Canada offers to lead new North Atlantic Treaty Organisation training mission in Iraq

Cheryl Sanders
July 14, 2018

Canada's defence spending is now 1.23 per cent and only projected to reach 1.4 per cent in 2024.

But any increases in military spending will not come as a result of pressure to do so from "people talking about a two per cent goal", he said when asked about Trump, but rather because of a desire to live up to the country's commitments to its military allies around the world.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, however, dismissed the suggestion of a link between Trump's belligerent rhetoric and the Iraq mission, insisting that it's simply a case of doing the right thing.

Trump took Twitter swipes at Canada following the G7 summit - mostly over Canadian dairy policy - but reserved his most persistent and personal attacks for Trudeau himself, calling him "dishonest" and "weak" for telling the closing G7 news conference that Canada would not be "pushed around" on trade.

"The mission is the natural next step for Canada, as we move forward from the successful fight against [ISIS] to helping build institutional capacity in Iraq and create the foundations for longer-term peace and stability", according to a statement issued by Ottawa on Wednesday.

"We remain resolute in our support for security in the Baltic region", said Trudeau.

Either way, the actual number of Canadian troops deployed overseas will increase only marginally with the two new commitments: the 250 service members assigned to the new training mission will be drawn from the 850 that the government had already allocated for Iraq operations. The government is also adding about 80 more soldiers, bringing the total to around 530.

In November, the Canadian Forces sent personnel from Garrison Petawawa to help train Iraqi security forces in countering the threat of improvised explosive devices.

American and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military officials gave the green light to transform current USA -led coalition mission in Iraq into a more-multinational campaign amid the promise of new commitments from partner nations to increase the alliance's contribution to a post-Islamic State Iraq.

In 2015, Canadian special forces Sergeant Andrew Doiron was killed and three members of his unit wounded when Kurdish troops mistakenly opened fire on them.

They also discussed Canada's "significant contributions to the alliance" and the importance of the transatlantic bond that NATO provides to unite Europe and North America.

"I am happy to announce today that Canada is extending our contribution... here in Latvia".

The decline is largely the result of two one-time expenses a year ago: a retroactive pay increase for service members that was included in the Liberal government's defence policy, and a $1.8-billion payment into the account that provides pensions for Forces members and their dependents.

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