Trudeau heads to NATO summit to discuss next steps as bloodshed in Ukraine continues

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau departed tonight for an emergency meeting with NATO leaders gathered in Brussels to discuss the war in Ukraine and plan the alliance’s next steps.

The overseas trip came immediately after a deal that would see the New Democrats back the Liberal government in a confidence vote in the House of Commons for the next three years, preventing early elections.

The war in eastern Europe has prompted some NATO allies, notably Germany, to publicly commit to increasing defense spending, something the NDP in Canada has opposed.

Speaking earlier on Tuesday, Trudeau said there were things the government and its new political partners would not agree to.

“This deal is about working together constructively in areas where there is agreement. And in areas where there is no agreement, we will continue to do the things the Liberal Party chose and will seek support from other parties as needed as we move forward,” the prime minister said.

WATCH: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discusses deal with NDP

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was responding to a question about whether Canadians would be happy with the confidence and supply agreement between the Liberal Party and the NDP. 1:54

NATO Sec. General Jens Stoltenberg said after a recent meeting of the alliance’s defense ministers that the alliance expects member states to spend “a minimum of two percent” of their gross domestic product on defense. Canada currently spends 1.39 percent of GDP on the military.

Many have speculated that the upcoming federal budget will propose increased defense spending beyond the Liberal commitments in their 2017 defense policy document. Trudeau and his ministers have not publicly committed to increasing the defense budget.

Blanchet: ‘Canada is … a Peewee player’

Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said on Tuesday the government had a lot to consider.

“The world has changed since February 24, the date of the invasion by Russia [of] Ukraine,” Joly said. “Germany decided to take a very important decision by increasing their military spending, and we took that into account.”

Quebec Bloc leader Yves-François Blanchet said he would assess the new “Liberal-NDP government” before deciding whether increasing defense spending was something his party would support.

“In terms of military prowess, Canada is the best Peewee player,” he said, adding that it was clear the country had responsibilities to fulfill.

While in Europe, Trudeau will also address the European parliament – which has been considering further sanctions against Moscow and trying to figure out how the continent can escape Russia’s oil and natural gas.

He will also attend a meeting of G7 heads of state where “leaders will discuss the current situation in Ukraine and its wider global impact, including food security and energy supply,” according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Clara Burton

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