OTTAWA: Canada on Thursday (Apr 7) unveiled C$8 billion (US$6.4 billion) in additional military spending over five years in its new budget, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but missed the NATO spending target of two percent of GDP.
Russian President Vladimir “Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has reminded us that our own peaceful democracy – like all the democracies of the world – depends ultimately on the defense of hard power,” Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said.
“We know that freedom does not come for free, and that peace is guaranteed only by our readiness to fight for it,” she said.
“That is why this budget makes an immediate, additional investment in our armed forces, and proposes a swift defense policy review to equip Canada for a world that has become more dangerous.”
According to NATO, Canada currently spends 1.36 per cent of GDP on the military, down slightly from just a few years ago.
To meet the NATO target, Ottawa would have to set aside significantly more for defense – at least 0.5 per cent of GDP – according to experts and parliament’s independent fiscal watchdog.
Freeland suggested Ottawa could still close that gap soon, proposing “a swift defense policy review to equip Canada for a world that has become more dangerous.”