Canada’s top soldier touts renewed Arctic strategy amid China and Russia’s push to deepen ties – by Robert Fife and Steven Chase (Globe and Mail – April 15, 2024)

A sharper focus on the Arctic in Ottawa’s defence policy is a strategic move welcomed by Western allies, Canada’s top soldier says, as Russia and China contest this increasingly pivotal region, where global warming is opening the Northern Sea Route to shipping and military manoeuvres.

General Wayne Eyre, Chief of the Defence Staff, acknowledged that the $8.1-billion over all committed by the government to defence spending over the next five years falls short of the NATO spending target of 2 per cent of annual economic output. Still, he says the new money will help a military long neglected by governments of various political stripes.

“Is this everything we need? No; but it’s a good start,” he said in an interview. “My morale was boosted when we got this through the goalpost.”

But Gen. Eyre also said he is unsure whether the military will see all of the $8.1-billion because the government is also imposing spending cuts that will reach $900-million annually within several years. At this point, he remains unsure of the net impact.

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