Canada to head new North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mission in Iraq

Patty Hajdu

Patty Hajdu

Canada's contribution to the mission will include a number of helicopters and crew to ferry North Atlantic Treaty Organisation personnel around the country, the senior official said, as well as 50 trainers, 20 headquarters staff and 150 soldiers to protect the force.

And he said Canada has promised to reverse a decline in military resources with an eye towards the two per cent target.

Canada will provide another four years and 85 personnel to the mission. Defence minister Harjit Sajjan's office could not provide additional details on Wednesday, but it is believed that the 250-personnel commitment will be drawn from the existing Canadian force already in the Middle East.

The president acknowledged Monday on Twitter that other member states have increased their defence spending, but repeated his complaint that the US contributes far more than other countries, which he said "is not fair nor is it acceptable".

The mission's activities have since been curtailed, and in some cases suspended, as a result of ISIL's defeat and ongoing fighting between some of the different Iraqi factions that Canada and its allies had been supporting. And we should understand that despite the fact that the Cold war ended and there was a significant reduction of the military presence of the U.S. and Canada to Europe (the last battle tank United States of America in 2013 left Europe), is now being moved to Europe armored brigade!

He was casual and familiar with the troops, joking around at a spaghetti dinner and admiring the armoured vehicles and equipment they had laid out to showcase for him.

"This is a moment for us to stand together and understand that the perspective that we fight for and stand for is essential today and tomorrow".

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.

"Those kinds of principles, I think, are going to be extraordinarily important in the 21st century as we get flows of migrations, people looking for better lives, people fleeing", he said.

"European allies are stepping up".

"Since NATO's creation in 1949, Canada has played a strong and active role in missions to advance peace and security for our citizens and people around the world". We do have disagreements.

The federal Liberal government's recent defence policy review committed Canada to an increase of 70 per cent in defence spending over the next 10 years, he added.

"That's the reason why they agreed to invest more in defence back in 2014", Stoltenberg said.

- with reporting from Lee Berthiaume in Ottawa.

"My instinct is that acquiring a capacity to strike harder and further and the need to give our country and our armed forces greater protection could soon require military spending well beyond two per cent of GDP", Mr Abbott said.

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