MP Neil Ellis gets feedback on Canada’s defence policy

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MP Neil Ellis gets feedback on Canada’s defence policy

Post by Trooper on Tue 26 Jul 2016, 05:43

MP Neil Ellis gets feedback on Canada’s defence policy.

Jul 25, 2016

By Ross Lees

A town hall meeting Wednesday at 8 Wing Trenton gave Neil Ellis, MP Bay of Quinte riding, just what he was looking for – feedback on Canada’s defence policy review and military-related issues.

Heading the top of the list was the opinion of many in attendance that military personnel should not be decreased and that those in uniform should be properly equipped, housed and funded to respond wherever they were required.

“We want to encourage open, inclusive discussion and find out what Canadians think about the military and the direction we should go in the future,” said Ellis.

The 50 people at the meeting were willing to oblige, suggesting that military personnel should be aligned with budget availability with emphasis on strategic deployment as opposed to carte blanche;

– that money and resources should be spent within this country to help those in need before spending it elsewhere;

– and the veterans who have fought in conflicts and been seriously wounded get pensions and medical assistance as they recover and live the rest of their lives.

Four topics were discussed, including the security environment, a presentation on the Military Family Resource Centre and its role in the future of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Canadian approach to defence, and the defence capabilities and the future force.

The meeting’s format created initial problems for those attending, as some wanted answers as much as giving input, but those issues were quickly worked out and the information began to flow.

Procurement staff under-staffing was raised by one man who felt there was a need for more informed human resources in procurement.
Others felt Canada’s commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the North American Aerospace Defence (NORAD) was diminishing and that Canadians are relying on other forces to defend them in these areas.

One man said discarding the F-35 for a simply political reason was an incorrect decision and that it should remain in consideration because Russia would be using stealth aircraft in the north. He felt the aircraft should remain on the table and be given serious consideration because, if it was ordered now, it would not be delivered until 2024.

Any information on military equipment procurement should be obtained from military men and women familiar with the equipment and future demands, not bureaucrats, one man noted, adding open competitions should always be held in any procurement process.

Quinte Mayor Jim Harrison questioned information being published about recently expropriated land, and delays in putting it to use for the Joint Task Force 2 commando unit.

“Let’s make sure we grow something on it rather than noxious weeds,” he said, adding that he felt a veteran’s centre should also be established through the Military Family Resource Centres (MFRC).

In a special presentation at the review, Trenton MFRC executive director Tamara Kleinschmidt noted that MFRC funding at present is inconsistent because it often depended on the government in power for nearly half of its annual funds. She felt that should be changed for budgeting consistency of MFRCs.

MFRCs have been working on behalf of military families for 30 years and Kleinschmidt said they have learned over that time how to operate effectively. While in Ottawa recently, she noted the MFRCs presented a brief to the Department of National Defence (DND) as part of the public consultation on the future of the CAF.

“That was the first the executive directors of all 32 MFRCs agreed on anything,” she said.

Four recommendations came out of the MFRC meetings:
– Military families should be included in the next defence policy as an integral part of the mission of the CAF;
– MFRCs should be officially recognized as the service providers for military families; signal the commitment of defence toward military families by means of specific actions; and to develop through the implementation of an intergovernmental cell a strategy related to the support and issues facing military families. One person suggested the intergovernmental cell should be changed to a national government cell as it was the federal government who created the issues faced by military families.

If there was one last message transmitted by the people at the meeting it was: “We have the ability to protect ourselves – let’s do it properly.”

Ellis announced he would be hosting a veteran’s town hall meeting in August.

http://countylive.ca/blog/?p=61891
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MP hosting national defense round table

Post by Trooper on Tue 26 Jul 2016, 14:39

MP hosting national defense round table.

July 26, 2016 11:07:39 MDT AM

Banff-Airdrie MLA Blake Richards wants your input on Canada’s defense policy, which is now being reviewed by the federal government.

He is hosting a round table event to discuss defense priorities and spending. The event, which will take place at the Cochrane Legion on Aug. 3 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. is open to anyone interested in providing feedback on Canada’s future military spending.

“We have a lot of veterans and people who serve in the military who live in our area, and I want to make sure they have the chance to have their say on what resources and equipment we need and how our policy should be shaped,” said Richards.

Richards said the feedback will be shared with Harjit Sajjan, the Minister of National Defence, as part of the Liberal government’s Defence Policy Review.

The review, which is seeking feedback on three main topics including the main challenges to Canada’s security; the role of the Canadian Armed Forces in addressing current threats and challenges; and the resources and capabilities needed to carry out the Armed Forces mandate, is ongoing until July 31 with consultation sessions being held around the country. The government is also accepting feedback online at http://dgpaapp.forces.gc.ca/en/defence-policy-review/index.asp

As part of the official opposition, Richards is concerned about the Liberal government’s track record when it comes to spending on Canada’s military.

He said during its four years in power (2011-2015), Harper’s Conservative government doubled military spending, purchasing Leopard tanks, Chinook helicopters, C-17 heavy lift planes, C-130J aircraft and Cyclone maritime helicopters to replace Canada’s aging Sea Kings.

The Conservatives spent nearly twice what the Liberals spent in almost any given year during the 1990s, said Richards, adding the military refers to the Liberal reign prior to the 2011 election as “the decade of darkness.”

“[The Canadian Forces] were being ignored,” he said, adding he is seeing signs of a similar attitude in the current Liberal government.

Richards is referring to the Trudeau government’s postponement of more than $3.7 billion worth of military equipment in its first budget, which halted projects like the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships, replacements for the CF-18s, the Cyclone Maritime Helicopter Project and the Integrated Soldier System Project.

Richards is concerned about the cuts, especially given the prevalence of terrorism and what he calls “rogue states” around the world.

“It’s not a time right now that we can afford to see massive cuts to the military,” he said.

“I think our military needs to be properly equipped to do the tough job we ask of them.”

For more information or to RSVP for the roundtable discussion, call 1-800-667-0410. Richards is also encouraging those who can’t make it to the event to provide their feedback at blake@blakerichards.ca.

Those interested in providing feedback through email can be provided with a questionnaire by requesting it via Richards’ email address.

http://www.airdrieecho.com/2016/07/26/mp-hosting-national-defense-round-table
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