David Pugliese reports that “the Canadian military is looking for savings of more than $190 million by March to help pay for the Harper government’s defence strategy.”
The Army is reportedly looking at an $80-million cutback, while the Navy is facing a $52-million cut and the Air Force is facing a $59-million cut. These “cuts” will have real consequences. The Army, for example, will be decreasing training activities and reducing the number of reserve soldiers employed full-time.
But the money saved is not being removed from the military budget. It will be spent instead on higher military priorities, such as the equipment procurement projects in the Harper government’s Canada First defence strategy and the costs of the mission in Afghanistan. As Pugliese notes, the Canadian Forces describes the changes as “adjustments” rather than cutbacks.
In fact, the overall budget of the Department of National Defence is expected to increase by close to 10% this year.
Future military budgets may face actual cuts as the government struggles to deal with a deficit that has now reached some $55-billion. But for the time being that budget is still on the way up.