Senate Calls on Canadian Govt to Double Military budget

September 30th, 2005  

Topic: Senate Calls on Canadian Govt to Double Military budget

Senate Committee Calls on (Canadian) Government to Double Military Budget

John Ward
Canadian Press
September 29, 2005

OTTAWA (CP) - Canada's defence budget should double and the military should add thousands of new recruits, says a Senate committee report.

The budget should be $25 billion to $35 billion a year instead of the anemic $14.3 billion earmarked this year and the Forces should have 90,000 people in uniform instead of the 62,000 authorized today, the defence committee said Thursday. However, Defence Minister Bill Graham isn't buying the idea. He said the last budget gave the military its biggest increase in 20 years.

"I understand from talking to the generals, the admirals and all the experts that you can only absorb so much money at one time," he told reporters.

"We've got the amount of money we need to do the job we have to do."

The senators argued that, in a world of escalating disasters, both natural and man-made, the military is likely to be more important to Canadian well-being over the next few decades than it has since the Second World War. And it needs more money and people.

"Canadians should think of Canada's military as a tool box for the government to use to fix things that are of vital interest to Canadians . . . our tools are rusting," the committee said.

The senators, led by Liberal chairman Colin Kenny, said defence spending increases announced in the last budget won't start to take effect for another three years.

The government has promised to enrol 8,000 new regulars and reserves, but the creaky recruitment and training system won't be able to get those new people into the field for five years or so.

Changes need to start now, the senators said.

The committee held hearings across the country and heard from senior generals and admirals, who often tried to put the best face on their situation.

The report skewers some of those bureaucratic comments.

For example, Vice-Admiral Bruce MacLean is quoted at length discussing budget shortfalls, lack of sailors and the need to manage an inevitable decline until the fleet is replaced.

"Should no resources be allocated to address these issues, this decline will be obvious to Canadians."

The reported inserted a "translation" of the admiral's comments: "We're falling apart and we think that Canadians will start to notice when the ships start to think."

A similar translation for the air force: "We're barely keeping up appearances here."

And for the army: "We are too underfunded to correct the weaknesses caused by past underfunding, we are too underfunded to meet our current responsibilities and we are too underfunded to prepare for the massive changes you want that will allow us to serve Canadians in the future."

Kenny said the military has managed to improvise for years while short of money, short of equipment and short of people.

"We talk about the elastic band that you can't stretch any farther," he said. "They have muddled through up to now. What we're saying is that at some point the elastic snaps and we think we are at that point now."

Graham said that's an exaggeration and that the Forces are "getting better than they ever were before."

The report said it is urgent to come up with more money quickly, because the cumbersome procurement process can take 15 years to deliver a major equipment purchase.

"The lag time between when you push the button and when things actually start to work is exceedingly long," Kenny said.

The report said the navy's destroyers are going to be at the end of their service life by 2011, although the service hopes to keep them sailing to 2015. The supply ships are decaying and even the frigates are coming up for mid-life refits.

The air force needs new transports, both tactical and strategic, as well as a new search-rescue plane. And what comes after the CF-18 fighter-bombers are grounded in 2020 or so?

The army's needs are relatively simple: "More boots on the ground."

Graham said there will be more money down the road for new kit, including destroyers.

"As we go forward, we'll be looking at what other equipment we have to buy."

But he said the military has the money it needs today.

The senators said one problem is a lack of candour. The brass give answers that their political masters will be happy with. Political leaders want to curry votes and worry about expensive military purchase.

"Defending democracy relies on reciprocity - upon military leaders telling politicians and the public the truth about any given situation, upon politicians levelling with the public about what needs to be done in relation to what is being done and with the public rewarding this candour by caring about issues that are so vital to them."
September 30th, 2005  
October 3rd, 2005  
Well your flag says your from Canada, so either your not or your ignorant and have no understanding of Canadian politics or the system by which you live under. The Canadian senate is the upper house of our parliamentary system. Below it is the elected house of commons. The senate is made up of members appointed for life by the PM, it serves as a check against radical change and as a body for advising the house of commons. The later task is what it's preforming with this study.

Wake the up and learn about your own country before you make stupid comments.
October 3rd, 2005  
That is just a whishful thinking for the Norwegian army facing another budget cuttings for the coming year. The Norwegian defence budget is already cut to the bone - and yet another 600 million nok has to be saved the next period meaning fewer exercises and less investments in new equipment, among other things...

Go Canada!
October 3rd, 2005  
yeah..we're int he same position generally. Fortunatly the govt seems to be pushing more money into us now that they've realised that we were at a breaking point
October 4th, 2005  
Duty Honor Country
Originally Posted by r031Button
Wake the up and learn about your own country before you make stupid comments.
Rule 1. Be polite and respect the other members.
Rule 5. Almost all opinions are welcome, as long as they are well presented and in a respectful manner.
Rule 8. Sarcastic replies are not allowed!
I think I covered all the rule violations. Any further violations of the rules will result in a temporary ban.