NATO report | Trudeau defends Canada’s military spending

(Krün) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday defended Canada’s military spending after a new NATO report this week showed Canada was heading in the wrong direction.

Posted at 10:20am
Updated at 12:22 p.m

Laura Osman
The Canadian Press

Canada and other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) agreed in 2014 to increase defense spending to 2% of their national gross domestic product. This goal should also be in the foreground when the leaders of the military alliance meet in Spain on Wednesday.

But the new report, released Monday by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, estimates that Canada’s defense spending will actually decline as a percentage of GDP this year. According to NATO, that spending would rise to 1.27% this year, compared to 1.32% last year and 1.42% in 2020.

The report does not explain this drop, nor does it account for the $8 billion in new military spending promised in the April federal budget, but the target for which was not clearly defined by the Liberal government.


PHOTO PAUL CHIASSON, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Justin Trudeau

Asked about the NATO report at Tuesday’s press conference concluding the G7 meeting in Germany as he prepared for his trip to Madrid, Trudeau said his government had announced several “significant” new investments.

This includes $4.9 billion to modernize the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and plans to purchase new fighter jets to replace aging CF-18s.

Field Obligations

The Prime Minister also said that Canada has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to the Atlantic Alliance by deploying troops and equipment in various missions, including command of the NATO multinational force in Latvia.

“Canada is still part of NATO missions and continues to play an important role in them,” said Mr. Trudeau. We know the importance of taking action and we will continue to do so to ensure the world knows it can count on Canada to advance the cause of democracy, the rule of law and opportunity for all . »

Trudeau, however, dodged questions about Canada’s willingness to send more troops to Latvia as NATO seeks to double the size of its forces in the Baltics in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Latvia’s ambassador to Ottawa told The Canadian Press earlier this week that Canada is in talks with allies about strengthening the Canadian military-led battle group in its country.

Battlegroup in Latvia is one of four battlegroups created by NATO in 2017. Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States each command a Battlegroup in Lithuania, Estonia, and Poland.

Germany and Britain have said in recent weeks that they are ready to lead larger combat groups in Lithuania and Estonia, but Canada has so far not commented on its intentions in Latvia.

Trudeau also didn’t say Tuesday whether Canada is ready to put more troops on “high readiness” — Secretary General Stoltenberg announced Monday that NATO plans to increase the number of troops from 40,000 to 300,000 at a “high readiness level.” raise “.

“We have worked closely with NATO partners, with the NATO Secretary General and in particular with Latvia, where Canada is a leader [groupement tactique] and is committed to ensuring that we continue to stand against Russia,” Trudeau said on Tuesday.

“We, like others, make plans to scale quickly,” he added. And I’m really looking forward to these talks over the next two days” in Madrid.

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