PM Justin Trudeau announces new Canada led training mission in Iraq

PM Justin Trudeau announces new Canada led training mission in Iraq

PM Justin Trudeau announces new Canada led training mission in Iraq

But while he acknowledged the tensions between Canada and the US playing out in a trade dispute triggered by American tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, Trudeau said the USA remains a close friend and trading partner regardless of who is prime minister or president.

U.S. President Donald Trump and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg have latched onto the target as an important indicator of how much individual members are contributing to the alliance.

In a possible attempt to outflank Mr. Trump's demands for money, Mr. Trudeau announced that Canada would lead the Iraq training and military academy building mission for the first year, and stands ready to provide 250 troops and an unspecified number of helicopters.

Canada assumes command of the mission, which will be led by an as yet unnamed Canadian major-general, for one year.

Canada was never expected to agree to Trump's timelines for reaching two per cent.

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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.

Trudeau says that while the two per cent target remains a legitimate way of measuring the commitment of alliance members, he considers tangible and consistent resources and leadership, which Canada continues to demonstrate, to be more important.

Canada is expected to spend an estimated 1.23 per cent of its GDP on defence in 2018 - down from 1.36 per cent previous year, says the annual report, which looks at military investments for all member states.

"This need not presage a darker time, like Rome's withdrawal from Britain, but more will be required of the world's other free countries".

"My message is that we are actually now stepping up", Stoltenberg said.

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Trudeau's photo ops with Canadian troops overseas will be aimed at buttressing Canada's argument that it provides meaningful and substantial contributions to the alliance, even if it isn't meeting the two per cent target. "The reason to invest is not to please the United States".

"When you think of it, what Trump is making clear - to us and to others - is what should always have been screamingly obvious: that our nation's safety now rests in our own hands, far more than in anyone else's".

"Yes, we need to take care of the poverty and challenges we have at home, each of us - but we also need to look at what we do to alleviate stress, tensions, misery around the world, because if we don't, the trend lines we'll be on as a world will leave us all poorer, poorer off".

But given that Trump has followed through on other threats - including tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and the European Union, as well as a full-blown trade war with China - Perry said allies ought to be concerned about the possibility that Trump isn't bluffing.

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