|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Jun 08, 2017 01:19 PM EDT|
(Photo : RCAF) Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 fighters.
Canada will increase its annual defense spending by 73 percent over the next decade as it can no longer rely on the United States' military leadership under anti-NATO U.S. president Donald Trump.
The increase will also go to strengthening Canada's military presence in the Arctic Circle in the face of Russia's mounting militarization of this resource rich region. Ottawa wants to expand the defenses in its northern zone since incursions by Russian military aircraft require an interception by Canadian fighters.
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The new funding will see Canada's military spending rise from about 1.2% of the GDP to about 1.4%.
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will benefit immensely from the huge jump in the defense budget to US$24.4 billion a year in 2026-27 from US$14 billion annually in 2016-17. Most of the new funding will be delivered after 2021.
The money will go to acquiring 88 McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet multi-role fighters (the Canadian version of the U.S. F/A-18E/F Super Hornet) for the Royal Canadian Air Force costing US$14 billion; new warships for the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and to adding 5,000 new regular and reserve military personnel to the CAF.
The boost in funding will also go to building 15 surface warships for the RCN at a projected cost of up to US$44 billion. The new warships will replace the navy's existing frigates and retired destroyers, said Minister of National Defense Harjit Singh Sajjan.
"This plan fully funds for the first time the Royal Canadian Navy's full complement of 15 Canadian Surface Combatant ships," said Sajjan.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland urged Canada to resume its role on the world stage it once had during the First and Second World Wars.
She said Canada must be willing to expand its "hard power" since the country can no longer rely on American leadership.
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