Trudeau Says Continued Military Investments Needed in Response to ‘Persistent Threats’ From ‘Authoritarian States’

by EditorT

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a news conference in Surrey, British Columbia, on October 21, 2022. (REUTERS/Jennifer Gauthier)

By Peter Wilson

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government will continue investing in the Canadian military as a response to “persistent threats” from foreign “authoritarian states”—citing Russia and China as examples.

Trudeau, who spoke at a press conference in Ottawa on Jan. 12 alongside Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, also emphasized Canada’s commitments in the Indo-Pacific Strategy, which includes an increased military presence in the area.

“We’re all recognizing that the world is changing,” Trudeau told reporters. “The world changed when Russia chose to invade a peaceful neighbour.”

“We understand the persistent threats caused by unstable or authoritarian states around the world and that’s going to require us, unfortunately, to continue to step up and Canada has been there with significant investments in our armed forces.”

The federal government announced on Jan. 9 that Canada would be investing $19 billion over the next nine years to purchase 88 Lockheed-Martin F-35 fighter jets to replace its outdated fleet of CF-18 Hornets, making it the largest investment Canada has made in its air force in 30 years.

“Part of creating prosperity and peace for our citizens means investing in the security architecture that is going to be unfortunately important in the coming years,” Trudeau said.

The prime minister added earlier in the press conference that there will be a certain focus on the Indo-Pacific region due to “the rise of increasingly contesting authoritarian powers, whether it be Russia on the one hand or China,” which he acknowledged Canada called an “increasingly disruptive global power” in its Indo-Pacific strategy released in November 2022.

China Strategy

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said last November before releasing the Indo-Pacific Strategy that Canada will have to both “challenge” and “cooperate” with China in the future depending on the situation’s nature.

“We will challenge China when we ought to, and we will cooperate with China when we must,” she said on Nov. 9, 2022. “Its sheer size and influence makes cooperation necessary to address the world’s existential pressures.”

Trudeau echoed Joly’s words during his Jan. 12 press conference, saying Canada will judge when to contest China and when to work with with the nation.

“There are areas in which we need to work with China, but there are other areas in which we’re going to have to compete with China, and other areas in which we’re going to have to directly contest China,” he said.

“Whether it’s on human rights, whether it’s on respect for international rules and a rules-based order, and that approach—which is thoughtful, aligned, coordinated, and responsible, focused on creating opportunities for people in our countries and around the world—is going to continue in our approach on China.”


Peter Wilson
Peter Wilson is a reporter based in Ontario, Canada.

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