The Government of Canada’s new Defence Policy was announced yesterday afternoon, with a focus on investing in its people, the military’s long term capabilities, growth and transparency, and operating with a new vision for the future.
Coming on the heels of the March 2017 Federal Budget that reduced funding for replacing and maintaining Canada’s aging military equipment, it was clear the 70% increase in budget was aimed at showing the world Canada would be spending more on its military. Yesterday’s announcement promised an increase from $18.9 billion now to $32.7 billion by 2026-27, with $62.3 billion in funding over the next two decades. However, timelines for most major investments were not so clear, and there are significant delays in spending, with some funding not expected to open up until after the next election.
Given the 2017 Budget announcement, The Royal Canadian Legion was not surprised to see a lack of details and delays in spending around equipment acquisition, maintenance and operational capability. Our concern is that the delay in new spending now could be affected by cost-cutting in the future. It is the Legion’s position that military equipment acquisition and maintenance is essential to supporting the operational capability, training and safety of Canada’s military personnel, and the security of our nation. The Legion stands firm that the government must allocate funds to support military equipment acquisition and renewal now. Our personnel are the most valuable resource, and we want our military to have the tools, resources, training and support to protect our serving men and women, ensure they can do their job, and come home safely.
In yesterday’s announcement, the Department of National Defence recognized that people are the Canadian Armed Forces’ most valuable asset. The Defence Policy highlights a renewed focus on ‘Putting people first’, which includes health and wellness supports for its members, improved transition for ill and injured Veterans to civilian life, a plan to support military families, and greater cooperation between the Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada. Also outlined in the policy was an increase in personnel to sustain operations, support new priorities and deliver on new investments. As part of that, the Department of National Defence will grow their forces by 3,500 Regular Forces and 1,500 Reserve Forces.
The Legion was pleased to see a renewed emphasis on the care and support for our military members and their families from enrolment to post release, a cradle to grave philosophy. Of course, the devil is in the details, and the Legion urges the Department of National Defence to share more details on what, when, and how they will deliver on their promises. Perhaps more importantly, as Canada commits our soldiers, sailors and airmen and airwomen around the world, our Government must be prepared to look after them when they come home. The Government of Canada must reaffirm their solemn obligation to Canada’s Veterans.
For those who served to protect the very rights and freedoms we enjoy today, The Royal Canadian Legion stands committed, working to ensure the care and benefits of Canada’s Veterans are the best they can possibly be and that all governments honour their obligations to the men and women who serve in the Canadian Armed Forces.
About The Royal Canadian Legion
Founded in 1925, the Legion is Canada’s largest Veteran support and community service organization. We are a non-profit organization with a national reach across Canada as well as branches in the U.S., Europe and Mexico. With more than 275,000 members, many of whom volunteer an extraordinary amount of time to their branches, our strength is in our numbers.
Public Relations / Media Inquiries: PublicRelations@Legion.ca