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Wednesday, June 19 2024 @ 12:03 MDT

Harper cuts military spending.

Jason ramblingIt's becoming clearer and clearer why Harper prorogued parliament. It was so his government could start slashing budgets without anyone asking questions. First it was over at Environment Canada now its at the Department of National Defence. The Harper Conservatives, in an effort to show that their support for our troops extends only to yellow ribbon stickers on cars and wearing red on Fridays, is canceling an upgrade program to our long range maritime patrol aircraft. This after the program is half way through to completion. This is not the way to show support for the Canadian Forces.

Now it can be said that our Aurora/Arcturus aircraft are getting a little long in the tooth and are becoming due for replacement so why bother upgrading them. The flaw with this argument is that it will be years before a replacement is available and we'll still need to use the current aircraft till then. This means that we have to keep the aircraft up-to-date to ensure their usefulness, which costs money. To say that they're just going to be replaced in a few years anyways you might as well not bother with any modernization program to any military equipment. Add to this the CF has already spent half the money so the aircraft are only partly updated. I suspect the Tories are canceling the upgrade program as to create a crisis so that another no-bid contract can be given out for "urgently needed" aircraft. That or the war in Afghanistan is getting so expensive that the military is having to cut needed programs to sustain the war effort and the Harper government doesn't want to have to admit that.

So we have a PM and his government trotting out the "support our troops" jingoism whenever it's politically evident, but not having the wherewithal to follow through with real support. Without proper funding to the CF, no number of yellow ribbon stickers are going to help. Just more Conservative hypocrisy in action. Of course if the Tories were to properly support the troops by increasing funding to the whole military, and not just to Harper's pet projects, they'd have to raise taxes or go into deficit to do that. If that were to happen, the opposition would have a field day. Imagine the troubles the Tories would have running against the Liberals if the Tories had just jacked up taxes or plunged the government back into deficit so they could finance a war that people really don't want us to be in. It would be fun to watch them try to spin that one in a positive light.

This all speaks to the timing of the announcement. On a Friday when parliament isn't in session. Every attempt being made to prevent anyone from finding out about the cuts and be able to react. This flies in the face of the Harper government being "open and accountable." It makes them look like the Alberta Tories, who under Klein were the most secretive government in Canada. It shows that the Harper government is using the same play book, keep everything a secret and pay lip service to accountability and anything else the Tories allegedly stand for. Lip service to accountability, lip service to the environment (which they didn't really care about in the first place), and lip service for support of our men and women in uniform. Makes you wonder if they really care about anything, other than how much money they can funnel to their friends in no-bid contracts.

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