Local News

Canada’s Arctic boost puts it on track to meet NATO target: minister

Canada looks on track to meet NATO’s military spending guideline soon, Defence Minister Bill Blair said Friday, notably by boosting investment in the Arctic near its shared border with Russia as the region warms quickly due to climate change.

After Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, NATO allies agreed to halt budget cuts and move toward spending two per cent of their gross domestic product on defence within a decade. Canada was barely spending one per cent at the time.

Last year, as it became clear that Russia’s war with Ukraine would grind on, they decided that two per cent should be a spending minimum. According to NATO figures, Canada was estimated to be spending 1.33 per cent of GDP on its military budget in 2023.

“My defence spending budget will increase by 27 per cent next year over this year,” Blair said at a meeting with his NATO counterparts in Brussels. “We’ve begun the important processes of acquiring the additional capabilities that we require (and) to meet NATO’s requirements of us.”

He said that Canada is investing “quite significantly in the high Arctic” and building new military capabilities like maritime sensors that can detect threats.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world
sent to your email, as it happens.

“I believe it brings us inevitably to over 2 per cent of defence spending. But I’ve got some work to do in order to be able to articulate that both to my own country and to our allies,” Blair told reporters.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said that he expects around two thirds of the alliance’s 32 member countries to spending 2 per cent of GDP on their defence budgets this year, up from just three countries a decade ago.

&copy 2024 The Canadian Press


Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *