Poilievre pledges to cut 'wasteful foreign aid' to fund Canadian military, meet NATO spending target

If elected prime minister, Pierre Poilievre told reporters he would cut 'wasteful foreign aid' and prioritize Canada. A Conservative government would divert money foreign aid to address gaps in Canada's military and meet NATO's spending target of 2% of GDP.

Poilievre pledges to cut 'wasteful foreign aid' to fund Canadian military, meet NATO spending target
Remove Ads

If elected prime minister, Pierre Poilievre told reporters he would cut "wasteful foreign aid" and prioritize Canada.

According to the Conservative Party leader, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s current national defence plan shows heightened dependency on the U.S. protecting its northernmost ally.

"His plan for national defence is to rely on Joe Biden or Donald Trump to protect Canada. That puts America in charge of Canada's future — I don't want that," he said.

When asked for his position on NATO's military spending targets, amid ongoing ministerial meetings in Brussels, Poilievre clarified a future Conservative government would "work towards meeting Canada's NATO spending commitment" of 2% of its GDP.

Ottawa continues to fall well short of the target, reports The Canadian Press. In 2023, Canada's defence spending sat just shy of 1.3% of its GDP. 

Under a Poilievre government, Canada would divert money from foreign aid to address gaps in its military. He would not permit funding for "dictators, terrorists and multinational bureaucracies." 

International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen condemned the proposal, suggesting it would harm Canada's image globally. "This is shocking to me and to our government," he said. "It will mean that it is a cut against support to the most vulnerable people in the world." 

Thursday’s announcement builds on the Conservative leader’s call to action last month that would permanently cease funding to UNRWA, the UN agency that deals with Palestinian refugees. The Israeli government has alleged that at least 12 UNRWA staffers directly participated in the October 7th attacks, which prompted several countries to pause their funding.

Former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper halted funding to the controversial group in 2010, which remained in effect until the Trudeau Liberals reversed course in 2016. However, the disturbing accusations forced the government to pause funds for Palestinians and their diaspora.

On Thursday, Poilievre also pledged to bolster defence spending, with the Department of National Defence boasting a $26.5 billion budget this fiscal year. That amount is expected to increase to almost $40 billion by 2026/27. 

Budget 2023 urged Parliament to find $15 billion in savings over five years by making 15% cuts to consultant fees, professional services and travel. That excludes 3% cuts to departmental spending.

"The world is more complex, more challenging and impacting people's daily lives in ways that were hard to imagine even just a decade ago," Trudeau said Thursday.

"Canada will, as is consistent, stand up for our interests and our values, but allow the democratic process to unfold fully in the United States without our interference."

"I want a foreign policy that stands up for this country, this country alone," he said. "Our own interests are primordial, are first and foremost and that's what we're going to restore.'

This is a developing story.

Remove Ads
Remove Ads

Don't Get Censored

Big Tech is censoring us. Sign up so we can always stay in touch.

Remove Ads