Monday, July 15, 2024

At Washington summit, Nato allies urge Canada to increase military spending

Canada Under Pressure to Increase Military Spending: Will Trudeau Deliver?

Canada Faces Pressure to Increase Military Spending Amid Nato Concerns

Canada is facing mounting pressure to ramp up its military spending as it falls short of the 2% target set for Nato members, prompting fears that the country is becoming an outlier among its allies.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to attend the Nato summit in Washington DC this week to mark the military alliance’s 75th anniversary, where the message on Canada’s lagging military expenditure is expected to be crystal clear.

While Canada ranks seventh overall in defense spending among Nato countries, it only allocates 1.34% of its GDP to the military, significantly below the alliance’s 2% requirement. This places Canada ahead of only a few other Nato members in terms of military expenditure.

Despite promises to increase the defense budget to nearly C$50 billion by 2030, which would make up 1.76% of Canada’s GDP, the country is still projected to fall behind its allies over the next decade.

The United States has expressed frustration with Canada’s shortfall in military spending, with bipartisan senators and the US ambassador to Canada highlighting the issue. The looming possibility of former President Donald Trump’s return to power also adds pressure, as he had previously urged European Nato members to increase their defense budgets.

In response, Canada’s defense minister, Bill Blair, assured that the country would share a credible plan to boost military spending soon. However, the repercussions of Canada’s lagging defense spending are already being felt, with the country excluded from key international talks and defense pacts.

Experts attribute Canada’s low military spending to historical reliance on nuclear allies for protection and competing budget priorities like healthcare and social services. The country’s efforts to catch up in military capabilities have been hindered by procurement issues and decades of neglect.

The Nato summit is expected to address Canada’s defense spending concerns, with pressure likely to be exerted behind closed doors. While allies appreciate Canada’s contributions, there is a growing need for the country to step up and meet its Nato commitments to maintain its standing in the international community.

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