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MP sends warning on national defence strategy

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Re: MP sends warning on national defence strategy

Post by Panserbjørn on Wed 31 Aug 2016, 02:04

Thanks for the article Trooper.

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MP sends warning on national defence strategy

Post by Guest on Tue 30 Aug 2016, 17:55

MP sends warning on national defence strategy.

August 30, 2016

The Liberal’s approach to national defence has West Yellowhead MP Jim Eglinski concerned, and he’s determined to do something about it.

He has spent the last few days touring the county in order to gather public feedback regarding the current government’s national defence strategy.

During Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s election campaign, promises were made to sustain the former Conservative government’s defence spending levels. However, the Liberal government has already cut $3.7 billion for defence procurement for the next several years.

Trudeau has said he wants to return back to being viewed as a peace-keeping country.

However, Eglinski argues that moving away from combat capability and moving towards peace operations is only putting Canadians at risk.

“[Canadian troops] have to go overseas. They have to be there because if they don’t go over there and try to stop it there then [ISIS] will come here,” he says. “They’re going to come here either by mental persuasion, which we’re already seeing by the way of the internet and confusing our young people into radical ideas, or they’ll come here as you see in France.”

Earlier this year fiscal planning documents released by the Liberal government suggested a cut of up to $400 million next year on military spending.

Eglinski says now is not the time to cut spending. Instead he sends a different message: it’s time to invest.

“We need to look at spending money to keep our military going.

Minister of National Defence, Hon. Harjit Sajjan, is calling for a Defence Policy Review. In response to the review critics from the Conservative party, MP James Bezan and MP Pierre Paul-Hus, put together their own consultation document.

Conservative Eglinski has already visited seven communities regarding the policy review.

However, Conservative MP’s in Ottawa were less than enthusiastic regarding Eglinski’s visits across the Yellowhead.

“A lot of guys told me in Ottawa ‘you’re going to waste your time by doing these town hall meetings in large ridings because people are just doing every different thing,’” he said.

Those words rang true as he sat in front of an empty room on Aug. 17 at the Hinton Municipal Library. Three people showed up to the event, leaving three long rows of chairs empty.

Eglinski remained optimistic and told attendee Luke Franche that low public turn-out wouldn’t deter him from sending his message.

“And I said to them, ‘well you know what, I’m going to try it’. I think it’s an important subject that needs to be addressed.”

He told Franche that the response in other communities have been similar to the turn-out in Hinton. Prior to the meeting in Hinton, Eglinski hosted a town hall meeting in Grande Cache on Aug. 16 and in Jasper later on Aug. 17.

“But that’s okay. If I get to hear from three, that’s three more people I get to hear from,” he said light-heartedly.

Eglinski says the Conservatives plan to travel across Canada and meet with different “professors, education groups and talk about electoral reform in Canada,” he said.

National Defence needs to be a priority

“The greatest responsibility of any government is to protect Canadians and protect our sovereignty. And this is where our military comes into a very important role,” he says.

Eglinski said it took the Conservatives a number of years to fix the “Decade of Darkness” created by the Liberals in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

According to the critics report, under Prime Minister Jean Crétien, military operational funding was cut, personnel was let go and important investments for major capital projects disappeared.

As a result, soldiers were sent to the Afghanistan desert without proper equipment and were outfitted in forest green camouflage.

“Our equipment got old and we didn’t upgrade. It just wasn’t a good situation,” he said.

When Conservative Stephen Harper became Prime Minister in 2006, military funding increased to $20 billion by 2014.

In the 1960’s the military had over 150,000 people enlisted. Today, it’s just over 60,000. In order to compensate for the drop in enrolment, Eglinski says strong relations with the United States is a necessity.

“We cannot defend our boarders. We need to be a good partner with the United States and we need to have specialized trained troops in many different areas,” he said.

“What’s happening world-wide, nothing’s peaceful about it. It’s all based on terrorism. We need to have a military that’s trained and has an expertise in that, has an intelligence ability in that and that our people are properly trained and prepared to defend themselves,” he said.

Eglinski said it’s important to be alert and focused on each of the three coastal areas in Canada, with a particular attention on the arctic shore.

“Let’s face it. A lot of nations are looking at Canada’s north. Traditionally we’ve said it’s ours, but we have no way of protecting it,” he said. “And the threat is going to come.”

The conservatives believe more investments should be put into equipment, such as purchasing five C-17 Globemaster Strategic Airlift crafts. The Globemasters are designed to transport troops and cargo across the world for tactical and strategic airlift missions.

“We have been such a strong country worldwide in humanitarian aid and assistance. But if we go back to the dark ages in the 80’s we were using at times Russian aircraft to move our people to assist emergencies in the world,” he said.

With the Canadian support of Ukraine, Eglinski says that now Russians should “look like it’s an enemy”.

Canadian Armed Forces to work hand-in-hand with the RCMP

Eglinski says he believes it’s important for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to work closely with local authorities to help protect our own borders.

“I can guarantee that within the next decade someone is going to put some sovereignty pressure on Canada on the high arctic because of the mineral reserves, the energy reserves under the seas. It’s going to become very important,” he said.

In order to protect Canadian territory, the conservatives had promised an investment of the National Shipbuilding Program which would provide new Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships, Joint-Supply Ships and the Canada Surface Combatant.

“Russia is looking at the arctic closer than anyone else. We’ve got to be able to defend that and defend our sovereign rights there. That means we need to have the equipment,” he said.

After his presentation, Eglinski asked each community ten questions regarding the military in order to collect more information for the critics.

Lack of services for veterans

Attendee Luke Franches had a question of his own regarding support of veterans once they leave the frontline.

“We hear on the news a lot how the armed forces people are not well-treated if they come out of there mentally or physically ill, they have to fight like crazy to get help. It’s not very encouraging for young people,” Franches said.

Eglinski responded that the support is “pretty good” but the “bureaucracy stinks”.

“And getting [the support] to the levels that it should be is dealing with the bureaucracy of the government,” Eglinski said.

“How ludicrous is it that every five years a person who has lost a limb, or two limbs, has to go through and complete a matter of tests to affirm to Veterans Canada that he or she lost their limbs. And over and over, that’s how stupid it is,” Eglinski said.


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