Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday February 22, 2017
Trudeau says Canada one of NATO’s ‘strongest actors’ without committing more money
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke about Canada’s diverse contributions to the NATO partnership without committing to up its defence spending when he addressed a news conference in Berlin.
Trudeau and Angela Merkel addressed reporters Friday following their morning meeting and an impromptu dinner Thursday at the German chancellor’s invitation.
Trump has called the 28-country alliance obsolete and U.S. Defence Secretary James Mattis told his fellow defence ministers in Brussels this week that while the United States still holds NATO in high regard, it expects its allies to start spending more on defence or the Trump administration will “moderate its commitment.”
Germany has signalled it will heed the warning and make attempts to boost defence spending, which Merkel brought up when asked about it on Friday.
But in Ottawa, there’s little indication that any increase in NATO-specific defence spending is on the horizon.
‘Germany and Canada have always been among the strongest actors in NATO.’- Justin Trudeau
Canada currently spends 0.99 per cent of gross domestic product on defence. That’s below the NATO target of two per cent of GDP, which only a handful of alliance countries have met.
On Friday, Trudeau said that two per cent target is one all NATO countries agreed to, but there are many ways of looking at a country’s contributions to the alliance.
“When you look at the countries that regularly step up — delivering troops, participating in missions, being there to do the heavy lifting in the alliance — Germany and Canada have always been amongst the strongest actors in NATO,” he said.
He made the case that Canada is leading the battle group in Latvia, and working to procure more aircraft and ships for its military as two examples.(Source: CBC News)