Republican senator calls out Canada’s ‘feeble commitment’ on NATO spending

Canada is again in the U.S. spotlight for what one Republican senator is calling its “feeble commitment” to defence spending.

Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan called out the Liberal government’s commitment to NATO during a confirmation hearing Wednesday for the next Norad commander.

Sullivan cited a Wall Street Journal editorial earlier this month that described Canada as a free rider on the global military alliance.

The country has a history of falling well short of NATO’s agreed-upon spending target of two per cent of GDP.

And a Washington Post report in April said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has privately conceded that Canada, where defence spending is at around 1.3 per cent, would never meet NATO’s threshold.

U.S. Air Force Lt.-Gen. Gregory Guillot, President Joe Biden’s nominee to take over the continental aerospace defence system, promised Sullivan he would press Canada to meet the target.

“Americans get frustrated when our allies don’t pull their weight,” Sullivan said, noting the subject came up during the recent NATO summit in Vilnius.

“With regard to NATO, Canada’s not even close to pulling its weight. Can you commit to us to have those tough conversations, but important, with your Canadian counterparts?”

“Yes, senator, you can count on me to do that,” Guillot replied.