OTTAWA — A new NATO report says Canada’s defence spending increased in 2016, but that the country remains near the back of the pack when spending is expressed in the military alliance’s preferred measure: as a percentage of GDP. The federal Liberal government, meanwhile, points to a sharp increase in spending on equipment as an equally valid measure of Canada’s NATO commitment.
Here is a look at Canadian defence spending, by the numbers:
— All NATO members agreed in 2014 to spend two per cent of their gross domestic product on defence. The target was designed to help ensure all allies shouldered their fair share of responsibility.
— The NATO report released Monday estimates Canada spent 1.02 per cent of its GDP on defence, which would represent a slight increase from 0.98 per cent in 2015. But it is still only about half the NATO target.
— That percentage would put Canada in a three-way tie for 20th out of 28 NATO members in terms of spending on GDP — an improvement over last year’s 23rd place, but not enough to move Canada out of the bottom half of alliance members.
— Only five NATO members are expected to have met the two per cent target in 2016.
— All NATO members also agreed to invest 20 per cent of their defence budgets on equipment, to ensure alliance members were fielding modern militaries with state-of-the-art capabilities.
— NATO estimates the percentage of defence spending that Canada invested in equipment grew from 13.06 per cent in 2015 to 18.06 per cent in 2016, which would be the highest ratio in 20 years.
— That would rank Canada 11th out of 28 NATO members, according to this measure.
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