Canada’ military at war with Tories.

It is one of those times when you need retired generals to lead the charge. The war, at this time is with the government that pays them. And it is all about Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s balanced budgets. Flaherty—the Grinch—is taking another two billion from the military’s $20 billion to balance his 2015 budget and he is telling the military to suck it up and live with it.

Even with the additional cuts, the Conservative Cabinet is telling the military to maintain the current manning levels of 68,000 personnel. That will work if all 68,000 of these military personnel sit around playing tiddlywinks in their underwear instead of doing any training or using any of their expensive equipment. The only place the military had left to cut at this stage is in operations and equipment maintenance.

These additional cuts show the hypocrisy of the Conservative government. They have put their foolish promises to balance the federal budget ahead of the training and effectiveness of our military personnel and their ability to serve our country. Ships will stay in dock, planes will stay on the ground and tanks and trucks will be parked. The Army is currently in the process of mothballing 6800 heavy trucks. If troops want to go to areas were they can conduct training, they will probably have to march.

But, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, retired generals such as former chief of the defence staff, Rick Hillier are complaining bitterly. They consider the Conservative’s short-sightedness to be devastating to the preparedness of the armed forces.

It is not as though National Defence is the first federal department to feel the pinch. Thousands of former government employees are eking out a living today filling temporary positions under short term contracts and without benefits in the desperate attempt by departments to maintain a minimal level of service.

This approach to solving departmental needs has included the military. Non-uniformed employees of National Defence have also been decimated and this has transformed the department into a legion of consultants running up bills of $2 billion to $3 billion per year. For some reason, the government is not talking about that situation.

For the Conservative government, the situation with the military is something that the Prime Minister and his senior Cabinet Ministers would like to keep quiet. The preparedness and ability of the military to serve Canada is a vital issue with the party’s voter base and anything that impacts that is considered a serious dereliction of responsibility by those voters. They are not pleased with the present situation.


Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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