Republican Rep. Michael Turner of Ohio told NATO’s defense and security committee Saturday in Halifax that Canada is failing to meet its own defense spending commitments.
As CBC News reported, Turner, the acting chairman of the committee, reminded Canadian Deputy Defense Minister Jody Thomas that Canada was one of the NATO nations attending a 2014 NATO summit that promised to increase its defense spending to two percent of its GDP. (RELATED: Trump Tells Trudeau To Up Defense Spending As NATO Summit Looms)
“Many of the nations that are here are either meeting their two percent or have in place a plan to reach the two per cent,” said Turner. “Canada is one of those countries who has not yet put forward a commitment to reach the two percent although that is a commitment that Canada joined in making at Wales.” (RELATED: Support For NATO Grows In US And Canada As Trudeau Slashes Defense Spending)
Thomas could only point to a promise by the Trudeau government to increase defense spending to 1.46 percent of its GDP by 2024. Trudeau has consistently said that Canada’s participation in peacekeeping activities offsets its lower defense spending levels, what Thomas called “qualitative” spending.
“Canada’s defense budget is growing by 70 percent as a result of Strong, Secure, Engaged [Canada’s defense policy],” said Thomas. “We also on the ground are leading a significant number of operations, and we have never not participated in a NATO commitment or operation.”
Thomas did not mention that the 70 percent increase in spending on the Canadian Armed Forces is spread over a decade, as spelled out in the last defense policy paper issued by Canada’s Liberal government.
Canada is currently engaged in a peacekeeping mission to Mali that has become increasingly volatile in the past few months as the civil war in the African country has actually escalated since the Canadian Troops arrived in June.