Friday, 21 September, 2018

Canada pledges support to Latvia's security

Canada's NATO troops will stay in Latvia for another four years:... Canada To Lead NATO Training Mission In Iraq
Deanna Wagner | 14 July, 2018, 01:58

Questioned repeatedly about Trump's attacks on European allies and Canada, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged the trans-Atlantic differences but refused to say whether the USA leader's attacks are damaging the alliance.

Asked directly whether Canada plans to meet the two per cent target, Trudeau said simply that there are no plans to double Canada's defence budget, which now stands at around $20 billion a year.

Asked about Canada's failure to achieve the 2% GDP defence investment spending as set out in NATO's aims at the 2014 Wales summit, Trudeau said that the aim was fairly "primitive" and that current modernisation and extension efforts of the Canadian military are sufficient.

And while Canada's role in the Latvian mission is positive, it is a relatively small one compared to ongoing North Atlantic Treaty Organisation missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo - two operations that are highlighted in annual reports from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation secretary general Jans Stoltenberg, said David Perry, a senior defence analyst with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.

An earlier version said defence spending in Canada as a percentage of GDP was higher in 2018 than in 2017.

Without those costs, Canada's reported defence spending would have been around one per cent of GDP.

Novichok that killed woman came from bottle, police believe
In a statement on Friday, the Met Police said they had discovered a bottle containing Novichok in Rowley's home. Rowley, 45, and his partner Dawn Sturgess , 44, collapsed at his house within hours of each other on June 30.

And while Trudeau acknowledged the target as a legitimate way of measuring the commitment of alliance members, he said he considers tangible and consistent resources and leadership, which Canada continues to demonstrate, to be more important. I want to be clear: "we are absolutely committed to the protection of our allies and global peace and security", Trudeau said at a news conference following his talks with Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis.

Eihenbaums said security is also a concern when it comes to trade - Latvia has been trying to grow its exports to Canada under the Canada-EU trade agreement.

"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".

Trudeau also met in Riga Tuesday with Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis.

Some see the controversial meeting as an undermining of the alliance itself, considering some of NATO's active military missions - including the one in Latvia - were undertaken in direct response to Russia's escalating aggression in the Baltic region.

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.