The ongoing tiff between United States President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has mostly been centered on NAFTA, but there are other issues that cabinet members and Members of Parliament should be paying closer attention to.
While it is always better to ignore whatever the American President says, his criticism of Canada’s commitment to military spending is actually worth listening to. Earlier this year, the Waterloo Chronicle published an editorial opinion about how the Canadian Forces ordered members to return their standard-issue sleeping bags and rucksacks. The directive, which was made public in late May, is intended to recycle and redeploy the gear.
As can be expected, Conservative MP James Bezan rightfully criticized Liberals in Ottawa for their failure to allocate funds for the Canadian Forces’ basic kit, particularly at a time when they are deploying on dangerous peacekeeping missions to Mali and other hotspots around the world.
The aforementioned Waterloo Chronicle opinion cited previous situations when it became clear that military spending has been inadequate. When Canadian Forces first deployed to Afghanistan more than 15 years ago, they arrived in forest green camouflage fatigues because there were not enough funds to outfit them with suitable desert camouflage uniforms. Ten years earlier, many soldiers deployed to the Balkans did not have helmets and flak jackets.
Despite all the above, it should be noted that a recent shipment of sniper rifles to Ukraine, a NATO ally, came at a cost of $1 million. At a time when soldiers are being ordered to return rucksacks and sleeping bags, it is time for Ottawa to take a hard look into military spending.
Emmy Skylar started working for Debate Report in 2017. Emmy grew up in a small town in northern Manitoba. But moved to Ontario for university. Before joining Debate Report, Emmy briefly worked as a freelance journalist for CBC News. She covers politics and the economy.