Canadian Army waiting for air-defence systems as Ottawa buys equipment for Ukraine

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government's plan to buy anti-aircraft missiles for Ukraine is prompting questions about why such equipment isn't being bought for the Canadian Army.

The Army has been without weapons to defend Canadian troops from enemy aircraft, rockets and drones since the last of its anti-air weapons were retired in 2012.

Efforts to acquire new ones have remained stuck in neutral for years despite numerous army commanders emphasizing the need for them.

Former Liberal MP and retired Army commander Andrew Leslie says he supports the government's decision to buy an American-made surface-to-air missile system for Ukraine.

But he and other former Army officers say Ottawa should be doing the same thing for the Canadian military to address a critical deficiency in its defensive capabilities.

Defence Minister Anita Anand's office would not explain why the government is buying a system for Ukraine but not the Canadian military.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 11, 2023.

The Canadian Press