Immediately prior to NATO’s Brussels summit in July 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau renewed Canada’s commitment to NATO’s mission in Latvia. He extended Canada’s leadership role as the framework nation of NATO’s multinational enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) deployment in Latvia.
The eFP is a mission by NATO forces to buttress Eastern Europe and the Baltics against a revanchist Russia. As the lead Framework Nation, Canadian troops lead a multinational battlegroup in Latvia; other Framework Nations include the US in Poland, the UK in Estonia, and Germany in Lithuania. Canada’s deployment to Latvia, under the existing mandate of Operation Reassurance, was to end in March 2019, though it was expected to be renewed before then, so the prime minister’s commitment was not surprising.
That Canada renewed more than half a year prior to the expiration of the existing mandate for an extended four-year period signalled that this country intends to sustain its leadership in funding and staffing of both the eFP’s headquarters and battlegroup in Latvia. Indeed, Canada had also boosted the number of troops deployed in Latvia to 540. These decisions reflect Ottawa’s concern about not only the situation in Latvia and the eFP, but also the fate of the alliance itself, Canada’s role in it, and indeed, about the future of Canadian defence policy.
Leuprecht, Christian, Joel Sokolsky, and Jayson Derow. 2018. "Paying It Forward: Sustaining the Transatlantic Relationship with Canada’s Mission in the Baltics." MLI Commentary (October). https://macdonaldlaurier.ca/files/pdf/20180929_Commentary_LeuprechtSokolskyDerow_Latvia_Fweb.pdf