The 2016 Federal Budget was announced yesterday, along with an outline of a plan for the government to move forward. While details are still to be determined, the Legion was pleased to see some progress for Veterans in the budget. However, the budget also brings to light new concerns, and there is obviously still work to be done to improve care and benefits for Canada’s serving military and RCMP members, Veterans and their families.
Of great and immediate concern is the reduction of funding for replacing and maintaining Canada’s aging military equipment for the Canadian Armed Forces. As the Budget states, “a modern, well-equipped Canadian Armed Forces is needed to support missions at home and abroad.” Yet, Budget 2016 proposes to reallocate funding of $3.716 billion for large-scale capital projects (including equipment acquisition and maintenance) from the 2015–16 budget to the 2020–21 period to future years. That will be too late. Military equipment acquisition and maintenance is essential to supporting the operational capability, training and safety of Canada’s military personnel. A poorly equipped military is a weak and vulnerable military. And in today’s world of increased threats and security concerns, we cannot afford to be weak.
In addition to operational and safety concerns for our military, the Legion questions the capability of the government in the 2020-21 time period to allocate funds to equipment acquisition and maintenance given the large deficits being presently incurred. If the funds are not there, how can we guarantee to repair and replace Canada’s increasingly aging military equipment?
The threat on Canada’s security and that of the world is now. Our military cannot afford to use outdated, broken and scarce equipment to address that threat. The Legion stands firm that the government must allocate funds to support military equipment acquisition and renewal as quickly as possible to protect our military and ensure they can do their job. The Legion will address our concerns and recommendations with the Minister of National Defence and press the importance of getting funding as quickly as possible, for the safety, security and capability of our Armed Forces.
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For further information please contact Bruce Poulin at Dominion Command, at (613) 591-3335 ext. 241 or by cell at (613) 292-8760 or firstname.lastname@example.org.