As NATO leaders meet in Vilnius this week, the big news is that Sweden is finally going to join the club. After over a year of resistance, Turkey dropped its opposition and agreed to let the Nordic national become the 32nd member of the defense pact. Sweden isn’t over the finish line yet but is expected to finalize its status soon, adding additional heft together with NATO’s other new member, Finland.
The second big piece of news — at least from a Canadian perspective — is that Canada will double its commitment to the NATO operation in Latvia. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that Canada will supply 1,200 troops to the mission, at a cost of $2.6 billion over three years. Canada will join forces with other NATO members including Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain who are also putting boots on the ground in the former Soviet Bloc country.
“This is the way forward in modern defence,” Trudeau told reporters at Camp Adazi, in Latvia. “Almost a dozen countries from across NATO are co-operating, training and working alongside each other and learning valuable lessons from each other that make our collective defence stronger.”
It’s great to see the PM getting the message — but Canada is still terribly late to the party.