NATO secretary-general urges Ottawa to meet its defence spending target

  • Canadian Press

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is set to meet with the prime minister in Ottawa today. Stoltenberg speaks to reporters outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, after meeting with President Joe Biden, Monday, June 17, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark Schiefelbein

OTTAWA -- NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is urging Canada to meet the alliance's defence spending target, while acknowledging it's tough for politicians to prioritize defence over social services.

He says meeting the two per cent target is important for the collective security of NATO in a world that is more dangerous due to war in the Middle East and Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Stoltenberg says he knows it's not easy for politicians to meet targets, but it's important for all allies to increase spending right now.

Earlier today, Defence Minister Bill Blair told reporters he believes Canada will meet the target even though the government has not presented a plan to do so.

Numbers released by NATO this week show Canada is expected to spend 1.37 per cent of its gross domestic product on defence this year.

Stoltenberg made the comments during a speech in Ottawa, where he received an award at an event hosted by the NATO Association of Canada.

This report by was first published June 19, 2024.