It's the usual story. The federal government talks a good game but it's just empty talk. A glaring example is Canada's military. Harper came to power promising to build up the Canadian Forces into a war waging, ass kicking powerhouse. Rick "The Beached Cod" Hillier praised Harper to the rafters for rescuing the forces from their "decade of darkness" under the Liberals.
Today the boast is burst. Harper has his own stealth programme, quietly defunding the military. As Liberal senator Colin Kenny has pointed out, Harper won't downsize the military to meet his budget cuts, unemployed soldiers would be hard to conceal. Instead he's just allowing their equipment to fall apart as already overdue replacement is stalled.
Harper's Hubris inevitably summons Harper's Nemesis, the parliamentary budget officer.
Jean-Denis Frechette, the parliamentary budget officer, says the federal government will need to either pour more money into its defence budget, scale back its ambitions, or do a mixture of both in order to put Canada’s military on a sustainable footing.
The Harper government currently spends $21.5 billion on defence — or 1.1 per cent of the gross domestic product.
In order to sustain the existing number of troops, bases, tanks, planes and ships, the budget office says the Conservatives will have to spend about 1.6 per cent of GDP, which would be an increase of at least $3 billion annually.
That affordability gap — or shortfall — runs anywhere between $33 billion and $42 billion.
Frechette said, under the current budget structure, the government can afford a military about the same size it had in 1999, at the height of what the Conservatives have often described as the “decade of darkness” under the Liberals.
The Great Economist doesn't seem to understand that you can only play war war if you're ready to pay pay. Ask the Royal Canadian Navy. They can't sally forth to defend even one of Canada's three coasts because their air defence destroyers and provisioning ships are at dockside preparing for their next life as artificial reefs.
It speaks volumes of the character of Stephen Harper that he shamelessly squeezed every drop of political capital possible out of the dead and broken bodies of Canadian troops in Afghanistan and then dumped them when they were of no further use to him. This while Vlad Putin is aggressively contesting the skies and the seas, especially in the Arctic where Canada stands wholly unprepared.