4. Military Spending
Given that: the Department of National Defence (DND) budget was increased in 1999 and 2000, despite being the largest departmental budget, and that the Auditor General's fall report criticizes the Government for failing to inform Parliamentarians fully about Canada's military capabilities, making it impossible for them to assess the department's budgetary needs,
will you, if elected, advocate that DND's budget receive no further increases until there is full disclosure and a public review of military spending priorities and the role of the Canadian Armed Forces?
The Bloc Québécois deplores the lack of transparency regarding National Defence spending. They would want that any expenditure above 100 million dollars be subject to agreement by the House of Commons, as recommended by the Standing Committee on Defense and Veterans Affairs. The Bloc Québécois would also ask the Auditor General to hold a thorough investigation of this ministry.
Canadian Alliance Party
If we as Canadians are going to ask our military men and women to serve in conflict zones overseas in the name of peace and security and in the interests of Canada, then it is vital that they be properly equipped, tr ained and supported. To do any less is to betray our serving personnel to whom we have a moral obligation. Presently, the Auditor General identifies up to a $30 billion shortfall in capital equipment funding by 2012. This problem must be addressed.
The Canadian Alliance supports adding $2 billion to the budget base of the Department of National Defence as well as reforming the structure of DND internally to ensure that funding goes to support the operational priorities of the Canadian Forces. This is essential to the credibility of Canada's contributions to international peace and security. To do otherwise would be irresponsible and would not serve the cause of peace.
The Liberal government has taken a balanced approach - we have made important investments in social priorities, reduced taxes and paid down a part of the debt. As a responsible member of the international community, a combat-capable force is an integral part of our overall foreign policy. In addition, the Canadian Forces have proven invaluable at times of crisis, like the Ice Storm in January 1998. The Liberal government's actions to renew our military with strengthen Canada's ability to act on the world stage as a leader for peace and democracy.
New Democratic Party
No response, but the platform says that the party will "increase pay and benefit levels for armed services personnel, improve housing and living conditions on military bases and upgrade educational and health care services for forces families. It also says the NDP will "redirect additional resources to peacekeeping." No mention is made of a public review of defence spending or the role of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Progressive Conservative Party
No response, but the platform says that the party will "provide the Department of National Defence with immediate additional annual funding for the next five years to maintain current capabilities and implement proposed long-term capital programs." No mention is made of a public review of defence spending or the role of the Canadian Armed Forces.
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