CONSERVATIVE SENATOR SAYS CANADIAN FORCES DOES NOT FACE CUTS: OTTAWA CITIZEN DAVID PUGLIESE

DEFENCE DEPARTMENT BUDGET CUTS? WHAT CUTS ASKS TORY SENATOR

By David Pugliese

Ottawa Citizen

Marjory LeBreton, government leader in the Senate, has assured that chamber that no cuts have been made at the Department of National Defence, even as militia units have their budgets reduced and the jobs of reservists are eliminated.

Speaking to Liberal Senator Romeo Dallaire, LeBreton said “there were no cuts” to DND and questioned Dallaire’s claims that there were.

Dallaire has raised concerns that ongoing reductions will hit the Defence Department’s budget. In a recent exchange in the Senate, Defence Watch sources said Dallaire warned LeBreton that the reductions will have an impact on operations and pointed out that militia units are already feeling the impact.

But LeBreton suggested that isn’t the case and instead she highlighted the money the Conservatives spent on Chinook and Griffon helicopters. She said that DND has been the biggest benefactor of the Harper government and noted that Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Walter Natyncyk recently told a Senate committee that he was happy with the level of funding.

LeBreton again told Dallaire that she had no idea what he was basing his claims on, and again praised the Harper government for its contributions to the military.

Conservative Senator David Tkachuk also praised the Harper government.

Said one source: “I don’t think those two have a clue the militia has been cut back.”

The Canadian Army is cutting 300 full-time reserve jobs from the force’s to save about $15 million, according to news reports. That money will be earmarked for other needs.

Reserve unit budgets are also being reduced. For instance, 31 Canadian Brigade Group in Southwestern Ontario had its budget cut by about 16 per cent, noted one media report. That reduction means that $2.5 million will be taken from its $18.2-million budget.

In total about $80 million in Army funding is being shifted to make up for shortfalls in other areas. More reductions may be on the way.

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

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