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

Taking bids for the Burns Lake community

Potential buyers attend the 50th Annual Rotary Auction at the Rotary Club… Continue reading

Bulkley-Nechako District gets new Chairperson, Board of Directors

The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) on Nov. 15 elected a new… Continue reading

B.C. boosts 2018 wildfire recovery aid by $10 million

The British Columbia government has allocated an additional $10 million in support… Continue reading

Burns Lake marks 100 years since Armistice

Burns Lake residents on Nov. 11 held a Remembrance Day ceremony at… Continue reading

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

B.C. VIEWS: Setting speed limits in a post-fact environment

Media prefer ‘speed kills’ narrative, even when it fails to appear

Controversy erupts over Japanese flag in B.C. classroom

Online petition demanding removal has collected more than 5,700 signatures

Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began

Trump says report on Khashoggi death expected in a few days

Jamal Khashoggi was a columnist for The Washington Post who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

CUPW requests mediator as deadline for Canada Post offer expires without deal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in Saturday night with a last-minute plea to the two sides

Trudeau says he won’t negotiate in public on future of LGBTQ rights in USMCA

Legislators urged Trump not to sign the agreement unless the language was removed.

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

Most Read