Federal environment spending dwarfed by rising defence budget

A new report shows that Canada’s rising National Defence spending is $21.185 billion in 2009-2010, making Canada’s rank 13th highest in the world, and 6th highest among NATO’s 28 members, dollar for dollar.

Defence analyst and author Bill Robinson says the rise in defence spending is an indication of the government’s priorities. “Government spending on National Defence is twenty times that of federal Environment Department spending,” said Robinson. “By comparison, the Department of the Environment was allocated only $1.064 billion.”

The report, Canadian Military Spending 2009, notes that Department of National Defence spending has increased by 9.6% over last year, or $1.8 billion. ”The government could have doubled its planned multi-departmental spending on climate change initiatives this year had it not increased military spending by that amount,” added Robinson.

cdnmilitaryspending20092Canada has spent $23.1 billion in successive increases to National Defence spending since the outset of the Global War on Terror in 2001 (calculated by comparing spending to date above the 2000-01 budget). Roughly half of that amount has been spent on the Afghanistan war.

In historical terms, military spending today has surpassed Cold War spending in 1989 by 22%, and Canada is committed to increased spending under the Conservative government’s Canada First Defence Strategy.

“If the extra $130 billion to $155 billion that Canada will spend over the next 18 years as a result of its post-Cold War military budget buildup were spent instead on aid, it would be enough to nearly triple Canadian development assistance over that period, enabling us to meet and even exceed the 0.7% target and to provide additional resources for climate change aid,” said Robinson.

Canadian Military Spending 2009 is published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Bill Robinson is a defence analyst and senior adviser of the Rideau Institute.

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