BRUSSELS – 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 Donald Trump’s persistent demand that 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.
He says Canada — where current defence spending plans are only expected to reach 1.4 per cent of GDP — has promised to reverse a decline in military resources with an eye towards the two per cent target.
Trudeau has already announced a renewed commitment to NATO with plans to lead a new training mission in Iraq and extending its role with a NATO battle group in Latvia through 2023.
Trump said following an emergency session of NATO members, the military alliance is “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” even amid reports that he threated to pull the United States out of the alliance in a dispute over defence spending.