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Liberals plan to ramp up spending on war

Bradley Hughes

March 31, 2022
Canada and other NATO nations are using the Russian invasion as a pretext to raise arms spending by billions. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has called for each NATO country to spend at least 2% of GDP on their military. 
Earlier this month Defence Minister Anita Anand told CBC that she is “bringing forward aggressive options which would see [Canada], potentially, exceeding the two per cent level, hitting the two per cent level, and below the two per cent level.”
Not only will this make the world a much more dangerous place, these billions of dollars could go to much better things. According to the Department of National Defence (DND) it is the largest department of the federal government. No other department has as large of a budget. 
At $24.3 billion it consumes 7.1% of federal spending. (BTW, the last time Canada was involved in a war that could be plausibly be called “national defence” was in 1812.)
If the Liberals raise the DND budget to 2% of GDP it will go up by $17.1 billion to $41.4 billion. 
If the Liberals decrease spending elsewhere to make up the $17 billion, military spending will take up 12% of the federal budget, or $3 out of every $25. That adds up to spending $1,100 for every person in the country. This is in addition to the regular increases that the military has already enjoyed. Even adjusting for inflation, the military budget has increased by 43% since the year 2000. If they increase it to the 2% goal that will be 2.5 times what they spent in 2000.
The $17 billion increase - which the Liberals will exceed if they think they can get away with it - could be spent on many better projects.
After being forced by the courts to increase spending on fixing the drinking water problems in Indigenous communities the federal government has promised $6 billion over ten years. Or, around 3% of what just the increase in military spending will be.
$17 billion is enough to construct around 600 km of surface rail light rapid transit in our cities. That would be enough to stretch from the west end of Vancouver east out to Coquitlam, and then from Milton through Toronto to Pickering, and also right across the island of Montreal, plus around the Bedford Basin from Bedford through Halifax to Armdale and across the other way from Cole Harbour through Dartmouth to the other side of Halifax. And then you could do it all again two more times. (Several of those cities have rapid transit systems already, this shows the scale of resources that will be wasted on war.)
Instead of increasing the military budget you could install solar panels on 450,000 homes that would create enough electricity to power those homes.
The new hospital being built in Cowichan District in BC is expected to cost $888 million. The increase in military spending is enough to build nearly 20 new hospitals every year.

There are 6.2 million children and young adults in Canada between the ages of 5 and 19. Around half of the proposed increase ($8 billion) would be enough to pay for weekly music lessons for all of them. The remainder would leave $1,400 each to buy the instrument to practice on. This would also create work for around 80,000 full time music teachers.

The 2% goal means that the war budget will cost almost as much as the Canada Health Transfer of $43 billion per year. If instead of increasing the military budget we eliminated it entirely, we could double the health transfer and dramatically improve our underfunded hospitals.
In 2019 all provincial governments combined spent $46 billion on K – 12 education. We could take the increase, and the previous military budget, and instead double the spending on public education.
If we divided this money up between the 3.1 million families living on less than $40,000 a year, they would each get $13,000, every year.
The Liberals want to waste billions on the machinery and organization of mass destruction and death. They will be derided by the Tories for spending too little and too slowly. They will be grudgingly supported by the NDP in return for social programs that cost a fraction of the military budget. It’s up to the rest of us to build a movement that can stop them all.
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