Forget spending 2 percent of its GDP on defense, Canada already expects to spend less on its military in 2018 than it did last year.
According to a NATO report released Wednesday, Canada will spend about 1.23 percent of its GDP on defense, down from a paltry 1.36 percent in 2017.
That’s nowhere near the 2 percent pledge that Canada — along with all NATO members — made in 2014. Canada hasn’t been close to that level of spending since the 1970s when it operated army and Air Force bases in Germany.
Despite releasing an ambitious defense policy last summer that promised billions in new military spending within the next decade, even if the plan comes to fruition, Canada will still fall short of the 2 percent plateau and only reach 1.4 percent of the GDP.
The reason for the drop in spending this year resides in two pension and salary expenses incurred in 2017, National Defense spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier told the Canadian Press.
The report is released just as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to claim that Canada’s lead role in a Latvian peacekeeping operation and an offer to command a training mission in Iraq make up for the economic shortfall.
“Canada continues to place a premium on tangible operational contributions as well as on demonstrating a commitment and capacity to deploy and sustain personnel in support of the NATO alliance,” Le Bouthillier told CP.
At the end of the NATO summit on Thursday, Trudeau suggested that Canada would “work toward” the two percent spending level but mistakenly said Canada was spending more on defense.
“The president has been consistent that he wants to see people spending more on defense in their countries and we are very pleased we are doing that,” Trudeau said.