Canada extends North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mission in Latvia to 2023: Trudeau

Blanche Robertson
July 11, 2018

Canada leads one of four battalions deployed by the Western defence alliance on its eastern flank in 2017 in a deterrence and defence posture following Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Canada has no plans to double its defence budget, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted Tuesday, despite continued calls from Donald Trump for all North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries to meet agreed-upon targets for defence spending.

The prime minister's comments came on the eve of what many expect will be one of the most contentious meetings between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders in the alliance's 69-year history, with Trump having put allies on notice that they need to pony up on defence - or else.

Trump pivoted, taking aim at European Union trade barriers to the United States: "On top of this the European Union has a Trade Surplus of $151 Million with the USA, with big Trade Barriers on US goods. NO!" Trudeau's visit is the first ever by a Canadian head of government to Latvia, his office said.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military planners anticipate that the deployment of battle groups in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania could last a decade.

Canada will extend its military presence in Latvia by four years, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday during a visit to Riga a day before a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit. Are we leading in different opportunities?

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"That's a metric by which Canada can be extraordinarily proud".

And when asked directly whether Canada plans to meet the 2% target, Trudeau said simply that there are no plans to double Canada's defence budget.

"European allies are stepping up".

The federal Liberal government's recent defence policy review committed Canada to an increase of 70% in defence spending over the next 10 years, he added. He continued, "Unless the European Union finally takes action to stop breaking the rules and harming USA interests, the United States will have to move forward with countermeasures on European Union products".

With reporting from Lee Berthiaume in Ottawa.

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