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Canada mulls getting nuclear submarines

Ottawa must bolster its military capabilities in the Arctic, PM Justin Trudeau says

Canada unveiled an updated defense policy document on Monday, envisioning a massive spending program for years to come. Ottawa now plans to invest nearly $6 billion over the next five years, and more than $53 billion over the next 20 years.

While the spending program still falls behind the 2% GDP defense spending goal, envisioned yet rarely met by the NATO member states, the Canadian government touted the development as a “significant step” towards fulfilling the commitment.

The document unveiled by Ottawa, titled ‘Our North, Strong and Free,’ signals the country is seeking to take a stronger posture in the Arctic, with construction of new military facilities in the north, as well as bolstering maritime and aerial capabilities.

“We will explore options for renewing and expanding our submarine fleet to enable the Royal Canadian Navy to project a persistent deterrent on all three coasts, with under-ice capable, conventionally powered submarines,” the document reads.

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While speaking during a press conference to present the new defense policy, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested the country could actually consider procuring nuclear submarines instead.

“That is certainly what we will be looking at, what type of submarines are appropriate for Canada’s responsibilities in protecting the longest coastline in the world and the longest Arctic coastline in the world,” he said while responding to a question about the option to get non-conventional vessels.

The PM also praised the growing cooperation with the US-led AUKUS bloc, welcoming the prospects of Japan joining it. The military partnership, established in late 2021, involves the US and the UK assisting Australia in procuring a nuclear submarine fleet.

READ MORE: UK commits nearly $1bn to nuclear program

“We have had excellent conversations with both the US, the UK and Australia as to how we can work even closer. It’s good news that both Canada and New Zealand are going to be joined by Japan and that is engaging more closely in AUKUS conversations,” Trudeau stated.


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