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

Surrey Central SkyTrain Station upgrades completed

It’s the seventh station along Expo Line to see upgrades completed. Construction began in March 2017

Semiahmoo Trail students surpass Coldest Night fundraising goal

Rocco Forte and his team are third-year participants in Saturday’s Coldest Night of the Year walk

Tardi and team playoff bound in junior curling worlds tonight

Friday night Team Canada’s men’s team faces off against Norway, hoping to secure a spot in the finals

Surrey students learn the ins and outs of business through workers’ co-operative

Mentors work with youth in voluntary after-school program

Pink Shirt Day a reminder to ‘T.H.I.N.K.’ before posting on social media

‘Be Kind’ message on shirts sold for anti-bullying activities of Wednesday, Feb. 27

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Man sentenced to 7 years for smuggling drugs and shooting at border guards in Sumas

Nathan Hall was arrested in Abbotsford in 2013 after day-long manhunt

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Most Read