Canada’s Latvia mission moving ahead despite concerns about NATO’s future

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan speaks during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Friday, November 4, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA – Canada is pressing ahead with plans to deploy hundreds of troops to serve as a NATO buffer against Russia in eastern Europe, despite concerns about the military alliance’s future under the administration of Donald Trump.

The president-elect repeatedly criticized NATO during the election campaign, calling it obsolete and warning that the U.S. would not automatically come to the defence of a member that was attacked.

READ MORE: NATO’s Canadian-led battle group beginning to take shape in Latvia

Now that he has been elected, there are questions about what would happen if Russia decided to flex its muscles in eastern Europe in the same way it did in Ukraine a few years ago.

Among those who could end up being caught in the middle would be 450 Canadian troops that the Liberal government promised to deploy to Latvia starting early next year.

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Despite the uncertainty, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says Canada is committed to the Latvian mission.

He says the military is considering all the risks and plans to make sure the troops and their partners are well-equipped.

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