Like their [US] brethren to the south, Canadian conservatives are now increasingly saying Canada is sending too much to Ukraine.

The percentage of Canadians who voted for the Conservative Party in the last election, and who now say Canada is doing too much to assist Ukraine, has more than doubled — from 19 per cent in May 2022 to 43 per cent now — according to the public opinion research group's findings.

But the Canadian help figures ($2.75 billion--mentioned there--2.4 billion in military aid and 350 million civilian) certainly pale in comparison with the US ones, which are like 40 times that--around 113 billion, despite the US population being only around 9 times more than Canada's. But maybe $2.75 billion is a lot of money relative to other Canadian efforts abroad. So how does this compare to their [former] involvement in Afghanistan or other similar things?

1 Answer 1


Rather lightly, considering the stakes.

Afghanistan in Review: Looking back at Canada’s longest war - Open Canada

Canada’s war in Afghanistan cost Ottawa at least $18 billion, with more than 40,000 members of the Canadian Forces serving there from 2001-2014, helping to overthrow the Taliban and chase out al-Qaeda. Many other Canadians spent time in the country working in a government capacity, doing development work with NGOs, or bearing witness as journalists. Battles were fought and blood was spilled — 158 Canadian soldiers and thousands of Afghan civilians lost their lives* — in an effort to stem corruption, shore up human rights and build schools and dams.

Canada's Afghan mission could cost up to $18.1B

The military mission in Afghanistan could cost a total of $18.1 billion or $1,500 per Canadian household by 2011, according to a government report that also criticized how financial records are being kept.

From gov.ca Just in aid

From 2001 to 2021, Canada provided $3.9 billion in international assistance to Afghanistan. These funds supported stabilization, reconstruction, peace and development efforts in Afghanistan.

Granted, the disbursement rate now is comparable or higher to the Afghan mission's average (I suspect "peak fighting years", near 2006-08 cost more), but there is no reason to think this will last 10+ years, unlike Afghanistan's recurring quagmire. And there is no cost in Canadian lives, unlike our mission in Afghanistan.

In all fairness, direct comparisons to US aid can be misleading (and should be based on gdp, not population). A good deal of US aid seems to have been drawdowns of existing, often past-its-prime, weapons sitting in US stocks. Canada's armed forces on the other hand are quite strapped in equipment, and past-its-prime crap is often still actively used, meaning that there is just less easy-to-part-with stuff laying around.

  • In the end the Canadian money and lives lost were a complete and utter waste of lives and resources, as the Taliban took over and destroyed everything the West has worked on. But hopefully Ukraine will do a bit better. Feb 6 at 17:40

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