Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan repeated recently a line that Canada, and out allies have heard before. Canada’s failure to meet the 2% NATO target, but it shouldn’t matter because we contribute materially.
It is, of course, a foolish and empty position. Canada could contribute more, and be a leader, if it met the 2% goal and still contributed materially. By doing both we would have moral and financial grounds to demand better from our allies that fall short in one way or another. Instead, we offer them cover; Canada doesn’t pay, why should we?
I have a simple proposition if this government, or any other, feels it can justify our defence spending in this manner. Defence spending is not discretionary, although it is often looked upon as such. What I propose is that we pass a law requiring that at any time Canada falls short of the 2% target, we label any discretionary spending with the name of Canada’s fallen. Preference would be given to those fallen in that same fiscal year.
Politicians, you feel that Canadians will back your stance? Let’s see how that holds up. Let us truly see how Canadians feel about the Private John Doe Memorial Child Tax Credit, or the Captain Jane Smith Memorial Home Energy Refit Rebate.
I dare you.