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Shaheen, Tillis to Prime Minister Trudeau: Increase Canada’s NATO Defense Spending

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Thom Tillis (R-NC), co-chairs of the U.S. Senate NATO Observers Group, led a bipartisan letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urging the country to immediately develop a plan to increase the required two percent of GDP for defense spending, as agreed to by all NATO Allies at the Vilnius Summit in 2023. Canada’s most recent projection showed it will not meet the two percent commitment this decade. Without immediate and meaningful action to increase defense spending, Canada will fail to meet its NATO obligations, jeopardizing the collective security of all the NATO Allies.

In part, the Senators wrote: “The 2023 Vilnius Summit agreement reiterated and expanded upon prior agreements of the two percent defense spending baseline, which Canada’s Defense Minister and Canada’s Head of Government agreed to in 2006 and 2014, respectively. […] As we approach the 2024 NATO Summit in Washington, D.C., we are concerned and profoundly disappointed that Canada’s most recent projection indicated that it will not reach its two percent commitment this decade.”

They continued: “The United States’ commitment to NATO is unwavering. Later this year, when the United States hosts the 2024 NATO Summit to lay out priorities for the upcoming year, we will expect your government and every NATO member that has not met the two percent defense spending threshold to have a plan to reach this benchmark as soon as possible.”

Full text of the letter can be found here.

In addition to Shaheen and Tillis, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jim Risch (R-ID), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Chris Coons (D-DE), John Cornyn (R-TX), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Angus King (I-ME), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Tim Scott (R-SC), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) also signed onto this letter to the Prime Minister.

As co-chairs of the U.S. Senate NATO Observer Group, which they re-started together in 2018, Shaheen and Tillis led bipartisan efforts in the Senate in support of the transatlantic Alliance. Last month, the Senators sent a bipartisan letter to President Biden outlining key objectives and priorities for the upcoming NATO Summit, which will take place in July in Washington, DC. The Senators have been outspoken in their support to grow the Alliance, recently applauding ratification by Türkiye’s Parliament of Sweden’s NATO accession protocols and leading a resolution criticizing Hungary’s previous delay in ratifying Sweden’s accession.