LONDON (NEWS 1130) – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was on the defensive as he met with U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of a major gathering of NATO leaders in London Tuesday.
The meeting kicked off with talk around the new NAFTA, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Trump is blaming the Democrats for holding up ratification in Congress, and suggested that Canada and Mexico could walk away if it is not approved soon.
“They’ll get tired and the prime minister will get tired,” Trump said. “He’ll say – look let’s forget this deal, and I could understand it if you did it.”
The conversation quickly turned to the matter at hand, with Trump calling Canada “slightly delinquent” for coming up .6 per cent short and not meeting the NATO military spending commitment of two per cent of the country’s GDP, forcing Trudeau on the defensive.
President @realDonaldTrump jokes he will put Canada on a payment plan to hit the NATO commitment. Then asks Trudeau where Canada is standing now, which is about 1.4%. Trump says we’re getting there #cdnpoli
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) December 3, 2019
“We’re increasing our defence investments by 70 per cent over these 10 years,” the prime minister rebutted, as the president joked he would put Canada on a payment plan to meet the commitment.
Trump also brought up Huawei, as Canada considers giving the Chinese telecom access to the country’s 5G network.
“We find a tremendous security problem, with respect to Huawei,” the president said.
NATO was established by the U.S., Canada and several Western European countries after the Second World War to guard against the Soviet Union.
The alliance has become a cornerstone of Canada’s defence from external threats and a driver in its relations with democratic Europe even as it has evolved to face the rise of terrorism, a newly assertive Russia and, more recently, China.
After the meeting with Trump, Trudeau heads to Buckingham Palace for a formal dinner with the Queen, Trump, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other NATO leaders.
With files from the Canadian Press