Steven Staples on military pressure from the U.S.

Steven Staples, President of the Rideau Institute, responded to Lee Berthiaume’s November 5 article in the Ottawa Citizen, “How U.S. election will affect Canada.” Mr. Staples response was published in the Ottawa Citizen on November 7, 2012.

Canada is already under military pressure from the U.S., and will continue to be. But it is incorrect to suggest that Canada doesn’t spend enough on the military as a percentage of our GDP.

On the contrary, NATO’s 2011 analysis of defence expenditures shows that the average for all 28 members is 1.47 per cent of GDP. NATO notes that Canada’s military spending is 1.4 per cent of its GDP, on par with Germany (1.4 per cent), Norway (1.5 per cent), Denmark (1.4 per cent), the Netherlands (1.3 per cent) and Italy (1.4 per cent).

The trend for these countries, given their dire financial circumstances, will be to continue to cut spending deeply. Comparing actual dollars spent on the military, which is a much better measurement, Canada is sixth highest after the U.S., the U.K., France (which are all nuclear armed), Germany and Italy.

It’s true that the White House will be pressuring allies such as Canada to continue to spend billions of dollars on U.S.-built weaponry, given the country’s unacceptably high unemployment rate.

As Prime Minister Stephen Harper has already proven, he’s willing to commit to buying the U.S.’s F-35 stealth fighters without a firm price and without any requirements for Canadian jobs. I’m sure the next U.S. president will be very happy with Harper.

-Steven Staples, Rideau Institute, Ottawa

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