Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, middle, stands with Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance, left, Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, second from left, and Minister of National Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan, right, as he holds a press conference at the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday, July 12, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Trudeau bills 10-year defence spending plan as answer to Trump spending call

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau bills 10-year defence spending plan as answer to Donald Trump’s persistent spending call.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is billing a pre-existing plan to grow military spending by 70 per cent over the next 10 years as Canada’s answer to hat NATO allies spend two per cent of their GDP on defence.

At a news conference wrapping up the two-day NATO summit in Brussels, Trudeau was pressed to provide more details about the U.S. president’s sudden insistence that allies have agreed to spend more — and to do it more quickly.

“We are increasing our defence budget — indeed, we’re increasing it by 70 per cent over the next decade,” Trudeau said when asked about what Canada had agreed to during an emergency session of NATO members.

“This is something that came about following what, quite frankly, was years of declining investment and under-investment by a broad number of NATO allies over the past decades … including Canada.

“Canada had been also under-investing and neglecting its military investments.”

Related: Trudeau and Trump have informal meeting on trade at NATO summit

Related: Trudeau and Trump share concern about a proposed Russian pipeline

He touted his government’s long-awaited defence policy review, released last June, as the answer to Trump’s latest demands for more spending from NATO allies. And he said Canada has promised to reverse a decline in military resources with an eye towards the two per cent target.

“We reaffirmed our commitment to the Wales declaration … that is something we certainly agree with,” he said of the target, established during the NATO summit in Wales in 2014.

“That’s why we are pleased that based on the consultation we did with Canadians and our own defence policy review, we’re moving forward with increasing by 70 per cent our defence investments over the coming decade.”

Including that commitment, however, Canada’s current defence spending plans are only expected to bring it to 1.4 per cent of GDP, well short of the Wales target.

Canada was never expected to agree to Trump’s timelines for reaching two per cent. Instead, Trudeau’s announcement prior to the summit — plans to lead a new training mission in Iraq and an extension on its role with a NATO battle group in Latvia through 2023 — were aimed at demonstrating a commitment beyond mere dollars.

Following Thursday’s emergency session of NATO members, Trump declared the military alliance to be ”very unified, very strong, no problem.” He said he successfully pushed for NATO members to spend more of their budgets on defence and at a faster pace than expected.

He said NATO is “more co-ordinated” and there’s a “better spirit for NATO” — surprising sentiments considering Trump has long made his disdain for the alliance well known, and had even threatened to pull the U.S. out of the alliance over the spending dispute.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Proposed South Okanagan medical marijuana facility stalled

The RDOS voted to postpone on making a decision about Kaleden area proposed cannabis facility

Centre set up for Summerland wildfire evacuees

Summerland Emergency Support Services has processed 55 people from 16 households

Updated: Complete list of B.C. Interior wildfire coverage

Up-to-date information on blazes happening the Kamloops Wildfire Centre

Mount Conkle wildfire near Summerland continues to grow

Lightning-caused fire near Summerland now at estimated size of 80 hectares

Penticton bans open burning

Temporary fire ban takes effect noon Friday

BC Games: Opening Ceremony from Laketown Ranch

Hundreds of athletes and thousands of volunteers, coaches, parents and officials

Centre set up for Summerland wildfire evacuees

Summerland Emergency Support Services has processed 55 people from 16 households

Okanagan Mountain Park wildfire now an estimated 400 hectares

BC Wildfire is on scene of what is being called the Good Creek blaze

Flicked cigarette butt sparks small fire

The cigarette would have added fuel to the fire if it wasn’t for good samaritans

On the street: Kelowna reacts to 2018 wildfires

BC Wildfire is working with local departments to battle multiple blazes near Kelowna.

World’s translators push back on forcing Trump interpreter to testify

Democrats had asked translator to testify about Trump’s lengthy conversation with Putin in Helsinki

No decision on B.C. school stabbing suspect’s mental fitness for trial

The BC Review Board could not determine whether Gabriel Klein, 21, is fit to stand trial

Syrian refugees fear for lives at home

Former head of Salmon Arm Refugee Coalition says Canada should be doing more

Most Read