Asked if his government’s “fully costed” new defence policy would survive another major recession, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said he’s not willing to comment on hypotheticals.
“We can’t talk about hypothetical situations but one thing that we can do as a government is commit to the Canadian Armed Forces,” said Sajjan in an interview with The West Block‘s Vassy Kapelos.
Last week, the defence minister, along with several other officials, unveiled a plan to increase investments in the military by more than 70 per cent over the next 10 years, from $18.9 billion in 2016-17 to $32.7 billion in 2026-27.
Overall, Sajjan pledged $62.3 billion in new spending over the next two decades. But much of that money is back-loaded — earmarked for major purchases of new jets and ships — and the Liberals have just over two years left in their current mandate.
Previous major investments in defence have been scrapped or scaled back due to economic headwinds.
“The economy I think, is also showing good track of recovering. Also, the minister of finance has looked at the financial framework for Canada. The projections have been made,” Sajjan told Kapelos.
“The funding that our government has now committed as part of this defence policy, we worked very closely with the finance minister on this, and this is within the fiscal framework.”
Sajjan also confirmed in the interview that Canada’s mission in Iraq and Syria will be extended at the end of June.
Watch the full interview with Harjit Sajjan above.