2% of NATO | Nearly a quarter of American senators lecture Justin Trudeau

2% of NATO | Nearly a quarter of American senators lecture Justin Trudeau
2% of NATO | Nearly a quarter of American senators lecture Justin Trudeau

(Ottawa) Twenty-three American senators – Democrats and Republicans – sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urging him to increase Canadian military spending in order to reach the NATO floor target of 2%.


Posted at 4:51 p.m.

The senators get straight to the point in this missive sent about a month and a half before the next NATO summit, which will be held this year in Washington.

“We write to urge your government to honor the commitment agreed to by all North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies. […] by increasing defense spending levels to 2% of each country’s gross domestic product (GDP), they write.

Describing Canada as a “valuable ally” of NATO, they emphasize that “the Transatlantic Alliance is today faced with one of the most serious threats in its history”, and that all allies must therefore respect the commitments made in 2014 in Wales, and reaffirmed in 2023 in Vilnius.

“As we approach the 2024 NATO Summit in Washington, DC, we are concerned and deeply disappointed that Canada’s most recent projections indicate it will not meet its 2% commitment this decade », They continue in the letter published on the CBC website.

According to the most recent estimates from the political-military alliance which were published in mid-March, Canada will devote 1.33% of its GDP to the defense budget, and 14.4% for major equipment spending. , in 2023.

The Trudeau government announced in a review of defense policy unveiled on April 8 that it was committed to increasing military spending in the coming years to the point of devoting 1.76% of GDP to the defense budget in 2029. -2030.

The United States Embassy in Canada was not offended by the absence of a road map towards reaching the 2% target – at least, not publicly. Ambassador David Cohen welcomed Canada’s “firm financial commitments”.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg did not throw stones at Ottawa either.

A demanded plan

Influential senators are among the signatories of the letter sent to Prime Minister Trudeau: among others, we find the names of Mitt Romney, Joe Manchin and Ted Cruz. The missive is initialed by 11 Democrats, 10 Republicans and two independents.

“When the United States hosts the NATO Summit in 2024 to set priorities for the coming year, we expect your government and all NATO members who have not reached the threshold of 2 % of their defense spending that they have a plan to reach this threshold,” they warn.

The meeting of members of the Alliance will be held in the American federal capital from July 9 to 11.

Bill Blair seeks to downplay

Canadian Defense Minister Bill Blair said he was “confident” that he would succeed in convincing “these concerned senators that Canada will be a ready and capable ally for NATO, for North America and NORAD and to worldwide “.

“We know that we must do more,” he also argued, without committing to present to NATO allies – the majority of whom, 18 out of 31, should reach or exceed the famous 2%. in 2024 – a timetable towards reaching the target.

The American approach is embarrassing for Canada, reacted conservative MP Pierre-Paul Hus: “I find it shameful that American senators are obliged to do this, to send a letter to the Prime Minister of Canada to tell him , hey, sir, you have obligations to respect, do it.”

The Conservative Party has also not formally committed to meeting the target.

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