Copeland: What will be the impact of the $1.1 billion cut to National Defence?

By: /
2 April, 2012

Canadian defense spending has been ramped up substantially in recent years, and the reductions announced in the recent budget must be evaluated in that context. Moreover, DND is a program-rich department, and as a result these cuts can be absorbed relatively easily, for example by trimming or extending procurement projects such as the (dubiously chosen) F-35 fighter aircraft.

DFAIT, by way of comparison, has been suffering budgetary shrinkage for years, and the additional $314.5 million to be cut by 2014-15 announced in the budget will hurt. In a department already slashed to the bone, this enormous 8.9% reduction will come mainly out of operating funds and will mean amputating body parts – missions abroad, properties, membership in international organizations, travel and representation.

Details have yet to be released, but jobs will be lost, and the diplomatic footprint reduced significantly.

For a foreign ministry intent on providing a credible alternative to the use of armed force as an international policy instrument, this amounts to a further diminished capacity to advance Canadian policies and interests.

Especially when considered in tandem with the reductions of $377 million being imposed upon CIDA, the budget represents a disaster for Canadian internationalism.

In all, more very bad news for a country whose role and place in the world is already in precipitous decline.

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