Outgoing Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre says Canada is unprepared to meet the challenges of an increasingly insecure world and needs to step up for its allies, as it remains the only NATO member without a clear date to reach the group's spending commitments.

In an interview on CTV's Question Period airing Sunday, Eyre told host Vassy Kapelos that in a time of global "polycrisis" — "crises stacked upon crises" — Canada's primary security goal should be "avoiding a great power war."

"And in today's day and age, that is done through deterrence," Eyre said. "We're facing adversaries whose strategic culture is such that they respect force, they respect hard power."

"We need to coexist, but coexist from a position of collective strength," he added, pointing to Canada's "competitive advantage" in being able to work with a group of like-minded allies, such as NATO.

"And to do that, we need to pull our weight," he said.

Canada has faced increasing public pushes from allies to chart a path to reach the NATO spending commitment of two per cent of GDP on defence.

The federal government's long awaited defence policy review, released in April, lays out a plan to reach 1.76 per cent of GDP on defence by 2030, but there's still no target date to hit two per cent.

On Friday, Defence Minister Bill Blair said further investments in the Arctic will set Canada on track to meet NATO's target soon, but he didn't lay out a timeline.

Canada is the only NATO country without a plan to reach the target, which allies agreed last summer would become a floor, not a ceiling.

When asked whether Canada's failure to lay out a path to two per cent is justifiable, Eyre said his larger concern is readiness.

"From my perspective, I do not defend that, and nobody in uniform defends that," Eyre said. "That is very much a political decision."

"That is what I've been calling an input metric," he added. "I'm much more concerned about what output metrics are, and in our case, that is capabilities and readiness."

When pressed on whether Canada is prepared to counter threats, Eyre said "no."

"The military that we have right now is not ready to counter the threats that we see coming," he said, adding there's a required sense of urgency to implement what's laid out in the federal government's defence policy update.

Eyre made headlines in the fall when it was reported the Department of National Defence was looking to reallocate nearly $1 billion from its budget, which many experts, including Eyre himself, warned could negatively impact the Canadian Armed Forces' capabilities.

Blair, at the time, insisted the budget changes were not cuts.

Eyre told Kapelos the reductions ended up being made to the operations and maintenance budget, and not to personnel or capital.

"Our defence spending is actually going up, but it's more focused on the capital side," he said. "The funding that came with our new defence policy covers a part of the (operations and maintenance) cuts from last year, (but) not fully, so we are still working through that, as to how we maintain readiness."

Eyre added there's no "one-size-fits-all solution," and when asked whether he believes the government should be spending more money on defence, he responded with an unequivocal "yes."

"Every predecessor in this job would have said the same thing," he said. "The fact is, there is no commander in history who has said they have had enough to deal with the threats in place."

Eyre — who is set to retire this summer after more than 35 years of military service and three years as Canada's top soldier — said the world "absolutely" feels less secure now than it did when he first took the job.

"The feeling is visceral," he said, pointing in particular to an "intense feeling of insecurity" for many living in eastern Europe, as the war continues to rage in Ukraine.

"Here in Canada, we are somewhat isolated with three oceans and a superpower to the south, but the world is becoming increasingly smaller, and incidents, activities, events on the other side of the world are having a more immediate effect here," he said.

You can watch Eyre's full interview on CTV's Question Period Sunday at 11 a.m. ET.