As it prepares to release its new defence policy, the Liberal government is backing away from claims that buying new equipment for the Canadian Forces has largely been successful and using NATO’s two-per-cent standard to measure spending doesn’t make sense.

The Liberals and the Defence Department painted the majority of military procurements as a success story in documents prepared last year for its defence review. The records, released through Access to Information and later put online by the department, also point out that NATO’s use of the Gross Domestic Product to measure military expenditures “is a questionable measure of what a nation can achieve with its defence spending.”

Similar comments about the GDP-defence ratio were made earlier this year by Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. They’ve argued that how a country contributes to defence is more important than its ratio of GDP spending. Canada spends around one per cent of its GDP on the military, about $20 billion annually.

The Liberals now appear to be in retreat on those claims.

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