Canadian soldiers participate in an exercise in northern Canada. (Canadian Department of National Defence)
The Canadian government released a fiscal year (FY) 2022–23 federal budget on 7 April, which boosts defence spending by more than CAD8 billion (USD6.4 billion) over five years.
Most of the funding, CAD6.1 billion, will help Canada meet its commitments to allies and continental defence and buy new equipment for the Canadian Armed Forces, the government said. The additional spending will also improve the country's cyber-security and promote cultural change in the military.
“This budget will help provide the fiscal and physical firepower we need to meet any threat that may confront us,” Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland told the House of Commons.
The budget growth is on top of the 10-year, 70% defence spending increase, which Canada committed to in 2017.
The government said it will launch a new defence policy review to determine whether its armed forces are adequately sized, equipped, and funded in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. To bolster Ukrainian forces in the short term, the federal budget includes USD500 million in military aid for Ukraine in FY 2022–23.
Retired Lieutenant General Andrew Leslie, former commander of the Canadian Army, criticised the defence budget, telling Canada's Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC) that the CAD8 billion increase will be insufficient to cover shortfalls in ammunition, personnel, spare parts, training facilities, and major modernisation programmes. “Our allies are going to be furious,” he said.