2002 November 21 Thursday
Canada AWOL From The War On Terrorism

Canadian Defence Minister John McCallum is mad at George Bush because the Bush Administration keeps complaining about the low level of Canadian defense spending.

Mr. McCallum said yesterday he is fed up with the Americans hectoring Canada about its low defence expenditures, even though he himself has been publicly lobbying for greater military spending.

"I would not urge the president of the United States or the U.S. ambassador to Canada to do my job to ask for more defence spending. I think that is a Canadian matter," Mr. McCallum told reporters.

Canada's defense spending is less than half of the NATO average. Yet in the face of declining military capabilities Chretien's administration tells lies about how useful Canada's military has been in various conflicts. While a small number of Canadian soldiers performed admirably the quality of their performance is hardly a reason to trumpet Canada's total contributions.

If the level of Canadian defense spending is purely a Canadian matter then why is Canada part of multinational joint defense organizations? Does Canada have no obligations to other nations in exchange for what its membership does for Canada?

Does anyone know whether the Canadian government ever awarded medals to those Canadian sharpshooters who did such a great job in Afghanistan? Also, did the Canadian government ever let the US military award them medals? And what became of the Canadian soldier who was possibly going to be punished for what he said in Afghanistan that was supposedly insenstive?

Meanwhile, David Frum points out that the Canadian government is not cracking down on terrorist organizations:

On the other hand, Canadian laxness in the war on terror makes me twitch irritably. On Tuesday, Britain and the United States froze the assets of a large Canadian Muslim charity, the weirdly misnamed Benevolence International Foundation, as a terrorist front. Yet the Canadian government refuses to act Ė as it has refused to act to halt Hezbollah fund-raising on Canadian territory or to crack down on terrorist sleeper cells inside Canada.

Prime Minister Jean Chretienís theory seems to be that by tolerating terrorist activity within Canada, Canada can buy itself a degree of immunity from terrorism. Itís a policy that disgusts a great many people in Canada. But itís a policy that looks likely to last as long as Chretienís hold on power does. Fortunately, his days do seem numbered ....

Canada enjoys military protection provided by the US and it also has a large trade surplus with the US. Under the circumstances you might think they'd be willing to make some small moves to help reduce sources of threats to the US. But if you thought that you'd be wrong.

Update: Chretien has the audacity to call Canadian defense spending "competitive" with NATO:

"We are at the level that is competitive in NATO. Some say we should be higher, but Canada is Canada. It's not our highest priority -- defence."

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 November 21 10:35 PM  Europe and America

Bob said at November 23, 2002 12:37 PM:

We are competing for irrelevancy with the European members of NATO.

The Chretien regime has been a dark time for Canada; sadly, I don't see any bright prospects after he's gone.

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