Let’s honour our defence commitments

It’s amazing how quickly people forget, especially politicians. When our men and women were serving in Afghanistan, military members back home were being thanked daily by total strangers for their service. Now that this conflict is out of the news, many Canadians have forgotten the huge sacrifice that our military members made; those that died as well as those that made it back home.

One great saying is: “If you can’t stand behind our military, feel free to stand in front of it.”

Another one is: “You have the right complain about anything, thanks to our veterans”.

The world has become more and more unsafe and travelling to see other countries in the world is not only balanced by our pocket books but if we feel it’s worth the risk of our lives in case another bomb may go off where we are vacationing.

Now is not the time to cheap out on our military. We need more and not less for our serving members. Our past and present Governments just don’t get it. The Canadian Values Party will do all that it can to hold up its end as part of NATO and to honour our past and present serving military members.


 

Canada is failing to live up to its defence commitments. While we don’t need extravagant shows of strength, it’s not too much to ask that we come close to honouring our NATO obligations.

We agreed to spend 2% of GDP on defence – so that along with our NATO partners we can keep the world safe and deter global conflicts. But we’re currently projected to hit a paltry 0.89%.

Former national defence minister Peter MacKay offered words of wisdom in a column in the Suns the other day, recommending a “commitment to funding our militaries with predictable and stable increases as agreed at the (2014) Wales Summit. Canada can and should lead that effort. For if we were to lose NATO, Canada’s well-earned position as a trusted partner in international security and stability as well as our ability to affect positive change in the world would be adversely and irreversibly affected.”

We agree. But we wish MacKay had done more to address the problem while in cabinet. We also hope that should he run for the Conservative leadership, he makes this a key issue.

A year ago our own David Akin was already drawing attention to the matter, writing: “Canada now ranks 22nd among NATO’s 28 countries when it comes to military spending. Our peers are Latvia, Belgium and Spain. Our southern neighbour, the U.S., will spend 3.8% of its GDP on defence. Our northern neighbour, Russia, will spend 4.2%.”

This is shameful. Is a solution on the horizon?

The Liberal platform’s section on “investing in our military” rightly criticized what they described as Stephen Harper’s “erratic” approach to defence spending.

But then in the latest budget they turn around and delay $3.7 billion in spending for capital projects for later years. That’s some investment!

You can’t call Harper’s approach inadequate in one document and then do even less in the next one.

It’s time we did better.

Reference

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