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Canada Ottawa failed to spend almost $8B in promised defence cash over recent years

18:45  04 december  2019
18:45  04 december  2019 Source:   globalnews.ca

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Justin Trudeau wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a curtain: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets U.S. President Donald Trump, not shown, at Winfield House in London on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019.© THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets U.S. President Donald Trump, not shown, at Winfield House in London on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019.

Ottawa has failed to spend almost $8 billion in promised defence cash over the last two complete fiscal years.

According to documents obtained from the Department of National Defence, the federal government underspent roughly $7.79 billion worth of promised money mostly for capital projects, which includes everything from spending on facilities to equipment and military procurement, in fiscal 2017-18 and 2018-19.

The unspent money also came from areas including operations and maintenance, those documents suggest.

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Other social-service departments have made headlines in recent months for significant dollar shortfalls in promised spending , including Veterans Affairs, which has underspent by billion over a decade and Employment and Social Development Canada, which lapsed almost 0 million in 2013-14 alone.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked by Global News about that failure to spend the promised amounts during a press conference on Wednesday from the NATO meeting, and pointed the finger at past governments.

"One of the things that Canadians know is that we need to be spending money properly," he said.

"Procurement processes have been significantly damaged by the previous government."

READ MORE: Trump calls Canada ‘slightly delinquent’ for not meeting NATO defence spending goals

The news of the repeated underspending comes after American officials sent Canada what sources called a "blunt" diplomatic letter criticizing the government for not meeting the agreed-upon target among NATO members to spend two per cent of GDP on defence.

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Ottawa is the capital city of Canada. It stands on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of southern Ontario. Ottawa borders Gatineau, Quebec

And like most of its allies, Canada has repeatedly failed to fulfil that commitment. But a new NATO report estimates Canada spent just one per cent of GDP on defence last year , leaving The previous Conservative government promised in last year ’s federal budget to boost defence spending over

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday called Canada "slightly delinquent" for not hitting those targets.

Canada currently spends 1.31 per cent of GDP on defence.

Trump also mused on Tuesday about slapping countries that do not meet the target with retaliatory trade measures and warned that he would not commit to defending member countries under the principle of shared defence if those members are deemed to be underspending on defence.

He also accused Trudeau on Wednesday morning of being "two-faced" after video captured Trudeau seemingly speaking candidly about Trump with other NATO member leaders during a reception on Tuesday evening.

More to come.

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