March 24, 2004


Here's the story, see? The Canadian military couldn't get any funding increase in yesterday's budget, because we still need that defence and foreign policy review that is now a decade overdue. We need to know what we're doing before we spend any more money on defence or foreign aid.

So what happened to the foreign aid budget? Oh, it went up 8 per cent.

NOTES: The overseas-service tax exemption is nice, although I suspect the specific exclusion of the Bosnia mission (because it's too safe there now) and naval deployments will come back to haunt DND. Obviously you have to draw the line somewhere, or everytime I went to the States for something I'd get a tax holiday, but I'm not sure that's the best place to draw it.

The one bright spot is that the air force seems to have gotten its capital purchase of new search-and-rescue aircraft unfrozen. Not a bad thing generally, if it frees up the overused Herc transport fleet a little. Curiously, the other military capital purchases that were frozen when Martin became PM, particularly the new Mobile Gun Systems, seem still to be on the backburner pending further review. That's likely going to hold up any significant army or navy retooling for yet another year. (The little air force lobbying victory also suggests the army, which everyone said was getting preferential treatment from the previous defence minister, is now back in its customary back-of-the-line position again.)

Still, basically it's another year in funding limbo. I haven't done the figures, but I suspect military spending as a percentage of GDP has actually dropped again.

Posted by BruceR at 10:29 AM