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Now Grits want $700M military cut


Jr. Member
Fallen Comrade
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October 16, 2004
The Toronto Sun

Now Grits want $700M military cut

THE LIBERAL government is set to take an axe to the cash-strapped Canadian Forces' $13.2-billion budget. Revenue Minister John McCallum, who chairs the federal re-allocation committee, said despite its cash crunch, the defence department must find 5% savings within days -- about $700-million.

"Defence is no exception, it applies to every department. Even the governor general has been asked to do this," McCallum said yesterday.

McCallum said each department must find the savings so the Liberal government can fund priorities such as health care and daycare.

"It may be that some departments will be asked to cut little or anything, it may be that other departments will be asked to review their expenditures by more than 5%," he said.

The expenditure review was launched by Prime Minister Paul Martin, who is looking for $12-billion in savings over the next five years.

The Liberals have been highly criticized for slashing the military's budget through the 1990s by $3.5 billion to $9.3 billion. Since then, the Grits boosted military spending to $13 billion, but some of that is one-time money for specific equipment or initiatives.

McCallum said the upcoming clawback doesn't preclude handing the military more money in the next budget.

Martin committed in his throne speech this month to boost the military by 5,000 regular troops and 3,000 reservists.

Opposition members in the House of Commons criticized the cuts yesterday.
Hmmm ... just when we thought it couldn't get any worse ...
Hmmm ... maybe we could mothball some subs ... one in particular ...
Hmmm ... whatever happened to the billions of dollars in the federal surplus ... ?
Does anybody in this Godforsaken country have any flaming idea what their doing?
when it comes to money if it is not going to healthcare they don't want to hear about it, the USA will protect us. never fear is what they think. they may help  but at a very high price.  I don't plan to be here if that happens. Being a free and independent country took  blood sweet and tears to build and the present day citizens could give a crap.
This is not news - it was announced last year.  Moreover, do you think that it is all that much of a bad thing for us to have a hard look at ourselves and find some internal savings every now and then?  It is like telling your kid to clean up his toys, go through them and through out the broken ones before you take him to Toys R Us.
True - it's not a bad thing... when it only happens every now and then. When DND is asked every year to look at operations and administration and to "find" 5% savings, it starts to really suck. To carry the analogy further, it's like asking your kid to go through all his toys every day, and to make sure each time that at least one isn't needed any more, whether you're buying him a new one or not!

Highland Lad said:
To carry the analogy further, it's like asking your kid to go through all his toys every day, and to make sure each time that at least one isn't needed any more, whether you're buying him a new one or not!

Ok - thats a fair one.   I just wanted to point out that, much like health care, the answer isn't always more money - it is usually to use your money more efficiently and effectively.
100% agreement there - savings can always be found, but often they illustrate the law of diminishing returns, especially when the impacts on morale and personal performance of having to "go back and do it again" are bigger than the savings. When you ask a kid to clean the room, then look at the results and (without praise or pointers) say "now do it again" (repeat as politically necessary), the situation may keep improving, but the effort required may not be worth it.

Look at it this way: each review that DND undertakes costs $$$ for auditors and consultants to come in and assist with finding the savings (because otherwise there are important people pulled away from the jobs that really need their attention). While the savings they find may be long-term, and very useful, the expense comes out of this year's budget.

It reminds me of a cartoon a few years ago (Foxtrot) - a consultant presents the final recommendations:
    Consultant: Here are the savings my study found.
    Roger: Wow! That is really impressive. And what's this?
    Consultant: That's the bill for my services.
    Roger: Erp!
    Consultant: Trust me, in eleven and a half years, the company will thank me.
I have a question.

why does the DND have to 'find 5% to be cut' when a surplus of $9.1M was just announced??

it would make more sence to me, that instead of cutting our existing (and dwindeling) funding, the feds could be more responsible initially when they plot out the budget.   I hate how the public have been sucked in by this excuse: "We have to cut this and that because we don't have the money for it, it's not out fault, the money just isn't there because of such and such reason, .............oh, and we will have this HUGE surplus this year, vote LIEberal."
Okay, I've calmed down on this one.

PPCLI Guy, I remember reading about the government looking for 200 MCAD back.  It was the 700 MCAD that threw me.

Having said that, is it likely that any of the 700 can or should be drawn out of the operational budget with the reduction in commitments in both Bosnia and Afghanistan.  Weren't some of those funds supplied as "one time" funds and essentially added on "for the duration"? Or am I thinking wishfully again and Treasury Board wants to cut into the meat?

Kirkhill said:
Okay, I've calmed down on this one.

PPCLI Guy, I remember reading about the government looking for 200 MCAD back.   It was the 700 MCAD that threw me.

Weren't some of those funds supplied as "one time" funds and essentially added on "for the duration"?

That is my undertanding...
Well then .... I feel much better nooow ;)

I won't have to resort to valium tonight, the whiskey will do just fine.

my mother always said if you dont have anything nice to say VOTE CONSERVATIVE

Although an occassional belt-tightening is a good idea in principle, if our "fat" is in fact in the decision-making echelon, you have a problem in they are unlikely to cut costs themselves.  Instead they are more likely to cut at the operational level reducing things like ballistic vests, etc. as per the other recently posted article.

Bottom Line:  You need to let the Auditor General complete a full review and let the chips fall where they may.....

Matthew.  :salute:

The sad thing to contemplate is we really don't need "that much" money, the structural deficit has remained at about 1.8 billion since the early 1990's. If the money wasted on things like the "Billion Dollar Boondoogle", "Shawinigate", "Adscam" and the gun registry had been spent on defense through the years, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Saying the money is needed for healthcare is a cop-out. A trillion dollars a year could be spent on health care, but the built in perverse incentives in the system divert money away from patients. Private systems subject to market forces (not private insurance cartels like American HMO's) tend to deliver service quickly and at a reasonable cost.

Because Defense is and must be a govenment monopoly, we are subject to a different set of rules. Unless and until there is a loud public demand for a defense budget that pays the bills, we will always be subject to cutbacks and clawbacks with no recourse other than to carry on.
Here's some news....

PM: Military to get more money

Commons accepts throne speech amendment

OTTAWA (CP) - Prime Minister Paul Martin says the Defence Department will get more money even as its expenditures are examined.

All government departments will undergo line-by-line review of expenditures as "an essential part of good management," he said Monday. However, the Liberals will live up to an election campaign promise to increase overall military spending, he said.

On another defence matter, he said the Commons will vote on the controversial U.S.-led missile defence program.

However, the vote won't commit the Liberals to any decision on participating in the U.S. plan. It will be more symbolic of co-operation the minority government is trying to build with opposition parties.

Martin dismissed the significance of the vote, saying he had already shown support for a Commons debate on the issue.

"If you take a look at my own speech in the House on that issue, I essentially said that . . . we're very open to debate," Martin said before a meeting in his Parliament Hill office with the prime minister of Burkina Faso.  

Liberals were believed to be wary of a Commons vote because it would expose deep divisions toward Americans within the minority caucus and present an opportunity for more MPs to vent anti-Americanisms that could damage relations with the United States.

A few weeks ago, Defence Minister Bill Graham indicated that a vote was unlikely because the federal government retained sole authority for national defence and treaties with other countries.

However, sources in two parties said Sunday that Martin appears to have come around to the idea of a vote after a week of negotiations with Conservatives, the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP.