Debating Defence and Naval Policy (IX)

David Perry: Then on 5 February, Senator Colin Kenny kept-up the momentum with an article in the Ottawa Citizen in which he expressed great concern over the proposed funding concept for military modernization. The new plans, Kenny believed, contained three bad options none of which would solve the Canadian Forces' immediate problems or their longer-term ones. In particular, he saw the more expensive option of raising funding from the current level of $14.3 million a year to something between $35 billion and $36.5 billion a year by 2025 as a "sleight-of-hand" because given normal expansion of the economy over the next two decades, the $36.5-billion option would result in Canadians spending between 0.9 per cent and 1.3 per cent of Canada's GDP on defence. The spending today is 1.1 percent of GDP. As Kenny pointed out, in 1991 Canada was spending 1.6 percent of GDP on defence. As he summed-up:

“Delaying that level of spending until 2025 would mean another two decades of stretching our troops on a rack to perform the difficult tasks that politicians keep assigning them. It simply isn't fair to them to use smoke and mirrors to make Canada look like an effective performer on the world stage when the money isn't there to allow the military to do its job. If we're going to defend ourselves, and help build a better world, it's going to cost money.”

David Perry: Support for Senator Kenny's fiscal analysis grew, as did concern over the implications of being without the AORs.

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