August 2, 2002


Hopes bleak for increase in DND cash : Academics say minister told them: Hard to get money for 'toys for boys' (Mike Trickey, August 02, 2002, The Ottawa Citizen)
Despite near-unanimous support for an increase in military spending, Defence Minister John McCallum is indicating there will be no new money for Canada's Armed Forces.

In a letter sent to a number of military and strategic studies organizations, Mr. McCallum said he is interested in meeting them later this month to hear their views on how to "redirect resources from what is no longer essential to capabilities that will be needed today or in the future."

Military analysts say this is a clear signal the government has no intention of providing even the minimum extra funding that Commons and Senate committee reports earlier this year said was necessary to maintain the Forces' current level of operations, let alone money for new equipment and additional personnel.

Military historian Jack Granatstein attended Mr. McCallum's session with academics earlier this week and said he was left with the impression that the minister is undertaking a policy update now in the hopes of making the budget planning cycle in November. If he were to take on the lengthier and long-promised full defence policy review, there would likely be no chance of new money in the next budget.

Some critics have already dismissed the idea of a defence policy review in the absence of additional spending.

Mr. Granatstein says Mr. McCallum indicated Finance Minister John Manley was sympathetic to the crisis facing the Canadian Forces, but he didn't know whether anybody else in cabinet held that view.

"He also said it was easier to get money for quality of life and personal equipment than it was to get, as he put it, toys for the boys."

Tom Roberts sent this one, hot on the heels of the story he sent yesterday about British unpreparedness. Here's the question for you : if even the other nations of the Anglosphere are no longer going to be much use to us in combat, then why should we be solicitous of world opinion as we prepare for war? The West seems to be left with just one serious nation; why give the unserious ones a voice, especially on military matters? Posted by Orrin Judd at August 2, 2002 1:01 PM
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