In the midst of the Trump win in the US Election there has been much gnashing of teeth and a flurry of editorials on how the new President-Elect’s policies might affect Canada. Opinions range from “Wait it out, he won’t take action against us” through to Prime Minister Trudeau signalling that Canada is open to negotiating a new deal.
What’s missing is any real plan to avoid the issue completely.
President-Elect Trump spoke on the campaign trail spoke, somewhat bitterly, to the idea that America’s allies don’t pay their fair share of mutual defence costs. It should be transparent how the President-Elect will feel about Canada, after all we are a G7 country that pays a bare half of what the NATO commitment is, based on a percentage of GDP. At 1% of GDP, Canada has set its sights firmly on the “Freeloader” category that the President-Elect has rightfully identified as an annoyance to the US electorate.
If Canada wants to insulate itself from uncomfortable trade measures, perhaps the best way is to start by getting of the hit list of deadbeat allies? We can start with simple, Canadian-made solutions.
First, the government should announce a name, and a commitment, to a 6th AOPS vessel. Second, we announce that the Royal Canadian Navy will be getting 15 CSC vessels, 4 to be configured with full Anti-Ballistic Missile capability. Third, we announce that the Canadian Government will purchase the Interim-AOR currently undergoing conversion at Davie Chantier.
None of these measures is hugely expensive, yet we must not make the mistake of robbing the other portions of the DND budget to make them happen. We start with a little slow growth, baby steps.
Further we will need to signal that the perpetual underfunding of the Canadian Forces will be corrected. It is long past due, and has become an embarrassment. Even outgoing President Obama told Parliament,
The World needs more Canada.