Defence Minister Bill Blair says his government is discussing major potential investments in the Canadian military, but the country’s fiscal situation will have an impact on the issue.
“We have brought forward a plan that’s very much in discussion right now, within our government, about making significant new investments,” Mr. Blair told Global News in Dec. 2 interview.
The minister was responding to the interviewer stating that Canada currently invests 1.23 percent of its GDP in defence, below the two percent target established by NATO.
Mr. Blair said his government believes new resources are required because of a “changing” world, noting the “increasingly aggressive” posture taken by Russia and China and Canada’s obligations in the Indo-Pacific, the Arctic, and in NATO.
“I hope I’ve made it very clear publicly that we recognize we must do more, we’re going to do more,” said Mr. Blair. “But there’s also some context in the doing that more because there is a fiscal situation in Canada that I have to be realistic about.”
National Defence has been identified by the Treasury Board as one of the departments needing to make cuts, as it looks to find savings of $15 billion. DND has been asked to reduce expenses by about $1 billion in the fields of professional services, consultants, and travel.
Mr. Blair told the House of Commons defence committee Nov. 23 he was “absolutely committed” the cuts would not impact serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre expressed concerns about the cuts in September.
“There’s no way that you can take almost a billion dollars out of the defence budget and not have an impact, so this is something that we’re wrestling with now,” he told the House defence committee.
It remains to be seen how much additional funding the military will receive. However, Mr. Blair’s comments suggest that the government is committed to increasing defence spending in the years to come.