Well, it may be one day if some grand spending promises outlined in the Trudeau government’s defence policy review — which would increase defence spending by a whopping 70 per cent — are kept. But the timeline announced by the government Wednesday to get there runs to 2026 and beyond.
“Canada’s Defence Policy” is like other papers published since the end of the Second World War outlining military policy for the next 20 years. It is long on spending promises — $62 billion of them. But most of the money is heavily back-loaded. It will be subject to the budgetary constraints and whims of the winners of the next few federal elections and will not be of much help to Canada or NATO in the near future.
The document — announced to great fanfare before a Greek chorus of several hundred soldiers in Ottawa’s Cartier Square Drill Hall — was as interesting for what it didn’t say as for what it did say.
There was scant mention of peacekeeping, although this was supposed to have been Justin Trudeau’s signature military policy and the best way — or so he and his aides once thought — for Canada to secure a two-year appointment as a member of the United Nations Security Council.
Other than stating for the umpteenth time that at some point Canadian blue helmets will embark for Africa to honour a campaign promise that Trudeau made nearly two years ago, there was barely a whiff in the 112-page document or numerous side papers about where those peacekeepers might end up, in what configuration and to what end. The best its authors could muster was some vague talk about collaborating with the UN, which has made a hash of peacekeeping lately, and, even more dangerously, establishing closers ties with the African Union, whose record on peacekeeping has been a disgrace.