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Canada's perennial status as a NATO freeloader is getting awkward

National Post: 'On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continued his tour of Europe to “work closely with allies to strengthen NATO.” But even as Canada places 500 troops in Latvia and pledges CF-18s for Romania, there is an elephant in the room whenever Trudeau talks to NATO members about collective security: He happens to represent a country that has spent more than a generation utterly phoning in its NATO commitments.

'NATO members are generally expected to spend about two per cent of their GDP on defence. Canada spends about 1.39 per cent – one of the lowest in the alliance. Even if you try and tweak the numbers by adding in the RCMP and the Coast Guard (which are technically considered “military forces” by NATO), we’re still looking at a defence budget of around 1.4 per cent of GDP. Tack on a round of planned Liberal defence spending increases, and we’re still at just 1.5 per cent.'

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