Statement made on 07 July 2010 by Senator Roméo Dallaire
Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire:
Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. We seem to be seeing a trend arising from an exercise — one that has perhaps become history now — undertaken when Prime Minister Mulroney and Minister Beatty were in power, in 1987 and 1989. At the time, the Armed Forces were promised the moon. However, within two years, the white paper was in tatters and the process of gradual deterioration was proceeding at top speed.
Normally, as a process in the defence budget, funds that appear in Vote 5 — which is capital acquisition — and funds that appear in Vote 1 — which is ONM, munitions, personnel and so on — are interchangeable inasmuch as permitting them to come from the capital program if projects simply cannot move fast enough or have been held up. Instead of losing the money allotted for capital projects in that fiscal year, it is moved to Vote 1 in order to make national purchases of spare parts, ammunition and so on, thus using the full budget.
Last year and this year, the government stopped the possibility of transferring money from Vote 5 to Vote 1. This essentially means that if those capital projects do not spend as per the estimates — and they are significant and can be problematic, as anyone in business knows — National Defence will actually lose hundreds of millions of dollars out of its budget.
Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell me if we are in the process of further exacerbating the cuts that have been announced in the defence budget by implementing such administrative procedures?
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