HMCS Protecteur takes part in Operation Friction

Election 2015: military policy a battleground

From veterans care to the long-awaited F-35 stealth fighter, parties pitch their approaches to the Canadian Forces

A rundown navy, aging fighter jets and closing of dedicated Veterans’ Affairs offices are playing a central role in the campaign for the Oct. 19 federal election.

The Conservative government has been in a running battle with the Public Service Alliance of Canada over the closure of nine regional Veterans Affairs offices, including those in Prince George and Kelowna. The union ran TV ads with veterans describing difficulty getting mental and physical health support.

Veterans’ Affairs Minister Erin O’Toole wrote to PSAC national president Robyn Benson in July, calling the ads “intentionally misleading.” He said the government is opening 27 dedicated mental health clinics, training staff on veterans programs in integrated Service Canada offices, and continuing to spend more on support for veterans as their numbers decline.

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair promises to reopen the nine dedicated offices, and add $454 million over four years to Veterans Affairs. The NDP says the money would go to improving long-term care, survivor pensions, mental health treatment and expansion of the program to support veterans in their homes.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has announced that if he becomes prime minister, he will pull Canada out of the development of the U.S.-led F-35 fighter project, which has been plagued by delays and cost overruns. Trudeau said the F-35’s stealth, first-strike abilities are not what Canada needs, and other fighters would serve Canada’s purposes at lower cost.

Conservative leader Stephen Harper noted it was the previous Liberal government that committed Canada to join Australia, Britain and other countries in supporting the F-35, and withdrawing would be a severe blow to the country’s aerospace industry.

With six of the Royal Canadian Airforce’s 30-year-old CF-18 fighter-bombers taking part in a U.S.-led mission against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria, the Liberals and NDP are calling for Canada to focus on humanitarian relief instead of combat.

The Royal Canadian Navy, another traditional name restored by the Conservatives, is awaiting new ships from the Conservatives’ $26 billion shipbuilding program, Canada’s largest ever. Some contracts have been awarded to Seaspan, B.C.’s largest shipyard, which is also building new research vessels for Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

HMCS Protecteur, the navy’s only West Coast supply ship, was decommissioned after a 2014 fire off Hawaii. Protecteur was built in Halifax 46 years ago, and is being temporarily replaced by a former U.S. Navy ship on loan from Chile. Replacements for Protecteur and its East Coast equivalent HMCS Preserver, also retired, are expected to take six more years.

Veterans Affairs Canada spending graph, July 2015.

Just Posted

Colwood field lacrosse camp aims to get more kids involved

Victoria Field Youth Lacrosse hopes to inspire future athletes

Esquimalt gives six-storey rental complex the green light

A new apartment building is set to go up on Admirals Road

Light up August with a lantern building workshop in Sidney

ArtSea workshops in preparation for Aug. 24 Salish Sea Lantern Festival

Saanich council to develop policy around contingency fund

Saanich’s strategic initiatives fund has been the subject of controversy

Report estimates Saanich taxpayers face a preliminary tax increase of 4.73 per cent in 2020

Saanich staff also questions why council continues to ask for budget reduction scenarios

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Most Read