Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg paid tribute on Monday (15 July 2019) to Canada’s vital role in the Alliance, including with forces for NATO missions and operations, and increased defence spending. Mr. Stoltenberg was speaking during a visit to Canadian Forces Base Petawawa with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The two leaders met members of the Canadian Armed Forces and Mr. Stoltenberg thanked those that had served in NATO deployments, including leading NATO’s training mission in Iraq and a multinational battlegroup in Latvia. Mr Stoltenberg said: “We are safer when we stand together. And together we defend our shared values: Democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law. In uncertain times, we need strong multilateral institutions more than ever. NATO is stronger with Canada, and Canada is stronger in NATO.”
The Secretary General and Prime Minister Trudeau had talks about current security challenges, including work to further strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defence. They discussed burden-sharing in the Alliance, which will be an important topic when NATO leaders meet in London in December. Mr. Stoltenberg and Prime Minister Trudeau both agreed on the importance of Allies investing more in defence and they welcomed that this is the fifth consecutive year of rising defence spending across European Allies and Canada.
The Secretary General thanked the Prime Minister for Canada agreeing to continue to command NATO’s training mission in Iraq for a second year. The mission trains Iraqi security forces, helping prevent the return of ISIS and increase stability in the region. Mr. Stoltenberg also commended Canada for its strong support for Ukraine by providing training and funding. He further welcomed Canada’s strong leadership on the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
Later on Monday the Secretary General will deliver a speech at the University of Toronto’s Massey College, and on Wednesday he will participate in the Aspen Security Forum in the United States.