Louis Cuppens's picture
Canada a NATO parasite
Posted on Apr 20, 2022


Canada’s recent budget did add some much-needed spending on our national security, but continues to fall significantly short of NATO’s defence expenditure targets. At a time when the world stands on the brink of global conflict, I find such government fumbling incredible.

To the disappointment of NATO member states, Canada continues to duck its defence responsibilities and continues not to pay its fair share for our nation’s defence. Canada has done this for more than three decades.

Canada has deployed a battalion group of soldiers to Latvia, with a promise of further reinforcements when necessary. Why have those reinforcements not deployed yet? What are we waiting for? They should have been deployed weeks ago as a strong signal to Russia's war criminals.

The recent marriage of the Liberals and NDP probably prevented a larger investment in National Defence. The NDP policies are more socialist oriented with dental care and day care investments being higher priorities than the national security of Canada.

The argument that there are competing needs within Canada does not cut it. As an analogy, our government has posed the issue of determining how many fire trucks a city would need in competition with funds needed for the same city’s hospital staffing. Clearly such an argument is an “apples vs oranges” one. The real question is: how much defence insurance does Canada need?

Canada’s defence procurement process is broken beyond repair. Even when budget amounts are approved, there are so many political and procedural roadblocks to completion that the money can't get spent. Given the global situation, one would have expected an acceleration of the purchase of replacement fighter aircraft, the acquisition of underway replenishment vessels, and the acquisition of army equipment of all types, but such is not the case. While other nations spur on rapid defence production and acquisition, Canada plods along perhaps hoping that the efforts of others will replace our urgent defence needs – institutionalized defence freeloading.

Having recently saluted a new National Defence policy, the government budget announced that there will be another defence review. Perhaps this time around we shall learn why Canada’s maritime defence requires only 12 surface combatant ships and five arctic patrol vessels, or why only 88 fighter aircraft replacements are needed. Are these numbers the outcome of strategic analysis or the result of political budgetary constraints? How long must Canada’s defence forces be financially starved? As the rest of the free world scrambles to beef up military capabilities, Canada sits quietly on the sidelines. It is no wonder that groups like the “five eyes” no longer consult Canada on global defence issues.

The Trudeau/Singh government is not focused on National Security as it should be. Within NATO Canada remains a defence parasite.

LWF Cuppens
Lieutenant-General (retired)

Former Deputy Commander of NORAD (1995 to 1998)