Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Liberals Can't Let Down Military Again

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Liberals Can't Let Down Military Again

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Liberals can't let down military again


An editorial from the Toronto Star, published June 7:

For far too long, Canada has asked its men and women in uniform to do tough and dangerous jobs while failing to provide them with the modern equipment they need. Both Liberal and Conservative governments have bungled the task of procuring updated weapons systems, leaving our air force flying aging planes and our navy operating ships well past their best-by date.

The Trudeau government now promises a dramatic fix to this sorry situation with a new defence policy that would invest many more billions in our armed forces.

Much of what Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan outlined on Wednesday is welcome news, both for the military and for anyone who believes Canada should have the capability to back up its good intentions with force, if necessary, in key areas.

Still, it comes with a host of questions -- especially since a major build-up of the military wasn't exactly at the heart of what the Liberals promised voters during the 2015 election campaign. That was all about infrastructure and social spending, not fighters and frigates.

Indeed, as recently as March, Finance Minister Bill Morneau brought down a budget that stripped more than $8 billion out of the defence department's equipment budget, and postponed it far down the road.

Now, the government is promising to spend an extra $62.3 billion over the next 20 years, two-thirds of it on capital equipment, to effectively create a new, modernized military. Its plans include 88 new-generation fighter jets (significantly more than the 65 pledged under the Conservative government) as well as 15 surface-combatant ships -- practically an entirely new navy.

Sajjan's plan shows the defence department's budget increasing from $18.9 billion now to $32.7 billion a decade from now -- a 70-per-cent increase. …

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