Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday May 26, 2017
Trudeau praises benefits of NATO intelligence sharing amid anger at U.S.
Canada’s deeply entrenched role in the fight against global extremism is more focused these days on intelligence-gathering — and sharing — than on putting more boots on the ground in the Middle East, Justin Trudeau suggested Thursday.
“The track record has shown that collaboration and co-operation between allies, friends and partners has saved lives and keeps all of our citizens safe,” Trudeau said at the outset of a daylong NATO meeting in Brussels.
“We are going to continue to collaborate and to work together to ensure we’re doing everything we can to keep citizens and our communities safe.”
Trudeau suggested the role that Canada now plays in fighting terrorism is through its membership in the so-called Five Eyes, an intelligence-sharing alliance that also includes the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand.
“We continue to be an important and trusted ally in the global intelligence community,” said Trudeau, who noted he would not go into detail.
“There are many, many occasions upon which we have directly participated and in other occasions directly benefited form information-sharing between security agencies and at the highest level.”
And while NATO agreed to assess its “level of support and the future of the mission” in Afghanistan, Trudeau betrayed no enthusiasm for sending soldiers back.
“We have no troops in Afghanistan at this time, but we are happy to be supportive in other ways.”
Trump has also been vocal about his demand for the other members of NATO to pick up their fair share of the tab when it comes to defence spending. Canada spends just over one per cent of its GDP on defence, just half of NATO’s target.
The Liberal government says its contribution is bigger than the numbers suggest, citing its commitment to send up to 455 troops to head up a multinational mission in Latvia, as part of efforts to curb Russian aggression in the Baltics. (Source: Toronto Star)