MAKICHUK: UK goes 'on war footing,' while Canada withers

The British Army's 11 Security Force Assistance Brigade and the RAF Regiment.
The British Army's 11 Security Force Assistance Brigade and the RAF Regiment. Ministry of Defence

The UK is taking no chances with Vladimir Putin.

Like many other European nations, they've decided to act, rather than give this madman carte blanche.

The nation will boost defence spending to 2.5% of GDP by the end of the decade to deliver a “generational investment” and respond to a world at its most “dangerous” since the end of the Cold War, according to a report in Breaking Defense.

Under the new plan, London wants to spend a cumulative extra of £75 billion (US $93 billion) over the next six years, culminating in a 2030 annual defence budget of £87 billion (US $108 billion), which would make it second in NATO only to the US in defence expenditure.

This consolidates its position as the largest military spender in Europe and second for NATO members behind only the US.

Speaking in Warsaw Poland on April 23 at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said, “Today is a landmark moment in the defence of the United Kingdom.”

“An axis of authoritarian states with different values to ours, like Russia, Iran, North Korea and China are increasingly assertive,” he added.

“The danger they pose is not new, but what is new is that these countries or their proxies are causing more instability, more quickly, in more places at once … they’re increasingly acting together, making common cause in an attempt to reshape the world order.”

Sunak added that the spending hike was necessary because the “pace and intensity” of state-based threats had changed significantly, Breaking Defense reported.

"I know there are some people who will think these are faraway problems. But they are not."

Some doubt exists, however, as the Conservative Party, which Sunak leads, must call a general election on or before January 2025, with polls showing that the opposition Labour Party is on course to challenge for power.

The upping of the ante comes less than two weeks after Labour leader Keir Starmer said in an interview  that, if elected, he too would increase defence spending to 2.5% GDP “as soon as resources allow.”

In addition to the new funding announced by Sunak, he also revealed that the UK defence industry will be placed on a “war footing,” supported by a £10 billion (US $12.4 billion) investment in munitions production, Breaking Defense reported.

Experts say the MBDA-made Storm Shadow missile will terrify the Russians.
Experts say the MBDA-made Storm Shadow missile will terrify the Russians.MBDA

Deeper stockpiles and a need to replenish them “more quickly” are “central” lessons from the war in Ukraine, he noted.

It's a lesson that has fallen on deaf ears in Ottawa. While the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau has introduced a raft of new military spending, nothing has really happened to change things as they stand.

The Grits are known to kick cans down the road when it comes to military expenditures. Making big promises and then taking the length of a Bible to actually bring them to fruition.

Delay, delay, delay. We see this time and time again.

It occurred with the F-35 Lightning II fighter jet and it happened with US-built MQ-9B Reaper drones.

After more than two decades of debate, discussion and policy dissection, Canada's air force finally got the green light to acquire the armed drones.

A fleet of 11 MQ-9B Reaper drones, built by US defence contractor General Atomics, will be purchased in a $2.49 billion package.

But according to the CBC, delivery of the remotely piloted aircraft won't take place until 2028 and the air force doesn't expect to have the full fleet up and running until 2033.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Armed Forces continue to deconstruct, which then hurts recruiting efforts. This is nothing new, of course, but things have worsened greatly since Trudeau took power.

Instead of coming out with a fixed plan at the start, the Liberals are trying to put out fires and win public support with grand plans, which may never happen.

No such dysfunction exists over the pond, where the Russian threat is real, very real. There isn't a week that goes by that some Russian official doesn't threaten the use of nukes on Ukraine, or worse — a Third World War conflagration.

Putin must be stopped at any cost — a reality that may eventually hit the PMO, but by then, it may be too late.

Britain’s defence procurement system, for example, will undergo “radical reform” in order for new investments to deliver “value for money and to encourage private sector investment into defence production,” said Sunak.

The British leader also announced that the UK will provide Ukraine with an additional £500 million (US $622 million) military aid package, on top of £3 billion (US $3.7 billion) already committed for the 2024 financial year, Breaking Defense reported.

The funding covers the supply of more than 1,600 strike and air defence missiles, additional MBDA-made Storm Shadow long-range precision-guided missiles; 60 boats, including offshore raiding craft; 162 armoured vehicles and 78 all-terrain vehicles and almost four million rounds of small arms ammunition.

The UK is taking aim at Russia.
The UK is taking aim at Russia.Ministry of Defence

What has Canada supplied?

A hefty CDN $3.02-billion security assistance package for Ukraine, which the PM announced in typical grandstanding fashion on the second anniversary of the Russian invasion.

But to our embarrassment, both here and abroad, part of that funding involves a cringe-worthy stipulation for "gender-transformative mine action" —  establishing a gender and diversity working group to promote gender-transformative mine action in Ukraine.”

Something many online thought was a joke. Alas, it was totally factual. Canada was demanding more women get involved in de-mining action! Some on Twitter ("X") asked if mines had a gender! LOL!

With Canadian stockpiles drained by donations to dangerously low levels, a major agreement to ramp up production still hasn't been signed.

And there doesn't appear to be one on the immediate horizon, despite pressure from allies.

A leading NATO official and Canada's top military commander have both warned allies that their ammunition shortages have reached a crisis state.

They're calling for urgent action to boost production of critical artillery rounds.

Last fall, Gen. Wayne Eyre, chief of the defence staff, told a House of Commons committee that if Canadian troops were called upon to fire their big guns at the same rate as Ukrainian troops, their supply of shells would last for only a few days.

But with a prime minister whose head is filled with green dreams of dancing unicorns and electric cars, diversity and gender over merit and a petroleum free society, what did you expect?

Russian forces could take over our high Arctic and all its resources, in a weekend and there would be nothing we could do about it.

They would simply take it, gaining footholds before we would have a chance to react. And then claim in the UN that it is fair game. China would eagerly back them up.

Because we're not a member of AUKUS (Australia, the UK and the US), we won't even have a submarine that can reach those Arctic waters safely to secure what is rightly ours.

That's because AUKUS wants nothing to do with peace-loving Canada.

Would you?

Related Stories

No stories found.
Western Standard