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Canada would need to spend up to $25B more per year to meet NATO defence target: PBO


Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux estimates Canada would need to set aside between $20 to 25 billion per year to meet NATO’s defence spending target.

Giroux told CTV News Channel’s Power Play the calculated amount is what’s required for Canada to go from its current level of 1.39 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) to two per cent of GDP, as many of its allies have reached and exceeded.

“Because GDP is growing, there’s inflation, GDP inflation. That means that if you want to meet two per cent of a growing base you have to spend more and we’re far from that two per cent target as it is, so anywhere between $20 to 25 billion more per year, every year, to meet that two per cent target,” he said on Wednesday.

Greece allocates the most in defence spending among NATO members, at 3.82 per cent, followed by the U.S. at 3.52 per cent, Croatia at 2.79 per cent, the U.K. at 2.29 per cent and Estonia at 2.28 per cent.

Pressure has mounted on the Canadian government to enhance their share since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and discussions of more permanent deployments in Eastern Europe.

Both Defence Minister Anita Anand and Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly have indicated that Canada intends to bring more to the table.

“I'm very much aware also that other countries have stepped up the defence budget, such as Germany, to face these challenging times, and I think that we have to do more,” Joly said during an interview on CTV’s Your Morning on March 18.

The Conservatives say they hope Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes an announcement about boosting Canada’s defence spending at a NATO summit in Brussels Thursday.

“Canada can no longer shirk its responsibility to the NATO alliance into the defence and security not only of Europe, but of Canada. The world has changed and Canadian policy needs to change with it,” said the Conservative foreign affairs critic Michael Chong on CTV News Channel’s Power Play.

Meanwhile, NDP foreign affairs critic Heather McPherson said the issue of Canada’s declining military resourcing is both longstanding and nonpartisan.

“We have seen our military be decimated over [the] long-term. This is not something that has just happened. We have not provided the tools that our soldiers, our men and women in uniform, need to do the jobs that we're asking them to do safely,” she said.

The government has also committed to enhance recruitment efforts within the Canadian Armed Forces.




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