Watch More: Head of NATO Visits Canada

Trudeau NATO 2017

Watch More: Head of NATO Visits Canada

UPDATED April 5, 2018 9:19amET

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was in the capital on Wednesday, the 69th anniversary of the Atlantic Alliance’s founding in 1949.

First on his agenda was a speech to University of Ottawa students, followed by questions from the audience:

The secretary general also met Governor General Julie Payette, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and top military officials.

Stoltenberg and Trudeau held a joint news conference on Parliament Hill:

Stoltenberg also delivered remarks at a lunch hosted by the NATO Association of Canada:

Last month the alliance published defence spending figures for member countries as part of Stoltenberg’s 2017 annual report:

Canada’s 2017 defence spending (adjusted into U.S. dollars) trailed the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy among member countries.

As for defence spending as a percentage of GDP, though, Canada ranked 15th at 1.29%.

Last year’s defence policy forecast spending to represent 1.4 per cent of GDP by 2024-25, still below NATO’s two-per-cent objective.

Those numbers now include defence-related funding within other departments such as the RCMP, Shared Services Canada, Treasury Board, and Public Services and Procurement. Using the old calculation would result in a 1.22-per-cent figure by 2025, compared to 0.94 per cent for 2016-17.

However, spending on major equipment is forecast to reach 32 per cent, above NATO’s 20-per-cent target.

The government claims this was the most “rigorously costed defence policy in history” and fully funded.

The policy also pledged 88 new fighters, instead of 65, to meet NATO and NORAD commitments.

Stoltenberg is scheduled to tour Lockheed Martin’s F-35 production facility in Texas tomorrow, followed on Thursday by a visit to NORAD headquarters in Colorado alongside Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.

-Andrew Thomson

TOP PHOTO: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels on May 25, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick