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

‘Serious incident’ sends Abbotsford area worker to hospital

Few details are currently available, but WorkSafeBC says it is investigating

Raj Patara looks to bring ‘positive change’ to Abbotsford school board

Patara says focus should be on transparency, communication and accountability in school district

WATCH: A final salute for outgoing Abbotsford police chief Bob Rich

Changing of the guard ceremony held in Thunderbird Memorial Square Thursday morning

Abbotsford Panthers leap into AAA

Abby senior varsity football team ready for new challenge

House arrest for man who abused disabled Abbotsford woman, then blamed her

‘Groomed complainant’ and ‘violated position of trust,’ judge says

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

Free vet clinic caters to pets of homeless, low income people

The first such clinic in Langley will take place later this month.

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

Extradition hearing set for Lower Mainland developer accused of fraud

Mark Chandler will go before the B.C. Court of Appeals early next year.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Most Read