Canada jumps closer to military-spending target thanks to COVID-19’s economic damage

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OTTAWA — New figures from the NATO military alliance have revealed the tiniest of silver linings as COVID-19 wreaks havoc with Canada’s economy.

That’s because the pandemic has helped Canada take a giant step closer to meeting NATO’s target of having each member spend two per cent of their gross domestic product on its military.

The figures show that Canada, which has been repeatedly criticized by NATO and U.S. officials for not meeting the two per cent target, is poised to spend 1.45 per cent of its GDP on the military this year.

That represents big jump from the 1.29 per cent last year and the largest share of the Canadian economy spent on the military in at least a decade.

The figures show that expected increase isn’t the result of a new infusion of cash for the Canadian Armed Forces this year.

NATO instead estimates that Canadian defence spending will remain largely steady this year even as the economy shrinks by nearly eight per cent.