Stephen Harper has been one of the toughest-talking leaders throughout the Ukraine crisis, yet newly released figures show National Defence is expected to face an even deeper budget hole in the coming year than previously anticipated.
The ongoing reductions come as the prime minister is expected to resist pressure from allies at this week's NATO summit to spend substantially more on the military.
A briefing note prepared for the deputy defence minister says annual spending on the military, when compared with 2011, is slated to shrink by a total of $2.7-billion in 2015.
That would be almost $300-million more than earlier internal estimates, and roughly $600-million higher than the figure defence officials acknowledged last fall when they rolled out the department's renewal plan.
The steeper reductions come as the U.S. and Britain lean on Canada to increase defence spending to meet NATO's benchmark of two per cent of gross domestic product.
A senior government official says Canada is prepared to increase defence spending but is wary of committing billions more without a clear plan by NATO on how it will deal with the long-term threat.
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