NATO chief happy with plan to grow Canada's military, but hopes for more

WATCH: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg praised Canada's contributions to NATO's and its plan to grow its military over the coming decades, and fight for gender equality.

OTTAWA – The head of NATO is praising Canada’s plan to grow its military over the coming decades, which the Trudeau government promised when it rolled out its new defence policy last year.

But NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also says he still expects all members of the military alliance to spend two per cent of their GDP on defence – a figure that the Liberal policy won’t meet for the foreseeable future.

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Stoltenberg made the comments to The Canadian Press following an address to MPs, military experts and industry representatives on Parliament Hill, where he is also scheduled to meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Much of that meeting is expected to focus on Russia, which touched off shockwaves in Eastern Europe today – and forced the closure of part of Latvia’s airspace – by test firing several missile into the Baltic Sea.

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Canada has 450 soldiers in Latvia leading a NATO battlegroup, comprised of troops from half-a-dozen other nations.

Stoltenberg says the Russian missile tests do not pose any direct threat to the Canadians or their allies, but they underscore the importance of a strong NATO presence in Latvia and the rest of Eastern Europe.

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© 2018 The Canadian Press

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