in 2010-11, about 2% more than it did the previous year and about 26% more than it did the year the Berlin Wall came down.
That said, Canada’s status as an international player has been undermined by its failure to win a seat on the UN Security Council.
Author Bill Robinson argues that Canada has no real military power or influence despite being the world’s 13th biggest military spender and NATO’s sixth biggest spender, so ought shift to consider a drastic shift in priorities.
That kind of money would allow us to operate in a much more significant manner in other ways in the world, most notably through things like development assistance, he said Tuesday. If we were spending anywhere near those kinds of moneys on that kind of thing we would be a . . . great power in those areas where we might actually make a difference.
While the ramp-up in military spending first started in 1999, Robinson said the post-9/11 war on terror saw spending rise by 54 per cent over the past decade.
The Afghanistan mission alone likely accounts for about half the $30.9 billion additional dollars Canada has spent since the 2001 terror attacks. Afghanistan also usurped much of Canada’s capacity, he said, adding the country is now down to just 56 active peacekeepers and is now 60th among 102 contributing nations.
Canada could make a much greater contribution to global security and humanitarian action by shifting resources to non-military security efforts and to peacekeeping operations, said the senior adviser with the Rideau Institute, a left-leaning public policy think tank.
Over the next 17 years, Canada will also spend about $85 billion on equipment, including warships and the controversial F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets.”
To read the Canadian Military Spending 2010-11 Report, please click here.
Bill Robinson is the editor of Ceasefire.ca.