Canada needs to fund its Military

Written By Anthony Daoud, Posted on January 16, 2020

If the early days of January are any indication of what may formulate within the next decade, there is an urgency for Canada’s federal government to begin adequately funding our military. 

The global geopolitical landscape has witnessed an unprecedented rise in uncertainty. Canada is safe in NATO, but the government shouldn’t become complacent in watching the state of our armed forces deteriorate. 

World Affairs 

In his acclaimed scholarly work, The End of History, Francis Fukuyama outlined his predictions for the world’s geopolitical future. He speculated that with the Soviet Union’s collapse and the Cold War’s conclusion, democracy would prevail globally. Authoritarian regimes would collapse, and human civilization would enter an epoch of unlimited prosperity. 

Unfortunately, Fukuyama was utterly wrong. 

Instead, it would be wiser to consult Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations. Not only is it more thorough than Fukuyama’s sophomoric optimism, but Huntington is also far more pragmatic in understanding the imperfect nature of the human species. As such, he is aware that despite the various multinational institutions and push for peace, global collaboration is incapable of reconciling the cultural divides within our world. Early in the book, Huntington distinguishes different civilizations by amalgamating countries that have fundamentally similar cultures. Among his predictions, the American scholar notes the most seismic conflict will occur between the Western and Islamic civilizations. It should be noted that his book precursed 9/11, wars in the Middle East, and the accelerating rise of Islamic fundamentalism. 


Importantly, Huntington also identifies Russia and China as occupying their respective civilizations that can contribute to a potential global conflict. And in recent years, both countries have caused justifiable alarmism. 

Sino-Canadian relations

In March, Xi Jinping consolidated his political power by amending the constitution’s provision of a two-term presidential limit. He has further intertwined his partisans in the broader political system, fortifying a prolonged-term at the country’s helm.

Samuel Huntington also wrote in his work Political Order in Changing Societies, that modernization would lead to democracy. However, it hasn’t yet occurred in China. 

A more comprehensive explanation for the relatively peaceful Sino-Western relations originates from the “capitalist peace theory.” It argues that economic interdependence fosters diplomacy and a reluctance towards armed conflict.

Nonetheless, China’s military is threatening and has tremendously benefited from the country’s booming economy. An article in Reuter’s writes, “In just over two decades, China has built a force of conventional missiles that rival or outperform those in the U.S. armoury.” The country also boasted the world’s most significant naval force and increased its second-strike capability.

Xi Jinping has also used executive powers to pursue territorial conquest. The Asia Pacific region has been completely dominated, and Africa is likely to follow. Over the next decade, China will invest $175 billion in the continent and substantially increase its military presence in the area.


Since taking charge in 1999, Putin’s Kremlin has mainstreamed imperialism by carrying over communist-era authoritarianism. Similar to China, freedoms are restricted. Between 1992 and 2019, 83 journalists were killed, and there has been an effort by the government to politicize the Orthodox church.


Although elections are held, the “field is tilted” in Putin’s favour, a characteristic of hybrid-regimes. Lastly, the illegal annexation of Crimea and a likely reunification with Belarus are just two manifestations of Russia’s expansionist approach. If Belarus is absorbed into the Russian Federation, the new borders will be directly adjacent to Poland, a valuable NATO ally. As the European Union faces disarray, the most devastating (and potentially final) blow would be Russian aggression.

The most pressing danger for Canada is Putin’s search for Arctic supremacy. CBC News published an article in February describing Russia’s increased armament of Severny Klever, a strategic military base in the northern region. Currently, “250 military personnel” have been deployed to maintain air and sea surveillance and anti-ship missiles. Putin claims that the Arctic region has resources worth up to $30 trillion. Controlling the region would be a valuable addition for him, as Russia is set to face a bleak economic future.

Canadian leaders must summon a quick response. Never before has a state demonstrated such intent to interfere with Canadian sovereignty. For this reason, our military needs to bolster and mobilize along the North-Western region. Working alongside the United States, Alaska can provide a much-needed buffer zone.


In the aftermath of the fatal plane crash in Iran that killed 57 Canadians, Trudeau must prioritize better equipping the military to augment Canada’s power to deter foreign entities. Iran’s Islamic regime is a staunch enemy of the West that has repeatedly threatened to destroy America and Israel. Not to mention, the country is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism per the United States State Department. Although we should be hesitant ever to pursue direct intervention, Canada must ensure it has the proper ability to fend off foreign aggression or acts of terror. 

The Armed Forces


Canada currently has 88,000 available military personnel. Sixty-four thousand are active, and 24,000 are in the reserves.

Each year, over 400,000 reach the eligibility age to serve in the Armed Forces. This leads to a total of 16,000,000 available workforces and over 13,000,000 being fit for service. 

The current levels of available military personnel may be misleading. Canada boasts an exceptional number of citizens fit for service if such events require its use.

As well, members of the Canadian military must undergo a highly intense level of basic training to qualify and begin their careers in the Armed Forces.

Sad State of Affairs

A 2013 report by the National Post noted that the Canadian military has been having to accept recruits who are fatter, less educated and harder to motivate than previous generations because quality applicants are in dwindling supply, an internal Defence Department audit has concluded.

To remain at a constant level, the military needs more than 4,000 recruits each year to offset attrition and keep 68,000 full-time troops in uniform.

The audit was conducted and found that “fitness and educational levels of recruits in the last five years have been slightly lower than in the past,” while “compared to previous generations, recruits of today are described as harder to motivate.”

In 2018, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) reported a shortage of 275 pilots. It also needs more mechanics, sensor operators and other trained personnel in the face of increasing demands at home and abroad. The situation is in such confusion that it has added pressure on Canada’s flying corps and represents a challenge for the foreseeable future.

Bad work conditions

In the Air Force, burnout has become an unfortunate reality for many because employees are left doing the work of unfilled positions. The overwork affects them psychologically and has already incentivized many pilots to go for commercial airlines instead.

James Bezan, the Conservative defence critic, said that another likely cause for the drop in RCAF pilots is a result of the CF-18 fighter jets being too old.

A second National Defence audit has found that many of Canada’s military bases are falling apart. This is because of systematic underspending on the maintenance, repair and replacement of sewers, roads and electrical, heating systems. It also concludes that the risk of electrical outages, sewer backups and other service disruptions at military bases is set to increase. The disruptions threaten the health and welfare of those living or working on or near the base.

How to proceed

If the Canadian government fails to take care of bases and the general welfare of its military personnel, it will ultimately fail to attract recruits and need to further rely on America. If we wish to emancipate from America’s shadow, bolstering military capabilities will send a strong statement. It would also increase the power to deter foreign threats.

Prime Minister Trudeau ought to take responsibility for the situation and stop blaming the quintessential Stephen Harper-era “cuts.”

The federal government’s failure to address military spending has soured our relationship with our largest ally. Since being elected in 2016, American President Donald Trump has relentlessly reprimanded Trudeau’s embarrassment on the issue. At the 2019 NATO summit, Trudeau was left consulting his advisors after the American president affirmatively asked him what our “numbers were at.” Later that day, Trudeau was found gossiping with Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson.


It is time to change the status quo and become a revisionist state. Through an enlarged military, NATO can become an avenue for pursuing Canadian interests.

Conrad Black dedicates the latter stage of his book, The Canadian Manifesto, to advocate for a set of changes oriented towards achieving dominance. Regarding foreign policy, he notes that greater wealth and military strength will propel us from “passivity” into a world leader worth emulating.

Anthony Daoud

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