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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to attend NATO leaders’ summit in Washington next week

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OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is heading to Washington, D.C., next week to take part in the NATO leaders’ summit as a new survey shows most Canadians hold a favourable view of the military alliance.

The 32 NATO countries are set to mark the alliance’s 75th anniversary in the same city where the initial treaty was signed.

The ongoing war in Ukraine is expected to take centre stage again this year.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg wants allies to contribute around $58 billion a year to a fund to help the war-torn country defend itself.

Trudeau will also likely face pressure from allies, including the American contingent, over the fact that Canada hasn’t presented a plan to meet its spending targets.

NATO countries have agreed to spend at least two per cent of their annual gross domestic product on defence, but Canada is falling far short of that figure.

Numbers NATO released last month show Canada is expected to spend 1.37 per cent of its gross domestic product on defence this year.

Defence Minister Bill Blair has promised that spending will climb to at least 1.76 per cent by 2029.

A contingent of U.S. senators wrote to Trudeau earlier this year, calling on him to lay out a clear plan to get to the two per cent target.

Despite a challenging time for the alliance, a new Pew Research Center survey of people in 13 of the nations belonging to NATO found a median of about six in 10 held a favourable view of the organization.

The non-partisan think tank found 63 per cent of people in Canada held a favourable view. There were similar levels of support in Britain, Germany and Hungary.

Support was highest in Poland at 91 per cent, followed by 75 per cent in the Netherlands and 72 per cent in Sweden, the newest member country.

In Greece, 59 per cent of adults said they hold an unfavourable view of the alliance.

The phone survey was conducted from early January to mid-May.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 2, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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