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Kheiriddin: Canada needs the ability to defend itself in an increasingly uncertain world

National Post: 'How would Canada protect its soil, and its sovereignty, if it came under threat? What would we do if Russia or China sent warships through increasingly ice-free Arctic waters? What would prevent America from setting up bases in our Far North, to defend against the possibility of Russian aggression?

'Germany’s decision to reverse decades of policy in the blink of an eye and begin dedicating over two per cent of annual GDP to defence is a call to action for the rest of the free world. Canada cannot be left behind.

'The last time our military came up for review was in 2017. The title of that report by the Senate standing committee on national security and defence says it all: “Military Underfunded: The Walk Must Match the Talk.” It chronicled decades of under-funding by successive governments and concluded that we need to urgently address failures on several fronts, including procurement, ballistic missile defence and cybersecurity.

'How bad is it? Consider just one example: Canada’s near-complete lack of air defence capabilities. If we were subjected to bombardment by plane, helicopter or even drone, as Ukraine has been, we have little ability to fight back. The previous Conservative government briefly considered beefing up our defences, before retreating from the purchase of F-35 fighter jets in 2010. Eleven years later, the Liberals still have no timeline for replacing our 40-year-old fleet of CF-18s.

'So what would a robust Canadian defence policy look like?

'First, Ottawa should match Berlin and increase defence spending to two per cent of GDP, up from 1.4 per cent in 2020. That same year saw our allies Australia and the United Kingdom spend 2.1 and 2.2 per cent, respectively, while the U.S. spent the equivalent of 3.7 per cent of its GDP (Russia, it should be noted, spent 4.3 per cent). We must invest in the physical equipment needed to do the job, as well as the intelligence capabilities needed to address new threats....'

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