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A bipartisan group of 23 U.S. senators addressed a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, urging him to uphold Canada’s NATO commitment to spend at least 2% of GDP on defence, a benchmark the Liberal government has yet to meet.

The letter, dated Thursday, arrives just two months before NATO’s annual summit in Washington, D.C., which will mark the alliance’s 75th anniversary. The senators, including Ted Cruz and Mitt Romney, called on all NATO allies, including Canada, to fulfil their defence spending obligations. 

“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,” reads the letter. 

Canada’s recent defence plan, issued in April, prioritizes climate change while falling short of the NATO requirement to spend 2% of GDP on defence. Two-thirds of NATO allies have reached 2% of GDP spending towards defence, compared to just one-third in 2014.

Defence Minister Bill Blair said, “Canada will invest an additional $8.1 billion over the next five years and approximately $73 billion over the next 20 years.”

Despite this, the increased spending will still leave Canada short of the NATO target, reaching only 1.76% of GDP spent towards defence by 2030. 

“At the 2023 NATO Summit in Vilnius, all Allies agreed that 2% defence spending levels should be the floor — not the ceiling — of contributions to the Alliance,” reads the letter.

Other areas of focus in Canada’s defence plan include disinformation, cyber attacks, foreign interference, and integrating gender equality and diversity into the military.

The letter from the senators calls on all NATO allies to meet NATO’s pledge of spending at least 20% of their defence budget on equipment to modernize capabilities. Canada’s defence plan indicates it will exceed this 20% mark.

The senators commended Poland in their letter, saying that the country has already exceeded 3% of its GDP for defence spending.

Canada was criticized in the same letter for creating a plan that will fail to bring them to the 2% threshold by 2029, five years after the agreed-upon deadline.

“The North American Aerospace Defence Command is also in dire need of modernization, a process that can only move forward with direct cooperation from your government,” reads the letter.

“Canada will fail to meet its obligations to the Alliance, to the detriment of all NATO Allies and the free world, without immediate and meaningful action to increase defence spending,” the senators added.

The senators said that 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 2% defence spending threshold to have a plan to reach this benchmark as soon as possible,” the senators warned in their letter.

Each of the 23 U.S. senators individually signed the letter.

Canada committed to reach NATO’s 2% spending goal in 2014. The country has taken flack before for failing to meet its commitments to the organization.

The Liberals 2024 federal budget proposed $111.2 billion in new spending, a $40 billion deficit, and no plan to balance the budget.

True North reached out to Trudeau for comment but received no response.