Canada-Nato: Concerns have been expressed regarding Canada’s commitment to NATO and its defence duties, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s defence spending and contribution have come under examination.
John Ivison outlines how Canada’s modest defence spending has angered NATO members in this piece and urges Trudeau to move quickly to resolve the situation. The article emphasises the potential repercussions of insufficient contributions to collective security while drawing attention to Canada’s lower defence spending than that of other NATO members.
Trudeau’s rhetoric no longer reflects reality.
Both allies and detractors are challenging Prime Minister Trudeau’s claim that capability takes precedence over accounting criteria and Canada always answers the call. The gap between Trudeau’s words and Canada’s defence assistance is becoming more and more obvious.
Weak Defence Support Amid NATO Summit
Canada’s modest defence contribution is highlighted by Trudeau’s recent trip to Latvia ahead of the NATO meeting. While Latvia’s Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins praises Canada for its 800-member battle group, he diplomatically chooses not to bring up the country’s relatively low defence spending.
Canada’s Missed NATO Spending Goals
NATO partners are concerned about Trudeau’s declaration that Canada will not fulfil the two percent GDP objective for defence spending that was set. According to Reuters, each of the 31 allies has agreed to devote at least two percent of their GDP to strengthening their armed forces, which may result in a significant rise in defence spending.
Resistance to Increasing Defence Spending
The Canadian government is looking for alternatives to fulfil the threshold without spending more money, despite the Parliamentary Budget Office’s estimate that it would take an additional $18.2 billion a year for Canada to achieve the two percent goal. Among allies, this strategy has drawn criticism for broadening the meaning of defence spending.
An Administration Avoiding Defence Commitments
With other policy areas taking precedence over national security, the Trudeau administration seems hesitant to increase funding for defence. With only 11 of the 31 nations in NATO fulfilling the two percent goal, this strategy has earned Canada the reputation of being a relative free rider.
Underlining: Effects of underfunding
On land, at sea, and in the air, Canada’s inadequate defence spending has real repercussions. The consequence of insufficient resources and capabilities is demonstrated by the delay in deploying 2,200 troops to Latvia and the absence of Canada from a recent air exercise by NATO.
Increasing Calls for Defence Commitments to Be Serious
Former Canadian defence ministers and chiefs of the defence staff have pleaded with the government to uphold its obligations to collective security. They emphasised the importance of the Department of National Defence making timely and effective expenditures in their open letter.
Trudeau’s Reputation is at Risk
If Trudeau agrees to the two percent goal at the NATO summit, he must quickly show that he is making considerable progress towards achieving it. Failure to do so may further damage his reputation with important allies like Washington, London, Berlin, and Paris.
Relations with NATO partners have been strained as a result of the contradiction between Trudeau’s rhetoric and Canada’s defence spending. Trudeau must reconcile his government’s reluctance to spend additional funding with allies’ expectations as requests for greater defence contributions become more vocal. The results of the NATO conference will determine how credible Trudeau’s defence pledges and his capacity to uphold powerful relationships are.